Monday, October 5, 2009

Nothing in the universe to everything in the universe VI

It was not impossible that we might be the luckiest to inherit Theravadism to discern the nature of truth than any other religion could bestow it. However, the great is the enemy of the good and the good is the enemy of the great. We need to remind ourselves relentlessly that we should not be spoiled religious aristocrats; and neither deform noble universal Dharma of Buddha into a state of tribal Buddhism nor corrupt ourselves into a system of moral tyranny.

When the founding fathers of America came to Philadelphia in 1787 for writing the Constitution of the United States, most of them were from the upper wealthy aristocrat class. Most of them evidently had bias to make the fundamental and supreme laws that favored the interest of the class of aristocrats. John Jay, who was one of the brilliant writer- philosophers of the Constitution, wrote to George Washington since he was acquainted to the sensitivity of the circle of the affluent merchants of New York," the better kind of people will be led, by the insecurity of property, the loss of confidence in their rulers, and the want of public faith and rectitude, to consider the charms of liberty as imaginary and delusive." Washington who had already been in frustration about mob's behavior of Shay's rebellion made his comment, "we are apt to run from one extreme to another".

However, the Constitution of the United States had not become a device for tyrants or a superior rule of aristocrats even if the federated government is granted very strong executive power to quell either rebellion or separation of a state from the union. What made America not descend into a huge tyrant country of the West lied in the conscience of founding fathers, who were fully alert of the fallibility of human behavior. Gouverneur Morris, who was close to holding the extreme aristocracy, said to Congress, perhaps for giving self-lecture to control his prejudices, "Wealth tends to corrupt the mind and to nourish its love of power, and to stimulate it to oppression. History proves this to be the spirit of the opulent." It is not uncommon that possession of a wealth of Buddhist literature raises our violent spirit to be opulent and exerting oppression over other disenfranchised religious concepts in our dogmatic society. It was personal conscience, self-control, or self-awareness that rendered the difference to make the US laws of Constitution possible one of the most prominent movements in civilization of Western democracy and the opportunity for freedom of thought in the spirit of mutual interest and coexistent progress of the parties. When there is strong propensity of uprising of mobs if liberty is fully exercised, there is also strong tendency of oppressing of the haves over the have-nots if democracy or monarchy is fully exercised. The middle way, a device to control human corruptibility, was observed by founding fathers of the United States that was to exercise checks and balances of state parties over one another. The parties of the US require mutual frustration as well as harmony to arrive at some degree of agreeable truth in their practice of democracy. In politics, the tool is rigorous checks and balances; in scientific study, the tool is nit-picking validation to prove that a proposal or theory is, perhaps with some or many exceptions, might be true.

Our deadlock of the progress of knowledge of Burmese and Burmese Buddhism as well has entrenched its roots when we started to ground truth with Buddhism without any check and balance or any validation method. Then the two extremes have been popularized in our society, diametrically opposite situations of the extreme of liberty vis-à-vis extreme of tyranny. Very few people may have noticed the middle way of checks and balances since the majority accepted these two polarized ends that Buddha was sure to reject: one extreme end was irrational religious dogmatism and another extreme end was irrational moral relativism. Both extreme ends were extremely dangerous to humanity since the former was legitimizing the reign of tyranny and another end was legitimizing chaos of anarchy. Whenever a revolution was done, either one or another of these two extreme mind-sets displayed their utmost character to oppress another counterpart without getting a middle-ground compromise. When we tried to throw away tyranny, we always came to end as Hobbes' the state of nature where an individual or a smaller group could be terminated at arbitrary will by another group of bigger force so that people need to submit to any form of government, therefore, tyranny is to be accepted by men in the state of nature as their fate of the minimal worst. In fact, the real outcome is the maximal worst for "power tends to corrupt and ultimately corrupt into complete dominion of the ruling class to utter destruction of other classes". Both the acceptance of irrational tyranny and the exercise of irrational liberty are matched with our two extreme views of irrational religious dogmatism and irrational moral relativism. In politics, we never have reached the middle ground between tyranny and liberty. Similarly, in Buddhism, it is very likely that we are still missing the middle way as we have no awareness of using the tool of reason for checks and balances of our moral ego-centrism and moral relativism. It is the simplest understanding that almost every Burmese Buddhist is missing. Every Burmese Buddhist is taught that mindfulness is a priori for wisdom. Notwithstanding, few observe self-control as mindfulness; and reason as the road to wisdom or identical end with wisdom. Every Burmese can intuitively understand that wisdom is the way to truth. Notwithstanding, few could notice a very strong Buddha's teaching of Upanisa Suttra that expressed wisdom comes out of ignorance.If ignorance is always the start, it is only the tool of reason that we could resort to progress to another step of wisdom or in fact, another lesser ignorance. The dead and dangerous end is not unusual prevalence in our society of Burmese Buddhists who assume the start or little start as the ultimate and supreme end as they have never been in the tradition of using the tool of reason to criticize their fallibility of knowledge.

