Right/wrong thought

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Rick
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Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:27 pm

Is it Buddhistically accurate to say:

Thought that emerges from a view that the self is real is wrong thought.
Thought that emerges from a view that the self is an appearance is right thought.

?

I'm not trying to get at whether the self exists or not, rather the distilled essence of what differentiates right thought from wrong thought.
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:02 pm

I think the issue is that self-centredness or egotism has a distorting effect on thoughts and emotions. But a lot of the time this is unconscious, i.e. we might not be consciously aware of being self-centred. It's more like we're seeing everything through tinted lenses which colour our perceptions, or alternatively, are subject to various reflexes which are grounded in self-centredness.

In psychotherapy, for instance, the aim is to bring to light - bring to conscious awareness - internal conflicts which are based on forgotten or repressed memories. The ego will often act to protect those conflicts, usually without real conscious awareness that it's doing so. Acting out of those conflicts is the basis of neurosis. The Buddhist analysis has a greater scope than that, although it's similar in some ways (which is often explored by Buddhist psychotherapists e.g. Mark Epstein.) But whereas the aim of psychotherapy is to attain sufficient maturity 'to live and to work' (Freud's terminology), the aim of Buddhist practice goes beyond that to a state of self-forgetting. But it's not through a process so much of 'classifying thoughts', more that the habitual reactions that underlie thinking and feeling are themselves transformed through higher awareness. When that is set in motion, then it has a vitality which positively affects the quality of thought and emotion (as is shown in many studies on the beneficial effects of meditation.)
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:03 pm

There are no such thing as reliable relative truths, including this statement;)
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by anjali » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:28 pm

Rick wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:27 pm
I'm not trying to get at whether the self exists or not, rather the distilled essence of what differentiates right thought from wrong thought.
Will it lead to suffering, sooner or later.
Right view-->right intention-->right speech-->right action

Your might find this discussion on view by Alexander Berzin useful: Right View and Intention. From there,
Right view concerns what we believe to be true, based on discriminating correctly between what is correct and incorrect, or harmful and helpful. Right motivation [intention] is the constructive state of mind that this leads to.
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Rick
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:36 pm

Thanks for the responses, humans! I'll answer them soon.

To place the OP question about right/wrong thought in context:

I hang out in Krishnamurti circles from time to time, and K-sters take thought very seriously. It is divided into two types: practical and psychological. Practical thought is what lets you do your job, remember your address, calculate your home budget. Psychological thought arises from/around the sense of being a real self/ego/I. Let's say you coveted a sleek red Miata (and who doesn't?). Figuring out if you can afford it is practical thought, the coveting part is psychological. Clear, yes?

Krishnamurti and his merry band of K-sters view psychological thought as pretty much: The Enemy. It emerges from and reifies division into self/other ... resulting in anger, fear, envy, hate, racism, violence, war, etc. To paraphrase an old Buddhist saw: No self-thought, no problem.

My ongoing search for similarities/bridges between spiritual teachings led me to wonder if Buddhist right thought is similar to K's psych thought.
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by tatpurusa » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:45 pm

Right/wrong thoughts are only relevant to sutra teachings.
None of them can lead one to realization of real nature.
Only abandoning (not destroying!) all concepts can.

tp.

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Naawoo » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:28 am

tatpurusa wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:45 pm
Right/wrong thoughts are only relevant to sutra teachings.
None of them can lead one to realization of real nature.
Only abandoning (not destroying!) all concepts can.
ditto

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:44 am

Rick wrote:My ongoing search for similarities/bridges between spiritual teachings led me to wonder if Buddhist right thought is similar to K's psych thought.
The problem is that the word 'thought' is really very imprecise. It is used to describe a whole range of acts and faculties. What I think K. is talking of, is 'insight'. He says that 'intelligence' is derived from 'inter-legere' meaning 'to read between'. And that act of judgement, he says, is different from conscious deliberative thought, where you weigh things up and mull things over. He appeals frequently to what is called 'subitism' which is that you can get the basic insight he's talking of, all at once, 'at a glance', he will often say. His book 'The Awakening of Intelligence' and in particular, the chapter 'Is Intelligence Awake?' goes into that.
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Norwegian » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:57 am

Krishnamurti is a complete waste of time.

Remember what forum you're on: Dharma Wheel - A Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism.

