The role of truth in Buddhism?

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nichiren-123
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The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by nichiren-123 »

Simple Question:

I've heard it said that Enlightenment is the abolition of ignorance.
Can you explain in what way ignorance is responsible for our suffering? In other words, what are the forms of ignorance and how do they perpetuate suffering?
And what truth replaces the ignorance when it is displaced?

Thanks :D
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Aemilius
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Aemilius »

Gathering the Meanings, Arthaviniscaya sutra:
" Now, what is ignorance?
There is ignorance of ther past, ignorance of the future, ignorance of the present; ignorance of the inner world, the outer world, both inner and outer worlds; ignorance of actions, ignorance of the results of actions; and ignorance of both actions and their results; ignorance of good acts, ignorance of bad acts; ignorance of both good and bad acts; ignorance of cause, ignorance of effect, and ignorance of both cause and effect; ignorance of phenomena produced by causes; ignorance of conditioned co-production; and ignorance of phenomena co-produced; ignorance of the Buddha; ignorance of the Dharma; and ignorance of the Sangha; ignorance of suffering; ignorance of the arising of suffering; ignorance of the cessation of suffering, and ignorance of the path; ignorance of wholesome and unwholesome phenomena; ignorance of the blameworthy and the blameless; ignorance of what should be practiced and what should not be practiced; ignorance of what is inferior and what is superior; ignorance of the dark and the bright. It is absence of knowledge, lack of insight, absence of realization, darkness, intense delusion, and darkness in the form of ignorance concerning all the six sense fields of contact. This is called ignorance."
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Simon E.
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Simon E. »

nichiren-123 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:23 pm Simple Question:

I've heard it said that Enlightenment is the abolition of ignorance.
Can you explain in what way ignorance is responsible for our suffering? In other words, what are the forms of ignorance and how do they perpetuate suffering?
And what truth replaces the ignorance when it is displaced?

Thanks :D
Simple answer.
The Sanskrit for “ignorance” is avidya. It’s opposite is vidya ..literally “ seeing”. It is the origin of our “vision” and “video”
So avidya is not seeing what is there, what is the case. Not seeing things as they are.
So Enlightenment is perfect vidya. Seeing things as they are beyond afflictions. Beyond avidya..ignorance. Ignorance is not a “thing” to be removed. It is an absence, a lack.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Manjushri
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Manjushri »

While there are far more knowledgeable people on this forum, I'll lay down some thoughts that perhaps might put you closer to a direction that could provide answers for you:

Ignorance could be for example looking at phenomena, letting yourself attach to it and not realizing their emptiness. The Diamond Sutra says that "When something is fixed upon, the resultant attachment causes obstruction which in turn leads to affliction". This is how ignorance causes suffering.

Also, there is no "truth" in a conventional manner that could ever be used to substitute the previous faulty conception one held in its place. You should strive not to cling to concepts and definitions, given their inability to express "thusness" or "truth". Dogen for example advises us to "don't get caught up on the skillfulness of words", for this very reason.

Hope this was helpful, and hopefully more experienced users may provide you with better and more insightful replies.
SteRo
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

nichiren-123 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:23 pm Simple Question:

I've heard it said that Enlightenment is the abolition of ignorance.
Can you explain in what way ignorance is responsible for our suffering?
The Buddha explained:
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
nichiren-123 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:23 pm In other words, what are the forms of ignorance and how do they perpetuate suffering?
All limbs following after ignorance above can be understood as forms of ignorance since they originate from ignorance.

nichiren-123 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:23 pm And what truth replaces the ignorance when it is displaced?
None. Ignorance is not displaced but ceases.
"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
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Lazy Lubber
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Lazy Lubber »

SteRo wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:31 pmAll limbs following after ignorance above can be understood as forms of ignorance since they originate from ignorance.
I assume 'ignorance' is a mental phenomena. So are you saying each of the 12 limbs refers to an aspect of mental phenomena? Are birth, aging & death physical or are they mental? Thanks :shrug:
Simon E.
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Simon E. »

