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Truth and Concepts

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Archived_member14, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Archived_member14

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    Nov 15, 2004
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    Lee ji,

    No I do not think in terms of spiritual / non-spiritual truths. Although I do refer to what are conventional and conceptual truths as distinct from what then is called 'ultimate' truth. But being that conceptual and conventional truths are "concepts" and this being non-existent / not real, I tend to then use the word 'truth' only to apply to ultimate truth. Indeed to distinguish into spiritual / non-spiritual truths is the result of knowing only the world of concepts and therefore this distinction has absolutely no meaning to me.

    And taking into account that you make the particular distinction, I say both scientific truth and spiritual truths are conventional and depend on people to think along certain lines and to agree with each other about. So it depends on how much overlap there is between the two and another set of measure to see the common. After all we do see attempts at finding some kind of unity between these two ways of thought don't we? And again this points to the fact of how dependent on thought both are and how unreal, hence unreliable.

    Actually 'science' is too much of an abstraction. When you feel grateful, it should be towards some individual. When I'm sick, perhaps I'd think to feel grateful to someone for helping me. I may think about some Chinese doctor of old who went around searching for medicine with a mind to help other people. But what should really be the object of gratitude, is it his discovery or is it his kindness and dedication? But even if I had the medicine itself as object, why the need to go on to refer to the particular abstraction "science"?

    When I feel gratitude towards my parents, is it not because they took care of me when I needed and is this not again about a particular good quality. Even if my parents threw me out of the house, I'd still need to feel grateful if I've finally come to appreciate the teachings on morality and wisdom. Why, because I value these and without my parents I'd not be here.

    When it comes to a particular set of teachings I can read on the internet, do I therefore feel gratitude towards the person who invented the PC and internet or do I thank the one who shared those teachings? The former did what he did out of sheer desire and ignorance while the other understood what was truly valuable and wanted to share that without any thought of getting anything in return.

    No, Truth or ultimate truth.

    It is only in the world of thought that science exists. Daily life, real life, is just one moment of consciousness together with its mental concomitants, arisen to experience an object through one of the five senses and the mind.

    Obviously! Brain is one concept science has come up with and gotten trapped by. Like a child with an imaginary friend. The concept is the result of thinking following upon the experience through the different senses which in the end are only physical phenomena. To refer to the brain what in fact is a mental phenomenon is the result of failure at making the distinction between mental and physical phenomena, both to be known directly when they arise as object of consciousness, and this by way of the development of wisdom, itself is mental reality.

    Brain is only a concept, a result of observations of yet other concepts. Some of these are what happens within the brain itself, while others in making a connection with outward manifestations of human behaviour. None of these however are result of the direct study of mental and physical phenomena. One evidence of this is that, while referring to the concept and going on about this and that and relying on one theory or another, there is absolutely no inclination to study the object of experience there and then at that very moment. This is getting lost in the world of ideas and an indication that ignorance and craving is the driving force and not wisdom.

    It has taught me things I don't really need. ;-) If I thought otherwise, it will be seen that this comes down to attachment to a particular set of knowledge, one which has nothing to do with the development of wisdom.

    So you are saying that science has taught me to count, do accounts and to use a particular language? Is the latter a result of science? And would I have not learnt to count on my own and to add and subtract without science. But even then, what does that have anything to do with any ability to understand the Truth?

    Huh, you mean that you calculate using scientific knowledge when you cross the road? Haven't you seen even dogs, crossing the road successfully?

    And "biology of a child"?!!! You mean your reference point are not such realities as seeing, thinking, feeling, restlessness, colour, sound, hearing and so on and the most basic concepts that must arise from these, but instead some theories in physics and biology, when you guide your child in crossing the road? Do you think that an uneducated farmer in India will not be able to cross the road let alone guide his kids?

    Had you no inclinations to the particular kind of beliefs would you have even searched the relevant places, and if you did, would you have been attracted? And if indeed your inclinations are strong, do you not think that you might have found what you sought regardless of whether the internet existed or not as a medium?

