Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Ignorance and the Three Poisons

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

In thinking about the three poisons — greed, hate and ignorance — what is the specific meaning of ignorance? The first two are quite clear in how they damage your life, the last is a bit unclear. I’ve heard it referred to as ignorance of the dharma, which seems a bit self-referring as a teaching and so isn’t that satisfactory, and I’ve also heard it referred to as delusion, the holding of opinions so strong that they preclude one from seeing the truth.

Can anyone shed some more light on this?

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited August 2021

    Yes, I’ve heard ignorance of the four noble truths as the description.
    And ignorance of cause and effect

  • 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

    I have heard "Ignorance" defined as a refusal to accept knowledge.
    I always term this refusal with an upper-case 'I' and the uneducated, un-knowing, unaware ignorance, with a lower-case 'i'.

    David
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited August 2021

    I can't really give a good dharmic answer. But one aspect of ignorance that I think is on the rise due to the way our media choices and algorithms silo us off into information bubbles

    I think to combat this sort of ignorance its important, at least occasionally, to get opinions and ideas that are contrary to the views you already hold. And consider them honestly, with an open mind. I think even hate reading some stuff can be fairly useful.

    Even when we're mostly correct our siloed sources may underreport certain aspects of the truth for monetary or ideological purposes.

    Ground Newsis a good source to see what differing sources are writing about the news of the day. I like that they show how much a story is reported on too, often we're just never exposed to certain information. For example, if you scroll down just a little HERE you can see a coronavirus related story that is hardly covered by the left and one that is hardly covered by the right. What they call their "blindspots".

    lobsterDavid
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2021

    From my zafu today....
    I usually call out greed and anger as the instigators of ignorance, with delusion just being our identities dependence on that result.
    but then again, maybe I was just musing about anti vaxers again.

    federicaDavidBunksJeroen
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I think in this context it is like a refusal to look deeper rather than just a state of not knowing something.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    In the suttas, ignorance is defined as:

    "And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance? Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance. With the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance. The way leading to the cessation of ignorance is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view... right concentration." (MN 9)

    BunksJeroen
  • 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

    @Jason said:
    In the suttas, ignorance is defined as:

    "And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance? Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. ...

    It's not clear though, whether the ignorance is involuntary or voluntary.
    Not knowing because of a lack of teaching, or not knowing because of a resistance to the instruction...

    Nerida
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited August 2021

    what is the specific meaning of ignorance?

    "Two deluded actions (links 2 &10) arise from Three deluded causes (links 1.8.9),Seven uncontrolled results (links 3,4,5,6,7,11,12) arise from those Two deluded actions...Again Three deluded causes arise from these Seven results...Such a wheel of life goes round and round..."

    ~Nargarjuna~

    I tend to keep things simple ..So...from a simple mind....

    Ignorance is when habitual karmic patterns ( AKA saṅkhāra) kick in, leading one to reacts (without really thinking things through) to similar situations in the same or similar ignorant way which leads to harmful/unwholesome results/outcomes...for others and or sense of self...

    Cause "Conditioning" Effect...

    Bunkshow
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    This statement is the reason I have remained single since my marriage ended haha

    JeroenlobsterShoshin1Nerida
  • 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

    @Bunks said:
    This statement is the reason I have remained single since my marriage ended haha

    Very wise... ;)

    Bunks
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited August 2021

    @federica said:

    @Jason said:
    In the suttas, ignorance is defined as:

    "And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance? Not knowing about suffering, not knowing about the origin of suffering, not knowing about the cessation of suffering, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of suffering — this is called ignorance. ...

    It's not clear though, whether the ignorance is involuntary or voluntary.
    Not knowing because of a lack of teaching, or not knowing because of a resistance to the instruction...

    In other places, it's implied that it's both. Often, we are ignorant of things because they have not been brought to our attention, whether through observation or instruction (which is more involuntary). But we are susceptible to being resistant to the way things are and want them to otherwise (which is more voluntary). And even with the latter, like in the case of denial in the stages of grief, it can be a reality that's observable be we are just not mentally ready to see it or accept it, which is arguably involuntary, and it can take time or work to overcome that stage of not-knowing or not wanting to know.

    I think that's why the path is important, because it helps to get us to a place where we can see and accept things as they are in terms of the four noble truths even though that can be a difficult journey. And even if we don't make it all the way to the goal, it can still help us cope with difficult things and make us better people.

    federicalobsterDavid
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited August 2021

    @Jason said:
    But we are susceptible to being resistant to the way things are and want them to otherwise (which is more voluntary).

    An example of this is the craving for things to be or not be as they are, something such as the death of a loved one and the desire for them not to be dead or for them to come back to us. The story of Gotami and the mustard seed is a perfect example.

    Gotami's child dies, and she is very distraught, not being able to accept this reality. She goes around seeking medicine for her dead child and everyone thinks she's crazy. She eventually goes to the Buddha at the advice of others, and he tells her to get a mustard seed from a house that has not experienced death. And she goes all throughout the town desperately searching for such a house to get this seed to make the medicine until she finally sees the truth right before her, realizing impermanence and becoming free of her craving for things to be other than they are.

    While the truth was always there, she needed something to help her see and accept it through the pain and sadness and delusion, which was on the cusp of being voluntary and involuntary. And that journey is akin to the eightfold path. Sometimes we get it right away, and sometimes the journey is a little longer and more painful.

    federicalobster
  • 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

    Beautifully put. But then, your posts always are.

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited August 2021

    what is the specific meaning of ignorance?

    Cryptic clue/answer... What is the specific meaning of ignorance?

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    This statement is the reason I have remained single since my marriage ended haha

    I look at my father and I think, his path in relationships is not so unwise. He got divorced quite early, I was nine, but after that he had a series of girlfriends who attracted him for various reasons, mostly spiritual types. But he stayed more or less monogamous and he didn’t go skirt-chasing, he had different reasons for choosing the women he did.

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Bunks said:
    This statement is the reason I have remained single since my marriage ended haha

    I look at my father and I think, his path in relationships is not so unwise. He got divorced quite early, I was nine, but after that he had a series of girlfriends who attracted him for various reasons, mostly spiritual types. But he stayed more or less monogamous and he didn’t go skirt-chasing, he had different reasons for choosing the women he did.

    Good on him! My best friends have been married for 23 years and appear as happy today as they were on the day they wed.
    Some people thrive in relationships but I’ve always been happier alone. Just the way I am.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Yeah, my dead uncle and his wife had known each other since she was 15 and he was 19 by all counts, but didn’t get married until some years later. They remained married until he died aged 71, and they always seemed happy together.

    There is something beautiful about the constancy of a marriage like that, but at the same time he didn’t have the opportunity to stretch his legs in the subject of love like my father did. Being with someone because you love them needs a certain sensibility about when to let them go, otherwise it becomes clinging.

    federicaBunkslobster
Sign In or Register to comment.