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Belief.

JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
edited February 1 in Philosophy

I've decided I'm done with beliefs. I need hard evidence or unquestionable logic in order to determine whether anything in Buddhism is true or not.

Karma and reincarnation... Can't confirm their existence. Also, you could argue that these two beliefs were adapted from earlier religions in India.

Therefore, the argument for the existence of karma and reincarnation, in my opinion, has an equal amount of weight as the belief in God and heaven. Or the flying spaghetti monster.

Then, on the other hand, there are parts of Buddhism that can be reasonably verified.

Impermanence and emptiness can be verified as true.

And both can lay the logical basis for compassion.

How can impermanence be verified?

You seen old man walking down the street and you know that will be you one day. All things are impermanent, even you.

How can emptiness be verified?

I prefer the term interbeing to emptiness.

You look at a tree and see it is made up of sunshine, water from the clouds, soil from the earth. Take any one of these away and you don't have a tree. A tree is made of non tree elements.

You are made up of non person elements too.

Thus we can reasonably come to the logical conclusion that emptiness is true.

lobsterTigger
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Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I get the impression you're a very all or nothing kind of person @JaySon :)

    I can relate......

    Mingle
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    While reserving the right to change my mind. Haha

    BunksTigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
    edited February 2

    Can you take a moral action then clearly identify a corresponding moral effect to that action? Not that I'm aware of. I don't see how karma can be proven true.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I would say that one's ability to verify first-hand the doctrines of Buddhism is a good measure of progress along the path.

    Things like impermanence and emptiness are questions of understanding, part of work done within the mind. Reading the right sutra's and a few years study will get you there. Verifying rebirth and karma require an in-depth knowledge of the subtle body, deep insight and probably a master's level of practice. Bodhidharma sat quite a few years staring at his cave wall...

    Although it has to be said that emptiness has significant theoretical implications for the makeup of our "souls", verifying that again requires practice.

    JaySonTigger
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Can you take a moral action then clearly identify a corresponding moral effect to that action? Not that I'm aware of. I don't see how karma can be proven true.

    Test it for yourself then. We can talk till we're all blue in the face. But it won't make an iota of difference if you rely solely on empirical data. Sometimes that's the only way to come to an outcome.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    Can you take a moral action then clearly identify a corresponding moral effect to that action? Not that I'm aware of. I don't see how karma can be proven true.

    I don't think it can be proven to you, but you can prove it to yourself. First you have to select the experimental methodology and subjects. Let's say we're going to do DOE and not Evop, and we're going to pick wide axials for the experiment. I submit that there are no viable external objectively observable subjects. You're limited to internal, but that's for the better anyway, as you have more control and a better view of the dependent variable. Now live, act, think, speak morally for, say, a year. Make it a component of your being. BE morality. Then, switch the independent variable. Be as intensely, savagely, consistently and relentlessly immoral as you can be, for a year. Observe internal effects.

    lobsterperson
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    No doubt morality has brought me more happiness, but it's impossible to trace a direct correlation between one moral action and one moral consequence.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran
    edited February 2

    @JaySon said:
    it's impossible to trace a direct correlation between one moral action and one moral consequence.

    This might be true, but is it important? Fluoride in the municipal water reliably lowers the incidence of dental cavities, but not to zero. So you can't look at a single cavity in a single child and discern causality. That doesn't mean there isn't causality. It means the tree in your face is obscuring your view of the forest. The effect isn't at the tree level, it's at the forest level.

    dhammachickkarastiperson
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    There's a possibility that karma exists, though it can't be verified with unquestionable logic the way impermanence and emptiness can.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    But why would you have to deduce it with logic, elegant though that may be, when you can observe it directly?

    dhammachicklobster
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    Are you saying that, by observation, you can, for example, connect the moral actions of your past lives to the conditions of your current life?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    There's a possibility that karma exists, though it can't be verified with unquestionable logic the way impermanence and emptiness can.

    Just to clarify - karma is any volitional (intentional) action of body, speech and mind. It is not something that needs to be proven.

    What you're questioning are the results of karma.

    lobsterFosdickkarasti
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    ....and unfortunately I don't think there are any fully enlightened beings on this forum that can verify either way.

  • Everything I do has a result. Even being empty.

    Fosdick
  • Believe in yourself.....you can do it.......