    My point was to make you realize the fact that *you really don't know*. You on the other hand have taken your thoughts in retrospect so seriously that what in fact is simply different perceptions patched up together, attached to each are particular set of values of which you are unaware. And the end result, namely that it is all "due to science", points to a proliferation, one which is not just a matter of thinking about the past with fondness which is plain attachment, but something much worse, namely "wrong understanding".

    Not Sikhi apparently, but neither is it deterministic. Not knowing the causes and conditions, you rely on a particular story to explain your experiences. I object to this, which should not however translate as being deterministic.
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  3. Lee

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    May 17, 2005
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    Confused ji,

    Ahh I see yes I do understand that, although my take is a little differance. Guru ji talks about miri and piri, how can I then think in terms of only the one?

    Concepts are the way of the world, all thoughts, all ideas and lets face faith, religiom, dharma are all ideas, are all concepts.

    For a thing to become real in this world, it has first to be conceptualised. Are you saying that the concept of miri piri has no meaning to you?

    Again I get you. Youare speaking about duality and how to brake the hold it has on us, but again, miri piri. Guru ji tells us to live the life of householders, to own honestly and to do seva to our fellow man. Why?

    How is science an abstraction, when we are both using real science to communicate using the internet? I would say that is evidance of it's solid reality wouldn't you?

    I had a bad upbringing, my father is a drunken bully and my mother left me with him before I turned two. However I get this gratitude, but it is not a process of logics, it is pure and simple human love. How can I not love my parents dispite all the bad things that happend to me in my childhood?

    Why not both? Science is a broad spectrum of knowledge, people hold this knowledge, to be thankfull to the people without reconiseing it is their use of their knowledge, is a strange conepts for me. Try it this way.

    You are Sikh, are you thankfull to Guru Nanak for bringing Sikhi to us, or thankfull to the body of Sikhi for existing? Why not both?

    I am scientificly, logicaly minded, I like to thing through things before I commit to belief in them, I am thankfull to God for making me here and now, aware of Sikhi, I am thankfull to Guru ji for bringing us this dharma, I am thankfull Charles Dawin for his theory, and I am thnakfull to Sikhi and to science both. Why should I be greedy with my gratitude, I have plenty of it to share out.

    Ik onkar, sat naam!

    That is a great truth and no mistake there, but I also know that 2+2=4, and this too is true.

    Heh heh my friend so you and I am only imagining this conversation?

    Ultimatly all is physical phenomena, no brain no thinking. No brain no conciousness. I fail to see what you getting at here?

    Unfortuantly my little brother would wholey disagree with you. You see my 5 year old nepthew was diganosed with a brain tomour just about a year ago. He has had several opperations on his brain already. The first one made his temper flare, and his appitite lessen, the second one made him blind in one eye, and the last one just three weeks ago removed the bigest bulk of the tumour and although he is still blind in one eye, his temperament has now normalised and he is happy eating again. No sir Brain is real and not only a concept.

    Yes it does seem that most people do not question experiances, but surly you are not suggesting that is true for all, based on what, your own experiances perhaps? ;¬)

    Indirectly that is exaclty what I am saying. The written languages and specificaly maths are scientific discoveries.

    If maths had not been discoverd then no, none of us would have learnt how to count.

    As to what it has to do with understanding truth. Are not you and I using a written form of language to converse and learn form each other, to express differant ideas about what truth is or is not? How would it be possible to express ideas and learn form each other if not or language?

    Again indirectly yes I do, and you do too. How do you know what a moving object does to a soft biologial body? Have you seen somebody squashed by a car? Even if the answer to that is yes, did you not have an idea about it before you ever 'experianced' it?

    Life is learning, like me I would suppose it was your parents who taught you the dangers of roads and how to cross them saflty, who taught them and the people before them, and how was their knowledge of it gained?