(To be updated)


Anonymous said...

It is interesting but what is the relationship of content with the subject???

Mind PhiloLad said...

Ko Burmakin,

You web site is alluring.I want to epitomize as far as I understand Buddhism and Myanmar people.

The core message of Buddhism is "cause and effect" that I think all Myanmar Buddhists are sure to agree. In my understanding of your discussion, Myanmars know only the words cause and effect but they completely stopped at that point. They never explore what kind of causes are attributed to what kinds of effects.Is cause only one or dual or multi and effects are vice versa?

The modern Western science world is a fetish culture in their crazy enamoring with cause and effect despite their lip service to the probabilistic universe. Without comprehension of viable causes, an attempt for establishing a nomothetic science seems to be in vain. Equations, regressions, gradient measurements, all those mathematical tools, are attempts to make people understand the phenomenology of the universe by Western Sciences.Why not Myanmars have invented any tool for understanding the phenomenology of Buddhism.

What I think, the Myanmar Buddhist world is not on this kind of track for further exploration of Buddha's hints that should be started with hermeneutics, conversatism, criticism,skepticism and triangulation of sources, analysts, methods and etc. I found out your web navigates such issues, that are badly in need for Myanmars in making Buddhism beneficial for better understanding of the real nature of truth or Buddhism in its real nature.

Kindest regards,
Mind PhiloLad

Mediana Persona said...

Hi Mind Philolad,

Thanks for your broad comment on causality.

A story of this site has some interesting comments related to epistemological knowledge that you may be interested.

All the best

Unknown Rebel said...

Dear Mind PhiloLad,

Concerning the exploration of cause(s) and effect(s),Thereavada Buddhism is extremely weak and has done little on this subject. Mahayana Buddhism has been attempting to cover many phases in this subject. It is not surprising to see that Mahayana gains greater and greater momentum in the world religious stage, while Theravada is more and more isolated from popularity and modernity, closer and closer to the bottom,becoming an outcast. The exploration of causality may be the actual line of demarcation between two sects rather than the well-known separation of Arahants' goal and Bodhisattvas' goal. This may also be the choice of their fate.

Mind PhiloLad said...

Thanks to Unknown Rebel for his point.

Initially, I thought Theravada Buddhism would always be an outcast from the worldly mundane lives since its Bhikhu practices are founded on renunciation, separation from community,and practicing self restraints in exchange for the benefits of liberation. As these primaries can not be changed, I think if one follows the original way Buddhism, one should always be an outcast of the world so I had taken for granted of the inability of the progress of Theravada.

However,Unknown Rebel's point is broadly appreciated. The primaries of Theravada are not the sole causality of its becoming of a laggard; there are alternative explanations for its backwardness as he/she mentioned.In light of using a non-equivalent dependent variable in interrupted time series analysis in a quasi social experiment, if the primaries of Theravada practices that are ascetic and austere had conditioned it to its becoming a pariah, a non-equivalent dependent variable,the current state of Mahayana Buddhism should also have been conditioned to the same state of a kind of a pariah since it has been exposed to the same philosophical roots of renunciation, separation and self-restraint.As the two outcomes from our presumptive hypothesis are not matched, our presumption is wrong, the null hypothesis is true; the outcome of backwardness of Theravada is not caused by its primary Bhikhu practices.

Mankind is unrepairable causality fetish.If they tend to believe a religious concept,they should have a reason to believe. The religion need convince them a strong reason to believe.Unless a religion explores the world of causality, there are much less odds for penetration of this religion into this scientific world that is relentlessly in progress for search of causality.

Mediana Persona said...

I don't think the exploration of causality is any meaningful to Buddhism.