The idea of “truth” has only limited value in Buddhadharma. Whether concepts are skillful or useful in leading to Enlightenment is seen as much more to the point. In part this is because until Enlightenment practically everything we do, say or think, is untrue from a certain perspective.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
SteRo
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

Lazy Lubber wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:46 am
SteRo wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:31 pmAll limbs following after ignorance above can be understood as forms of ignorance since they originate from ignorance.
I assume 'ignorance' is a mental phenomena. So are you saying each of the 12 limbs refers to an aspect of mental phenomena? Are birth, aging & death physical or are they mental? Thanks :shrug:
Your assumption does not apply.

I know that you are taking an essentialist sravaka position in the context of all Dharma topics. I know that you accept the suttas of the Pali canon exclusively.Therefore I won't enter into a conversation with you here on Dharma wheel because that would simply lead to a repetition of the conversations we already have had on the other site (Dhamma wheel).
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Aemilius
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Aemilius »

Gathering the Meanings, Arthaviniscaya sutra:
" Now, what is ignorance?
There is ignorance of ther past, ignorance of the future, ignorance of the present; ignorance of the inner world, the outer world, both inner and outer worlds; ignorance of actions, ignorance of the results of actions; and ignorance of both actions and their results; ignorance of good acts, ignorance of bad acts; ignorance of both good and bad acts; ignorance of cause, ignorance of effect, and ignorance of both cause and effect; ignorance of phenomena produced by causes; ignorance of conditioned co-production; and ignorance of phenomena co-produced; ignorance of the Buddha; ignorance of the Dharma; and ignorance of the Sangha; ignorance of suffering; ignorance of the arising of suffering; ignorance of the cessation of suffering, and ignorance of the path; ignorance of wholesome and unwholesome phenomena; ignorance of the blameworthy and the blameless; ignorance of what should be practiced and what should not be practiced; ignorance of what is inferior and what is superior; ignorance of the dark and the bright. It is absence of knowledge, lack of insight, absence of realization, darkness, intense delusion, and darkness in the form of ignorance concerning all the six sense fields of contact. This is called ignorance."

Knowledge replaces ignorance, thus you can replace "ignorance" with "knowledge":
" Now, what is knowledge?
There is knowledge of ther past, knowledge of the future, knowledge of the present; knowledge of the inner world, the outer world, both inner and outer worlds; knowledge of actions, knowledge of the results of actions; and knowledge of both actions and their results; knowledge of good acts, knowledge of bad acts; knowledge of both good and bad acts; knolwledge of cause, knowledge of effect, and knowledge of both cause and effect; knowledge of phenomena produced by causes; knowledge of conditioned co-production; and knowledge of phenomena co-produced; knowledge of the Buddha; knowledge of the Dharma; and knowledge of the Sangha; knowledge of suffering; knowledge of the arising of suffering; knowledge of the cessation of suffering, and knowledge of the path; knowledge of wholesome and unwholesome phenomena; knowledge of the blameworthy and the blameless; knowledge of what should be practiced and what should not be practiced; knowledge of what is inferior and what is superior; knowledge of the dark and the bright. It is knowledge, insight, realization, brightness, intense clarity, and light in the form of knowledge concerning all the six sense fields of contact. This is called knowledge."
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Aemilius
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Aemilius »

As has already been pointed put "truth" is problematic in Buddhism. E.g. a person is a woman or a man, or he is white, black or yellow etc.. Is this a truth? It is not a truth, for example, let's say she is a woman. It so in relation to your body and mind, in relation to your values, in relation to your habits and thoughts, in relation to your species (of being a human). Thus it is not an objective statement, it is not a "truth" in the sense that it is not objective. The statement is not independent of you as an observer.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
SteRo
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