    What I'm talking about is the application and knowldge of principles of physics without even being aware that you have learnt them. My point is that science is all around us, we use it eveyday even though some of us may be unaware we are doing so. It is after all a sphere of knowledge telling us how things work.

    The first part is not material to this but, I could have gone to the library instead I suppose, which is full of printed books, made availiable to us bythe invention of the printing press.

    Nope I have never said all due to science, but without it, well without it things would be a lot differant, I daresay humanity would still be at the savage stage.

    That is what I though, determinism and sikhi do not make good bed fellows as that particular philosophy would deny us free will, or more simply put the choice to walk a path to God or not. No I dislike it, I belive God has grantd us free will, that is the choice to make the attempt to know God or not. The other side of that coin is we are all slaves with no choice.

    None of us can know every cause, so as a nescicity we must piece together from what we do know. So why is it you object to this and do you therefore claim to know all the causes of your being?
  4. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Dec 21, 2010
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    "Truths" and "Concepts" are falsehoods as when examined in sufficient detail no two people will have exactly same understanding of either. Hence people will find a "Level" that they agree at but it does not mean common and same absolute understanding or validation. :stirpot:

    Sat Sri Akal.
  5. Archived_member14

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    Nov 15, 2004
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    Bhagat ji,

    Is this not something that you have posited? How do you know that such an Ultimate Truth exists and how have you come to be convinced that so-called scientific truths and spiritual truths are both expressions of this? Are you saying that you know sense perceptions enough to know that there is something underlying these experiences?

    I say there is no such thing! What do you have to say about this I wonder?

    This is your particular metaphysics. I mean how did you come to be convinced about all this? When thinking as you do, does it not occur to you to know thinking as just thinking? This is the "Truth" that I would see the need to understand. And if it happens that such a belief arouses pleasant feelings, you might come to see that it is because of the attachment to this that you are motivated to go along with the line of thinking…..

    So you are saying that I, in denying that science knows anything about the Truth and a scientist thinking that religion knows nothing about the Truth and you saying that we are all making a statement about the Truth, that we are all correct?

    No, the very fact that both can be made to sound correct is because both rely on unreal reference points. The Truth on the other hand is what it is and cannot be something other than what it is, or change. Seeing is seeing, perception is perception, thinking is thinking, feeling is feeling, wisdom is wisdom, kindness is kindness, earth element is earth element these are ultimate truths each with particular characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate cause.

    Well the sun *is* in the center of the Solar system isn't it? But of course such statements are of the sphere of conventional reality and not ultimate reality. It is hard enough that we know the difference between these two. Let us therefore not cause more confusion by bringing up such philosophical ideas as you have done here.

    You really love to philosophize don't you Bhagat ji? ;-)

    The Truth is known by its characteristics and that is what the reference point is, although no label needs to be attached to it. It is however not anything but what is *now* through one of the five senses and the mind. If this is not acknowledged, whatever is stated in the name of Truth becomes quite meaningless and should not be taken seriously.

    And you like to be poetic as well. ;-)
    When the Truth is lost so to speak, words by poets begin to appeal. This is because in the world of poetry one can be vague and get away with almost anything. And it seems that your basic philosophy is also of the same nature in this regard. By making Truth something that covers everything that you can conceive of, you give yourself license to be vague about it.

    The mistake is in the perception. When you say, "when science sees that object tries to solve out how it is the way it is", you believe that science is getting at the "Truth". I on the other hand, say that this is a mode of observation and study driven by ignorance and craving. Why?

    Seeing is a mental reality which experiences not objects and things, but visible object / light / colour. The so called objects and thing that you and the scientist thinks is seen, in reality is a "concept" conceived of as a result of memory and thinking. If this is not understood and instead one goes on to really believe that these objects are "real" waiting to be seen and then studied, this is not only ignorance, but also wrong understanding. Anything that then follows must feed this wrong understanding.

    Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with scientific study aimed at creating new things and to help others and fix the environment. The fault is in thinking that realities and Truth is being touched upon and comprehended. While seeing is the one reality which experiences visible object / light, all other kinds of consciousness are actually "dark", in fact darker than dark, as the darkness that we know is simply the absence of light and therefore an aspect of visible object. In other words, in reality we live in darkness more than 90 % of our waking hours, yet we believe that there is the experience of 'seeing' all the time. The fact is that the thinking process which follows upon the sense perceptions creates concepts based on more than one of these experiences all day, giving the impression that light is being experienced constantly. And so in fact we are actually living in a world little different from dreaming but do not realize it. This is the extent of our ignorance, and it is within this ignorance that we pursue a path mistakenly believed to lead us to the Truth, such as that of science.

    Philosophy goes further by coming up with metaphysical theories which often have nothing to do with what can be experienced through the senses, and this as far as I can see, is where you are Bhagat ji. You posit something called "Ultimate Truth" which not only is never experienced, but used as reason to *not* study the reality or Truth which is NOW at this very moment. This is not good and I wish you could see through it all.

    Should I read you then, as saying that there is in fact no such things as ignorance and wrong understanding?

    No, arguments such as this are akin to holding the trunk and saying that it is a trunk and not tail.
    Your underlying philosophy where you state that Ultimate Truth is the "whole" of the elephant and that each part when studied is reflection of this Ultimate Truth as in Indra's net of jewels, this is the very stuff whereby not only ignorance of the present reality is bound to increase, but also attachment and wrong understanding.

    You have actually expressed one of the several wrong views which the Buddha pointed out in his discourse, The All Embracing Net of Views. It is one which leans on the Eternalism side of the spectrum.
  6. Archived_member14

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    Nov 15, 2004
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    Lee ji,

    I had started to write and then ran out of ideas and decided to just leave it. But I have changed my mind now.
    I will respond only to some points that I think are important. If there is anything else that you think I should respond to, please let me know.

    You mean living the life of a householder and yet being able to develop moral and mental purity? I believe that what I've proposed is the very basis for this to happen. Indeed so much so that I'd go on to suggest that, to think that one might be better off changing one's circumstances for the purpose, will likely take one in the wrong direction. Let me explain:

    Here or there, now or then, man or woman, all there ever is, is the present moment experience through one of the five senses and the mind. The priest or the householder, both see, hear, have attachment, aversion, think, feel, perceive etc. So the reality or Truth to be known is exactly the same. To think therefore that one needs to change one's circumstance in order that certain good qualities might better develop, is to be guided by attachment to results and wrong understanding. In other words, being that the aim is to understand who we are, we don't then think to change anything, but just "understand" what is now.

    Indeed it is when we do not understand this, that we then have such ideas as balancing one kind of life with another. The split is artificial and remains always at the background. Therefore no matter how hard we try to balance things, ignorance and attachment has its way and the result is just more self-serving set of ideas. You can see it happening all the time, that in the name of the miri and piri concept, people feel justified in being attached to family and one's way of life, which when seen correctly is nothing but an excuse for indulgence in pleasure and seeking honour, praise and material gain.

    To be 'in the world' but 'not of the world' is easily used as excuse for "worldliness". And the only way to that this can be recognized is through the development of wisdom.

    The point is not whether concepts are required, no doubt they are, and not only for communicating ideas, but to be able to function at all. What has been pointed out all long was about the taking of concepts for "real" when in truth they are not. And by concepts here, I do not mean the labels, but the very perception of "something" just before the recognition of what that something is and then attaching a label to it. This is because the thinking process begins immediately following the sense perceptions and the wrong understanding can happen at the sense perceptions itself.

    I hope what I've said above has answered this.

    Science is only an idea, that too based not on what is perceived through the senses, but something that is projected into those concepts that follow.
    The internet is a concept; the idea that you and I are communicating using the internet is more concepts. This is not a problem so long as one does not believe that any of it is "real". To however go on to project the idea of science into the picture and insisting to attribute things to it, sounds like going a step further in the wrong direction where the reference point is only an idea and will forever remain so.