    JaySonKannon
  • To me, this is a good example of what it means in exchanging self for others. I'll just post the clip with lyrics in case you're not aware.

    Bunks
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Steve_B said:
    But why would you have to deduce it with logic, elegant though that may be, when you can observe it directly?

    Yes, indeed.....

  • ZeroZero Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    I've decided I'm done with beliefs. I need hard evidence or unquestionable logic in order to determine whether anything in Buddhism is true or not.

    Karma and reincarnation... Can't confirm their existence. Also, you could argue that these two beliefs were adapted from earlier religions in India.

    Therefore, the argument for the existence of karma and reincarnation, in my opinion, has an equal amount of weight as the belief in God and heaven. Or the flying spaghetti monster.

    Then, on the other hand, there are parts of Buddhism that can be reasonably verified.

    Impermanence and emptiness can be verified as true.

    And both can lay the logical basis for compassion.

    How can impermanence be verified?

    You seen old man walking down the street and you know that will be you one day. All things are impermanent, even you.

    How can emptiness be verified?

    I prefer the term interbeing to emptiness.

    You look at a tree and see it is made up of sunshine, water from the clouds, soil from the earth. Take any one of these away and you don't have a tree. A tree is made of non tree elements.

    You are made up of non person elements too.

    Thus we can reasonably come to the logical conclusion that emptiness is true.

    Belief in evidence, logic, truth - all beliefs.
    The subjective fitting into an objective framework is an expedient fiction.
    Impermanence is not that all things are impermanent - the irony by that is that the condition of impermanence would then be permanent - it is instead that all observed things are found to be impermanent.
    Emptiness / inter-being also is flawed in that if all things are interconnected then all things are one and that one is not connected to anything - again all observed phenomenon are found to be empty of the thing that on the face of it seems to make it full - but in that sense, empty and full are verified only relative to each other.
    How about a nice game of chess?

    JaySon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It sounds like you are more caught up in the whole idea about rebirth and how karma works with it. But it's unnecessary. There is no sort of requirement for belief in rebirth. I personally believe in it for various reasons and from experiences I had, but it is not a big player in my practice. It doesn't validate or invalidate anything else for me, not even karma.

    And of course you can extract a moral consequence from a moral action. Just not between lives, as @Bunks said. But not one is asking you to do so, or to believe that happens, or to understand exactly how it happens if it does. Every choice we make causes ripples in our lives and in the lives of others and those ripples then touch other people. That, to me, is the biggest impact karma has in my life and what I pay the most attention to. I don't know where that ripple will carry in 150 years. But that's none of my business for now.

    JaySonTigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    Well here's the thing... I know what you all are saying. Why does it matter?

    You can believe an event in your life is a result of a moral action you've taken. Or you can believe God punished you or blessed you. Or you can believe it was a random occurrence.

    By observation you can't pinpoint the ties between the moral action and the effect. Thinking it was a blessing or a curse from a God holds just as much weight. The same with random occurrence.

    This is why belief is dumb.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Well frankly, I think that's a bit disrespectful....

    Let me ask you this (and please just answer the questions):

    When you do something noteworthy, altruistic and generous, how does that make you feel?

    And when you do something unhelpful, inconsiderate and rude, how does that make you feel?

    [Deleted User]Tiggerlobsterdhammachick
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @federica said:
    When you do something noteworthy, altruistic and generous, how does that make you feel?

    And when you do something unhelpful, inconsiderate and rude, how does that make you feel?

    Well sure.

    That's observable.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, that's Vippaka. Whether it's directly and immediately observable or not, Kamma has consequences.
    Every action has a consequence, and there is nothing written anywhere that denotes it is either immediate or linear. Neither do you have the privilege of necessarily personally seeing the eventual consequences of your actions or anyone else's. That doesn't mean consequences therefore do not exist.

    karastiShim
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    Maybe it exists, maybe it doesn't.

    Tigger
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited February 2

    @JaySon said:
    Maybe it exists, maybe it doesn't.

