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Impermanence, DO, etc.

techietechie India Veteran

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as permanence.

No entity has an independent existence.

Even ideas evolve over a period of time.

What we think or feel changes over time.

In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination) and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

SnakeskinDavidJaySon

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 4

    @techie said:
    In Buddhism, there is no such thing as permanence.

    No entity has an independent existence.

    Even ideas evolve over a period of time.

    What we think or feel changes over time.

    In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination)

    I would say so because they depend on others and are of the nature to change.

    and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

    This does not logically follow. It makes them even more precious.

    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    If we are searching for happiness instead of actually choosing happiness then yes it can get pretty disheartening especially without a positive understanding of impermanence.

    However, with a positive understanding of impermanence our search could be rendered futile just as finding my glasses on my forehead renders my search for my glasses futile.

    We are all quite literally in this together... The logic of compassion and happiness without an opposite in dukkha stems from a proper understanding of D.O.

    Of course it is my understanding so obviously I could be biased.

    SnakeskinBuddhadragon
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited February 4

    @techie said:
    In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination) and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

    I think I half agree. They have no intrinsic worth in the sense that the good things in life aren't good in and of themselves, they are only considered good because of their relation to people. In other words, there isn't some kind of happiness essence within them, they only create happiness in people because of the make up of human beings. But I disagree with any sense that it's all pointless, so why bother in the statement.

    I think you could also look at like better or worse rather than good or bad. Good and bad have the notion of something fixed, immutable regardless of the situation. Better and worse are changeable and relative depending on circumstance.

    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    From one point of view happiness is still better than suffering even if temporary.

    From another, this is the definition of samsara and a good reason to let go of the struggle. When we let go and renounce we aren't simply left with a grey void, there is peace and bliss underneath.

    Snakeskinsilverlobster
  • @techie said:
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Search is futile but finding is as others mention, dependent on non-attached searching. Who is crazy enough to seek for non-searching (lobster raises claw)?

    Impermanence is a constant/permanent. Ay caramba! Will it ever change to unchanging? Not in this do-do ... How do we get done? We get done with dependence/attachment and become free/changing/unattached ... It's dharma dude.

    Same questions? No questions? Indubitably!

    SnakeskinBuddhadragonsatcittananda
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I think that when it comes to "Happiness" from a Buddhist point of view (taking into account Conditioned, Impermanence & DO) the happiness that is spoken of is "Unconditional" no strings attached

    I guess one could say a sense of well being ... a sense of finding the contentment that comes with accepting what is....Like knowing intuitively to...

    ..

    Dhammapada Twin Verses

    Explanation: All that man experiences springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and the deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts , words and deeds will be happiness. This happiness will never leave the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him.

    Unconditional Happiness (so it would seem) comes from knowing & accepting that one can't always be happy...in the conventional sense :) )

    Change is inevitable...Suffering is optional

    SnakeskinDavidBuddhadragon
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    I would say that there is a difference between sitting around in a drum circle, smoking dope and talking about this stuff and what it does to the mind when taken to heart in a meaningful way.

    lobsterSnakeskin
  • 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

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    That, for all the world, sounds like someone constructing an Ikea flatpack with instructions in a different language to theirs.

    KundoBuddhadragon
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran
    edited February 8

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    Another perspective from the Agamas outlines how it is liberating.

    “Bodily form[, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness are] ... impermanent, what is impermanent is dukkha, what is dukkha is not-self, what is not self is not mine. One who contemplates like this is reckoned to be contemplating truly and rightly....

    “A noble disciple who contemplates like this becomes disenchanted with ... [these heaps]. Because of disenchantment he does not delight in consciousness, because of not delighting in consciousness he attains liberation.

    -- SA 9

    Peace, love and ... disenchantment? :p

    satcittananda
  • @person said:
    I would say that there is a difference between sitting around in a drum circle, smoking dope and talking about this stuff and what it does to the mind when taken to heart in a meaningful way.

    Damn hippies new-agers! :p

    HozanJaySonSnakeskin
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere

    That would be true of worldly happiness because the things that it depends on have the same impermanent quality.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    For worldly happiness sure. But not for the happiness of enlightenment.

    "And what is the still greater unworldly happiness? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises happiness. This is called a 'still greater unworldly happiness.'

    When that happens, that happiness is permanent because those things, that obscure it, are permanently gone.

    personlobsterSnakeskin
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Happiness is not a result nor a search.
    It is not dependent on external conditions.
    It is a state of inner peace which comes from the acceptance of impermanence as a fact of life and of life as it really is, not as we want it to be.
    We can be happy beyond any conditions and we don't need to search what we already carry within.
    What is futile is opposing what IS, rather than simply accepting it.

    Snakeskin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited February 24

    We can come to understand karma or in other words what makes us happy and unhappy. That's one thing.

    And then we can see things are impermanent to help with attachment.

    And we can see how all other beings are suffering and help them out when we can.

    Snakeskin
  • And we can see how all other beings are suffering and help them out when we can.

    <3 We always can. We should never go beyond our capacity, that is the way to hypocrisy. We do what we can ...
    As a non-saint, I try to be good or at least not naughty. However it is a hard ... wait for it

    practice

    You knew? B) We get more refined or subtle at it ...

    paulysoSnakeskin
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    The Middle Way is between happiness and unhappiness. Peace is what you're looking for.

  • @seeker242’s post highlights a good point in yours, @techie.

    @techie said:
    What we think or feel changes over time.

    ... consider happiness or virtue… Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination) and therefore have no intrinsic worth.

    @seeker242 said:
    “When a taint-free monk looks…, then there arises happiness.”

    This not-worldly happiness depends on the temporal condition of reflecting on the absence of the taints. It wouldn't induce craving, clinging, etc., leading to dukkha, because the taint of greed is absent, so DO wouldn't occur. I’d disagree with this small point in @seeker242’s clear analysis: that instance of happiness-on-tap would be impermanent.

    The same would hold for positive virtues. Any instance of right speech, for example, in a positive form of being truthful, conciliatory, kind or beneficial would be conditional and impermanent. But the same wouldn't apply to right speech in its negative form, the absence of deceptive, divisive, harsh or idle speech. So long as that restraint is maintained, wrong speech is absent, and the joy and happiness of blamelessness in regard to speech, another form of unworldly happiness, is always accessible by reflection.

    As @seeker242 alluded, negative virtue as absence of the taints can be permanent. Whether there's something or nothing, the taints are absent. In this case, there's something, a taint-free monk, permanently free of greed, hatred and delusion. The last, delusion (moha), is the active form of the passive condition of ignorance, (avijja), the root of DO. Permanently absent the catalyst, DO can't occur, dukkha can't come to be.

    I'm unclear about this (maybe there's a paradox or some missing IQ points), but I think the above makes the concept of intrinsic worth inapplicable in this context. What doesn't exist can't have intrinsic worth, yet the permanent non-existence of the taints is the circumstance valued. The absence doesn't depend on anything. “It” is a permanent, unconditioned and negative virtue. From reflection on “it” arises “the happiness of enlightenment.”

    personBuddhadragon
  • OP, in Mahayana Buddhism there definitely is permanence. The Buddha's Parinirvana Sutras were all about that. Buddhanature is permanent, for example. Enlightenment, once attained, is permanent.

    That is why the quest for Enlightenment is not futile.

    lobsterBuddhadragon
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited February 25

    The way I've heard it is that Buddhanature is not exactly understood with our assumptions of time.

    edit: in other words if we try to think of it with our concept of time we end up with funny ideas like 'buddhanature' is like a backpack of karma or whatever that hops from this life to the next life.

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