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:36 am

anjali wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:28 pm
Will it lead to suffering, sooner or later.
Yes, and accd. to noble truth 2 we suffer because we believe we are a separate, independent, solid ego-I. No self, no problem.
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Rick
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:48 am

Rick wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:36 pm
My ongoing search for similarities/bridges between spiritual teachings led me to wonder if Buddhist right thought is similar to K's psych thought.
Big oops ... I meant I wonder if Buddhist *wrong* thought is like K's psychological thought, thought that derives from attachment to the I-ego-self.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:07 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:44 am
The problem is that the word 'thought' is really very imprecise. It is used to describe a whole range of acts and faculties. What I think K. is talking of, is 'insight'. He says that 'intelligence' is derived from 'inter-legere' meaning 'to read between'. And that act of judgement, he says, is different from conscious deliberative thought, where you weigh things up and mull things over. He appeals frequently to what is called 'subitism' which is that you can get the basic insight he's talking of, all at once, 'at a glance', he will often say. His book 'The Awakening of Intelligence' and in particular, the chapter 'Is Intelligence Awake?' goes into that.
How does all of this jibe (or not jibe) with Buddhist teachings on thought? Does Buddhism explore the nature of thinking?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:18 am

Probably better not to discuss Krishnamurti on this forum, it’s outside ToS,
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Aryjna » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:50 am

Rick wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:48 am
Rick wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:36 pm
My ongoing search for similarities/bridges between spiritual teachings led me to wonder if Buddhist right thought is similar to K's psych thought.
Big oops ... I meant I wonder if Buddhist *wrong* thought is like K's psychological thought, thought that derives from attachment to the I-ego-self.
Discriminating between right and wrong thoughts in that sense seems like a waste of time, and as far as I know it is not done in buddhism at all. Is mentally calculating if you have enough money for a car better than explicitly thinking that you want the car? And how would one go through all the thoughts appearing and choose the good ones, and why? There are thoughts that are non-virtuous, malice, etc. but that obviously is not the same thing.

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Rick
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:35 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:18 am
Probably better not to discuss Krishnamurti on this forum, it’s outside ToS,
Gotcha. "This is not a comparative religion site." I mentioned Krishnamurti to set the context of the OP question, but now that I've done that I'd be happy to drop K from the discussion. Which brings the question back home:

What does Buddhism teach about right/wrong thinking? Not just the quality of the thoughts: virtuous, non-virtuous, etc. But the process of thinking itself.

Thanks for the ToS warning, Wayfarer. Dharma Wheel has opened their door to me and I shall respect their house rules.

P.S. This is my post #1776 ... perhaps an adumbration for our midterm elections: Zee revolution is coming!
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Rick
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:42 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:50 am
Is mentally calculating if you have enough money for a car better than explicitly thinking that you want the car?
I would think it is in the Buddhist sense, because calculating is neutral vis-a-vis ego-self whereas wanting the car stokes the self.
And how would one go through all the thoughts appearing and choose the good ones, and why?
It becomes second nature, a thought arises and pretty much immediately you know if it's encouraging right or wrong view.
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Aryjna » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:49 pm

Rick wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:42 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:50 am
Is mentally calculating if you have enough money for a car better than explicitly thinking that you want the car?
I would think it is in the Buddhist sense, because calculating is neutral vis-a-vis ego-self whereas wanting the car stokes the self.
And how would one go through all the thoughts appearing and choose the good ones, and why?
It becomes second nature, a thought arises and pretty much immediately you know if it's encouraging right or wrong view.
As was mentioned earlier, this approach doesn't sound very effective, as one is trying to discriminate between thoughts in a dualistic manner in the first place. The only thing that I am aware of that one can consider somewhat equivalent, is identifying non-virtuous thoughts (associated with attachment, aversion, and ignorance) and replacing them with virtuous ones, which again is considered to be the coarsest way to deal with them.

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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:22 pm

I understand.

Thanks, Aryjna.
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Jeff H » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:38 pm

It sounds to me as if people are conflating “view” and “thought”. There is right view which understands that nothing possesses self-nature. That is deemed “true” in Buddhism. There is wrong view which grasps at the appearances of relativity between subjects and objects. That is deemed “false” in Buddhism. But within our false, conventional world view there is right and wrong thought which functions predictably in that world.

I may think the road ahead curves to the right. If that thought is correct and I act on it, I stay on the road instead of driving off the cliff on the left. The whole scenario is not true in an absolute sense, but surviving in relativity requires right relative thought.

Applied to the path, right relative thought/action based on right view looks like the six paramitas because ultimately everything is interrelated and harmonious. In the conventional world we may get positive results from non-virtuous thought/action and therefore believe we've applied right thought. But the sages tell us that is short term and short sighted.

In Buddhism we attempt to integrate the lessons of absolute, right view within our relative, wrong view experience so that we move in a beneficial direction long term.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Rick
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Re: Right/wrong thought

Post by Rick » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:06 pm

Clear and helpful, thanks.

It seems from pretty much everyone's msgs here that Buddhism focuses on the content of thoughts and the consequences that arise from this content ... but isn't interested in the process of thinking and the consequences that arise from this process.

?
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