    I may be going out on a limb here, but I think you're out on a limb. :silenced:
    or we could call it ice cream.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Action having consequence is just a law of human nature. That's like saying maybe gravity exists, maybe it doesn't, when the hammer falls on your toe and breaks it. I think you are trying to view Karma in a way that is typical of the West but is not a correct manner of viewing it. That's kind of how it seems anyhow. If I help a lady carry her groceries to her car and she says thanks, and we go on our way, her "thanks" and smile is a direct consequence of my assistance. That doesn't mean I just got another point on the giant scoreboard for it though. It just is what it is. If I am having a bad day and yell at my son and he cries, his tears are a result of my action. It has nothing to do with God or belief. It means I now gave him a learning experience that yelling is acceptable when you are mad. It means one day when he's mad, he might yell at his kids (karmic seeds, in a basic way). It also means perhaps he doesnt' sleep well tonight because he is upset and I get a call from the school tomorrow that he got in a fight with his friend. The friend goes home and trips his sister because he is mad about their fight, and gets yelled at by his parents etc etc. I can make a choice to hug him and apologize and promise to do better next time and he sleeps well and has no fight the next day, the sister of the friend doesn't get hurt, another parent doesn't yell. All that is karma, if you ask me. And easily observable. Action and consequence. You can watch it happen regularly if you pay attention.

    Tiggerlobster
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran
    edited February 2

    Right, I agree with everything you're saying.

    I'm just saying no one can persuade me to believe the parts of karma that can't be verified such as coming down with an illness, which Buddhists would say had to be a karmic consequence.

    Or if you're born with a certain defect. Buddhists would say that's a karmic consequence.

    I think you all like to argue for the sake of arguing. You're not really reading what I'm saying.

    It is a fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to verify these things.

    These things require belief.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited February 2

    sigh. Buddhists do not say illness is a result of karma. Some sects do, but it is not remotely widely accepted. None of the things you are talking about are. That is not how karma is taught by most teachers. We are not the ones arguing. We are trying to give examples of why your view appears to be incorrect based on what we know of Buddhism. My teacher is Tibetan and has never taught these things, and Tibetans teach some weird stuff. I don't know a single Buddhist here that believes those things. The fact that you assume we do is one reason I so highly recommend teachers and sanghas when possible. Because they keep you out of that kind of thinking.

    One of my kids is autistic. One has diabetes. I don't in any way shape or form believe either of their issues are a result of "karma". One of them we don't know what caused it. The other one, his immune system went haywire when he had a virus and attacked has pancrease. Had absolutely nothing to do with karma whatsoever. Just biology.

    Since you assume we are being argumentative, why do you continue to post threads where you announce in grand fashion what you believe? What is the point of that? There's really no need to constantly make announcements with every decision or thought you've arrived at. So if you don't want to discuss is, why are you doing it?

    Shim
  • ^^. Karma? o:)

    karastiperson
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Ah. you assume so much.
    You know what they say about assumptions.

    it makes an 'ass' out of 'u'.

    An actually, not so much 'me'.

    Instead of bombastically flying out on a limb, why not actually ask us first what our views and opinions are on Karma on a grand scale?

    We could have saved a shedload of time.

    Sometimes, your threads are insightful.
    At other times, they're frightful....

    @karasti said: Since you assume we are being argumentative, why do you continue to post threads where you announce in grand fashion what you believe? What is the point of that? There's really no need to constantly make announcements with every decision or thought you've arrived at. So if you don't want to discuss is, why are you doing it?

    yes, why indeed....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It humorously reminds me of chats I have with my 14 year old son.
    Him: "Mom, do you know where that thing is?"
    Me: "Your folder? It's on the table."
    Him: "No, that black thing."
    Me: "Your phone? It's on the counter.
    Him: SIGH. "NO! GOD! I'm talking about the black poster board for my project!"

    Don't get mad at everyone else when you're the one that assumes they understand what you are talking about when you didn't bother to explain it well. If you had said that was your understanding of Karma to begin with @JaySon this entire thread would have been much shorter. You didn't explain it well, so we didn't understand what you were getting at, and now you accuse us of being argumentative :lol:

    dhammachick
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @JaySon said:
    Right, I agree with everything you're saying.

    I'm just saying no one can persuade me to believe the parts of karma that can't be verified such as coming down with an illness, which Buddhists would say had to be a karmic consequence.

    Show me anywhere here where someone has declared that, or tried to persuade you accordingly.

    (Hint: I'm going to have a long wait....)

    Or if you're born with a certain defect. Buddhists would say that's a karmic consequence.

    Which Buddhists? Where? When?

    I think you all like to argue for the sake of arguing. You're not really reading what I'm saying.

    Hello, black pot, meet kettle...

    It is a fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to verify these things.

    Who's even trying....?