    You probably have more generosity than I do.:blueturban:

    If I had no idea about Buddhism but one day found a book with no reference to who wrote and what the associated religion is, on reading and being inspired, I imagine that my thoughts immediately goes towards who the author might be? When I read about what can only be a reflection of human qualities, in expressing gratitude, this would be aimed at someone who has the capacity to acknowledge the thanks. Although I can imagine being "attached" to the book itself and thinking that it will help me in the future and thanking the stars for it. ;-) And this of course would be all about 'me' and 'mine'.

    Like I said, you probably have much more generosity in store.

    If someone gave me a piece of chocolate, I'd thank him for it. But 'gratitude', this is something else. I see no reason to feel gratitude for something that satisfies desire. I'd feel grateful to someone for reminding me about the value of goodness and anything that triggers some level of understanding. If someone saved my life, I'd thank him for it, but hopefully the gratitude is not because I got to live longer regardless of how I live that reminder of my life, but because I am able to develop more understanding. And the kind of understanding includes the fact that it is not really that person who has determined how short or long my life is, but my own karma. Besides his act of kindness is his good karma and a good reminder for me, therefore this is what I am grateful to him for.

    I see nothing in science that is aimed at the encouragement of morality and other kinds of good and therefore have no reason to feel gratitude towards it.

    Aren't these two very different things, namely 'Truth' and a 'true' proposition? Truth (as I know it), is something that is its own proof, whereas a true proposition is something that requires evidence outside of itself, or in other words, needs to itself be proven.

    And you say that 2+2=4 is what science has shown you; otherwise you'd never have come to know this important aspect of life? But why would even think that without science, you and I won't know how to count or add? Are you saying that if I discovered the method of 'addition' on my own, that this could only be the result of a method that of science, hence the value and objective reality of it?

    But let me ask you Lee, without consciousness which experiences objects through the five senses and the thinking process which follow, would you even have any idea about say, a star, not to mention how many, and learning how to count them? In going on to attribute to science all such things, have you not given life to something that is necessarily only a creation of the mind? If you are in fact suggesting that the scientific methods exist regardless whether or not one is aware of it, tell me, through what do you know this? Will you be using the scientific method to prove the validity science?

    Putting aside the need to distinguish realities from concepts, do you think that objects (concepts) out there come with them a need to be counted and classified? Is it not human desire which necessitates thinking for example, in terms of size, and how much and how many? Do the planets and star systems operate because of science or is it that science in following a particular approach of study, comes up with certain theories? And of all the possible perceptions and line of thought, is not science only one of them?

    So in fact, not only does consciousness which experiences things come first and science does not take this into account, but physical phenomena following particular laws have not also been touched upon. Science in knowing only shadows will therefore at best only make true propositions, but never know the Truth. In being so "involved" in its projections and not realizing it however, it gets misled and also very misleading.

    This however is not saying that science conflicts with the Truth, but rather that science works within only conventional reality and has limited scope. If this is understood, then one can work using scientific knowledge while at the same time be developing understanding of the Truth.

    In fact we are! You, I and conversations are concepts. And although this is one example where were there no concepts we'd not be able to function at all, this however does not then elevate them to the status of "reality". The realities are seeing / visible object, hearing / sound, thinking, perception, attention and so on. It is due to the arising of these from moment to moment that concepts intermittently come to be objects of consciousness, but only as shadows of experience and not as reality.

    And you are here expressing the "materialistic view" which I commented on in an earlier message. This simply expresses a tendency to interpret experience a particular way. And being that at no point does this involve any direct study of mental and physical phenomena, means that it must be motivated by ignorance and craving. What you observe is what almost everyone else does and they all are as convinced about it as you are.

    As I said, it is not unexpected that most people will arrive at the kind of conclusion being that the mode of observation and reasoning must more or less be the same. The only way to get past this is to realize the distinction between concept and reality, and knowing what the objects of the senses are and what is the result of the thinking process.