SteRo wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:31 pm
nichiren-123 wrote: Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:23 pm And what truth replaces the ignorance when it is displaced?
None. Ignorance is not displaced but ceases.
Aemilius wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:59 pm Knowledge replaces ignorance, thus you can replace "ignorance" with "knowledge":


The above are actually two recurring views on the path:
1. the path is a path of mere abandonment of ignorance
2. the path is a path of abandonment of ignorance and acquisition of knowledge

View 1 might coincide with the view that what is merely called "knowledge" - even though it isn't comparable with what the world knows as "knowledge" - is already present from the outset but veiled by ignorance.
View 2 might hold that knowledge is to be newly accumulated and that it even might be comparable with what the world knows as "knowledge".


Of course there might be countless variations of the above two views.
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Lazy Lubber wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:46 am
I assume 'ignorance' is a mental phenomena.
Ignorance refers to the state of being afflicted. Formations refers to the karmas that are motivated by affliction.

Basically, all terms of the twelve links of dependent origination can be boiled down to affliction, action, and suffering.

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mas ... rigination
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Aemilius
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Aemilius »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:37 pm
Lazy Lubber wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:46 am
I assume 'ignorance' is a mental phenomena.
Ignorance refers to the state of being afflicted. Formations refers to the karmas that are motivated by affliction.

Basically, all terms of the twelve links of dependent origination can be boiled down to affliction, action, and suffering.

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/indian-mas ... rigination
Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering". Or things like the Declaration Human Rights, the systems of international law, and international agreements concerning a vast number of issues, that have been achieved with enormous efforts,... -are they all merely "suffering" ?
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

Aemilius wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:30 pm
Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering". Or things like the Declaration Human Rights, the systems of international law, and international agreements concerning a vast number of issues, that have been achieved with enormous efforts,... -are they all merely "suffering" ?
Yes, the suffering of change.
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Queequeg »

Aemilius wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:30 pm Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering".
Utility doesn't figure in the explanation of dukkha as far as I know.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
Simon E.
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Simon E. »

Queequeg wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:23 pm
Aemilius wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:30 pm Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering".
Utility doesn't figure in the explanation of dukkha as far as I know.
This....

No degree of “progress” in the Saha world, although it might have merit alters the basic signs of being. All arising phenomena will be characterised by dukkha, coarse or subtle, always.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
SteRo
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

Aemilius wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:30 pm Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering". Or things like the Declaration Human Rights, the systems of international law, and international agreements concerning a vast number of issues, that have been achieved with enormous efforts,... -are they all merely "suffering" ?
I don't think the talk of "suffering" is appropriate. Ignorance is the root cause of afflictions. Therefore abandonment of ignorance should have priority. What you mention comes under 'worldly wisdom' which is not bad but still contaminated.
Malcolm
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by Malcolm »

SteRo wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:55 pm
Aemilius wrote: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:30 pm Basically, I don't think it is very useful to call human progress "suffering". Or things like the Declaration Human Rights, the systems of international law, and international agreements concerning a vast number of issues, that have been achieved with enormous efforts,... -are they all merely "suffering" ?
I don't think the talk of "suffering" is appropriate.
I see, so you think the first truth of nobles, sarvadukham, suffering everywhere, should not be the first truth of nobles?
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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

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The eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind, are on fire.

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Re: The role of truth in Buddhism?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Lazy Lubber wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:46 am

I assume 'ignorance' is a mental phenomena. So are you saying each of the 12 limbs refers to an aspect of mental phenomena? Are birth, aging & death physical or are they mental? Thanks :shrug:
Ignorance isn’t mental phenomena.
Ignorance is lack of mental phenomena.
That’s why it’s called ignorance.

Birth, old age, death, describe the coming together and falling apart of the “five elements” which is a poetic way of saying heat, water, circulation, solidity, and space, or,
The various qualities that describe the body such as bones, fluids, and so on. That’s physical.

How we experience that coming together and falling apart is mental.
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