    These things require belief.

    Actually, they require the total opposite. It's one of the unconjecturables the Buddha actually advised us to not ponder.

    But given that you never mentioned this aspect of discussion, nobody brought it up until now....

    Tigger
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @federica said:

    @JaySon said:

    Or if you're born with a certain defect. Buddhists would say that's a karmic consequence.

    Which Buddhists? Where? When?

    Glenn Hoddle

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    In all seriousness though, I have been following Tibetan Buddhism for a number of years now and have come across what Jayson has said a number of times i.e. the body we're born with is a consequence of past actions.

    Not saying I believe it (how on earth would I know!) but I have heard it.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 3

    As @karasti correctly pointed out,

    Some sects do, but it is not remotely widely accepted. None of the things you are talking about are.

    And I have also taken pains to point out, not only is the view not held here, it isn't even recognised as acceptable.

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    In all seriousness though, I have been following Tibetan Buddhism for a number of years now and have come across what Jayson has said a number of times i.e. the body we're born with is a consequence of past actions.

    Not saying I believe it (how on earth would I know!) but I have heard it.

    It's a little hard for me to tell whom is arguing with whom, tbh.

    It's either one of 'us' is right, the other is right or it's a little of both.
    And in the long haul, the Buddha gave the impression that it doesn't matter,
    and that people shouldn't go to extremes expressing their opinions.
    it is the going to extremes that he cautions us about.

    I appreciate your "(how on earth would I know!), @Bunks.
    Exactly: How would any of us know! :grin:

    karastiBunks
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited February 3

    I do tend to express my opinion too much, LOL. In this case, I'm glad we got to the root of what @JaySon was asking/saying because I wouldn't want him to hold that belief about all Buddhists, and worse tell other people that that is what Buddhism believes, because it's not true. I have heard it, too. But it is almost always Westerners asking teachers about it and I think it's only been once ever that I heard a teacher claim that that view was correct. He was also the teacher that said it didn't matter how we treat the planet because when it can't sustain us anymore, we'll just incarnate elsewhere. And who told a woman who had been abused by her parents that she needed to love them just because they were her parents. Which of course may be true but that's a pretty advanced action to simply tell someone to do.

    silver
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    I'm just saying no one can persuade me to believe the parts of karma that can't be verified such as coming down with an illness, which Buddhists would say had to be a karmic consequence.

    Thank god/s for that. You're more hard work than my hormonal teenager!!!!

    But seriously, no one's trying to make you believe anything. You're projecting that yourself I'm afraid.

    Tigger
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited February 4

    @JaySon said:
    I've decided I'm done with beliefs. I need hard evidence or unquestionable logic in order to determine whether anything in Buddhism is true or not.

    What can "I" say... This too shall pass :) :)

    Karma and reincarnation... Can't confirm their existence. Also, you could argue that these two beliefs were adapted from earlier religions in India.

    Do you distinguish between "Rebirth" and "Reincarnation" ?

    Therefore, the argument for the existence of karma and reincarnation, in my opinion, has an equal amount of weight as the belief in God and heaven. Or the flying spaghetti monster.

    Again what can "I" say....This too shall pass :) :)

    Then, on the other hand, there are parts of Buddhism that can be reasonably verified.

    Impermanence and emptiness can be verified as true.

    And both can lay the logical basis for compassion.

    How can impermanence be verified?

    You seen old man walking down the street and you know that will be you one day. All things are impermanent, even you.

    How can emptiness be verified?

    I prefer the term interbeing to emptiness.

    You look at a tree and see it is made up of sunshine, water from the clouds, soil from the earth. Take any one of these away and you don't have a tree. A tree is made of non tree elements.

    You are made up of non person elements too.

    Thus we can reasonably come to the logical conclusion that emptiness is true.