The central philosophy about causality is explained in Buddhism by two phenomena, "Haytu (root) and Samanantara(continuum)" in the Seventh Bible of Abi Dharma (elaboration of ultimately real things). In fact, this causality explanation contradicts the first and third principle of Buddhism,"Anicca (impermanence) and Anatta (non-substaniality wherein both together reflect momentariness of forms(Rupa) and mind (Citta) as appearing just for a while but collapsing, and fading immediately at the infinitesimal level of ultimate regress. This is the point I want to make.If Rupa and Citta (Defining Loka (the Universal phenomena) as Rupa and Citta is naive realism and non-pluralism per philosophy of Abi Dharma that is certainly not the original instruction from Buddha whereas the earliest Buddhism Pali texts disclosed to us that Buddha's phenomenology is more in consistency with Bertrand Russell's humble "sense data" interpretation of things rather than objective reality)are just momentary and collapse immediately or more.. more than immediately ,then they will not have enough sufficiency to serve as the roots for giving rise to next continuum series of new sense data (per Abi Dharma, Rupa and Citta). If everything is collapsed after a while, there should not be any sufficient root (Haytu), as nothing else could exist even for a while.If there is no sufficient existence of Haytu(root)to support the appearance of next sense data (Aramana),the tenet of continuum (Samanantara)can't hold. Then exploration of causality is not meaningful because things always come to stop at their first formation per first principle(Anicca) and there is nothing that is substantial enough (Anatta).

The exploration for causality in Buddhism is ended here with incapacity to overcome two main principles (Anicca and Anatta). However,the causality could be salvaged if you look outside the realm of Buddhism. Bertrand Rusell saw that between similar serial happenings of n and n+1 phenomena,for holding causality between n and n+1,formation of n+1 is never sufficient alone with it so-called predecessor n. There must be something that is independent from both n and n+1 needs to exist for causality of continuance of this continum (Samananthra).

The problem for Buddhists is that if you start to say this Independent Juxtaposer (with large I and J between every n and n+1 phenomena) assumption might be true, the principle of simultaneous and mutual interdependence phenomenon explained by Mahayana Buddhist scholars can't hold any longer.By exploring causality in Buddhism, we unfortunately end with Abrahamic Gods and Maha Brahma as the only Connexor.

I don't want to say both Theravada and Mahayana are wrong in their assumptions in exploration of causality.Things are far away from sufficient explanation.But finding the causality within the narrow boundary of Buddhism is not that meaningful to us if you can look a scientific world with its infinite potential of progress in this causality exploration.

Karaweik ကရဝိတ္ 妙声鸟 Alvin (Sumedha) said...

Schrödinger's cat again...
Who is the observer? What is observed? How is the observation interpreted? It would be interesting for the observer to observe the mind's interpretation of phenomena. Causality is far more entangled and relative than linear-strung.

Anonymous said...

Don't think this comment as an insult. My humble comment is the interpreters of Buddha's text could be much naive in just taking the normative stance. This is the current problem of Theravada as its stance in naive realism rather than esoteric understanding of truth.

Unknown Rebel said...

Sure.Theravada is a sort of "naive realism" if I don't understand incorrectly.If you look at this Buddhism more curiously,it turns out that it rejects the the concept of the non-existence of self (Anetta) implicitly by mentioning two ways of truth- nominal Truth and ultimate Truth, where both Truths are spelled with Big Ts.

With nominal Truth,Theravada accepts the presence of "I", here again with Big I, as a plausible explanation of Karma.With ultimate Truth, Theravada accepts the presence of "Body, Soul, and Phenomenon" all spelled with Big B,S and P as ultimately and conclusively real.Well, both assumptions are straightforwardly contradicting the most fundamental principle of Buddhism, "Anetta" (no existence of any independent presence or any substantial enough kind of existence) that brackets the most important distinguish of Buddhism from other kinds of metaphysics.

Anonymous said...

interesting to read comments windup of a quick understanding of those

Mind PhiloLad: advocates further exploration of Buddhism concepts

Median Person: The concepts of "root and continuum" of Patthana doctrine (he said seventh bible), the body-mind classification of the living world as well, self-contradicts the Anatta principle that denies any substantial reality of a thing. Theravadism is completely scrambled at this point.

Unknown Rebel: favors Mahayanism over Theravadism. Mahayanism does great practical work to link Buddhist concepts to modern sciences; Theravadism is not.Stratification of truths into two layers (common sense or nominal truth and high or ultimate truth) ends in naive realism that self-contradicts Anatman principle, Buddhist fundamental concept that rejects any subsistent reality.Again, at this point, the currently dominating concepts of Theravada are thought to be not valid enough to be "Real" Theravada or "Original" Buddhism.Median person and unknown rebel aggree to reach a point to see the current Theravada concepts as naive (very inexperienced)realism.

My comment: What is Sama-Ditthi then? If our Buddhist thoughts we enjoy and live the whole life are untenable from follies of our human fallacy. Perhaps, we Buddhists have not ever learned Buddhism before,that is to see things as they are (Vibissa). Actually real learning "starts at edge of our comfort zone". Perhaps to unlearn the things (a majority in amount) we accumulate the whole life might be the real start of learning of the Buddhism.