    @JaySon I've found that once one starts to 'experience' the benefits of practising the Dharma, ie, the shift for the better that occurs in ones everyday life, and the glimpses of anatta, (which encompasses both impermanence & emptiness -karma & rebirth as the ongoing "mindstream" ie, consciousness is acknowledged through meditative practice ) and which becomes more frequent as ones ongoing meditation practice deepens ( meditation destroys the fetters created by thought & emotion, one begins to let go) , then I guess one might say that's when "faith" takes over, one has faith in the Dharma

    A self manifests because of clinging and clinging happens because of karma ( cause conditions effect) and karma happens because of self clinging and self happens because of karma ...and so it goes .... Through ignorance (not knowing) self is generated... self-generated

    Theory (one of many :) )
    From one moment to the next you are not the same self, however due to familiar habitual tendencies (familiar as in seeing/clinging to the rapid moment to moment events as a continuum-ongoing chain of events), this so-called self is under the illusion that it is separate (a one off) and permanently abiding in this sequence of events called life...(which in a sense is true, and that's why most of us don't 'remember' past existences, because at the end of this sequence of events( our death) the karmic energy that's been generated brings together more sub-atomic particles that form another sentient being, more suited for the ongoing karmic flow) ...Bearing in mind that this is just a theory, have the salt shaker at the ready :)

    Or to put another way...

    "It's not so much that we have a self, it's that we do self-ing. The self has no inherent existence apart from the network of causes it arises from, in and as"

    But don't just take my word for it.............................Words can only describe a reality in passing ...and not the actual moment to moment experience itself...

    Edited to add more food for thought....
    Think/imagine flipbook consciousness ie, the "mindstream" from one moment to the next being propelled along by causes conditions & effects (karma) of form...

    lobsterkarastidhammachickperson
  • ShimShim Veteran

    @JaySon I really recognise myself from your posts. I have been ‐ and still am ‐ really skeptical about both rebirth and karma.
    Tbh, I don't believe in them in a supernatural manner but already this thread alone has provided plenty of options for working with them. There is not just one single way of viewing these concepts.
    I know (I really do... I think there is proof somewhere on this very forum) it can sometimes feel like all others Buddhists are shoving some seemingly irrational beliefs down your throat, but just take a step back. Belief in karma and rebirth take many forms, from an actual belief in metaphysical phenomena to skeptic, secular views.

    If I've learned something about buddhism, it is this: dharma is a practice, not a dogma.
    If your practice involved literal belief in these subjects, you might have a problem, but if not, well, then keep on practicing, take a step back for a while. You don't need these beliefs to practice the dharma.

    karastidhammachickperson
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    You're welcome... :)

    ownerof1000oddsocks
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    It is fine not to believe in something that cannot be proven to exist. However, it would be unwise to deny the existence of something simply because it cannot be proven, as it also cannot be unproven. I accept that some things in Buddhism may or may not exist and are therefore a possibility. For me, accepting that such things as life after death are a possibility is as good as accepting their existence, because prior to my current thinking on the matter I had thought it nonsensical that people could think such things.

    dhammachicksilverkarastiperson
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Reincarnation is not a fundamental Buddhist belief. Buddhists "believe" in rebirth which is completely different. Also it is more of a metaphor then an actual rebirth, and it explains our constantly changing perception of life and how we are a on going process not a Frozen "self".

    As for karma, I too am new to this and have up until now regarded it as religious nonsense. It is simply ACTION though. Not some invisible force of justice that is gonna come back around and bite you in the ass. It is simply your actions and how they manifest within you today in the moment. Your karma makes you who you are right now, your karma right now will make you who you are tomorrow. All a process. One moment leads into the next. You can SEE this. Be aware of this and you will soon realise that is is actually our concept of a SELF that is the belief.

    :+1: :+1: :+1:

  • techietechie India Veteran

    Do you have to believe in karma or rebirth in order to be considered Buddhist?

    Just wondering.

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    Reincarnation is not a fundamental Buddhist belief. Buddhists "believe" in rebirth which is completely different. Also it is more of a metaphor then an actual rebirth, and it explains our constantly changing perception of life and how we are a on going process not a Frozen "self".

    "Frozen self" I like that @Mingle, very good way of explaining that we are constantly changing and being reborn thus "we" and all of "our" feelings, whether sad, angry or happy, are impermanent and will cease as everything else that rises will cease.

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @techie no

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Mingle said

    Reincarnation is not a fundamental Buddhist belief. Buddhists "believe" in rebirth which is completely different. Also it is more of a metaphor then an actual rebirth, and it explains our constantly changing perception of life and how we are a on going process not a Frozen "self".

    I have to disagree. From my experience it is only Western Buddhism that sees the idea of rebirth as a metaphor. And that is just cultural.
    Try telling a Tibetan, Sri Lankan or Thai Buddhist it's just a metaphor and see what response you get.

    Shoshinlobsterpersondhammachick
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