    Brain does not feel, think, perceive or know anything. It is composed of matter and nothing more. The concept has arisen in part due to having made an association of human and animal behaviour with the fact of brain activity and when certain part of it is damaged or removed.

    Brain is the center of most if not all bodily activities. There are physical realities which are the base for consciousness and its mental factors to arise. And although these are not observable by science being so very ephemeral and in fact, not capable of being experienced through the senses, they however must depend on yet other physical phenomena, those that form the basis for the concepts which are the object of study of the sciences. It is by way of such relationships that when something effects the brain, for example in consuming alcohol, that there is effect on the ability to experience through the five sense and thinking and to remember and so on.

    I do not expect you to agree with any of this Lee, given that you come from a totally different background. Only know that within this particular system, every phenomenon can be explained without any contradiction.

    Not based on experience, but some understanding about "view".
    If for example, I realize that perception of the computer screen follows from the experience of certain colours and thinking about shape and form with the help of memory, then I know not to refer to such things as brain to explain what goes on. If I find myself thinking about brain, I can see that this is based purely on thinking, the result of past perceptions. With this I am then drawn even more to consider the realities of the present moment instead of making reference to some theory about the nature of experience, let alone think about the brain.

    This is important especially when one considers such things as moral and immoral mental states. Following the method of science leads to overlooking or explaining away of this very important aspect of religion. Given that we are to be aware of our mental state and know what triggers immoral states and what the moral ones and where each possibly leads, you as a Sikh Lee, how do you reconcile this?

    An idea, yes, but one which is not much different from that of the dog crossing the road. What do you have to say about a dog crossing the road Lee?

    And God in creating human beings probably followed the laws of science too. ;-)

    Or you can interpret the situation like this:
    Man was savage and there was no science then. When he evolved, science came to be.
    When you use the computer for studying about science, it is you who is directing the show, not the computer.

    When you come across a fork on the road, does not thinking about which way to go come *after* the perception of the fork? And when you do decide to take one and not the other, does this not happen as a result of the thinking process which moves around past perceptions and these arise *not by any choice*? The end result of having decided on one and not the other, does this not impresses upon you as reflecting your particular inclinations and set of values?

    Free will is an extremely misleading concept, one which is held by those whose only other option is to think in terms of determinism. Both however are results of the attachment to "self" and belief in "control". But there is also what is called the Middle Way. This is when there is understanding of the present moment.

    When anger arises and there is no understanding, it is taken for me and mine and therefore seen as lasting. One then tries to get rid of or control it and this is attachment and ignorance taking over. There is the perception of making a choice between getting angry or not, and then being successful or failing. But the truth is that consciousness has simply changed objects as a result of conditions one leading to another. And in thinking that one has the choice whether or not to get angry, is to replace one kind of wrong with another, indeed a worse one.

    Mention of the idea about conditionality and no control appears to those who believe in free-will as being deterministic. But nothing is further from the truth, since to understand the present moment and coming to see that this is conditioned already, is itself a very strong condition for a more positive course of action. Anger as a mental phenomenon does not last beyond a moment. That it appears to last is the result of ignorance and attachment which feeds the anger which then acts as a condition for it to arise over and again in close succession.

    So really, it is rather the belief both, in determinism as well as free-will, which is directly or indirectly a condition for more anger and other unwanted qualities one thinks to control, to in fact increase. Have you not observed for example, that often people have aversion to their own aversion? This is what ignorance does and is why understanding is the only solution. With ignorance and craving in control, one in fact is akin to a leaf in the wind being blown this and that way. In understanding there and then that this is what is taking place, is to not then be at the mercy of desire, momentarily though this may be.

    Or put it another way, normally it is desire at work taking the role of both the teacher and the student. This includes the idea that we are able to make a choice between doing good and avoiding evil and being successful. With understanding on the other hand, not only there is no impression of having made a choice, there is no reason also to think in terms of success or failure. One reflects attachment and the other, detachment.

    It is not about knowing any one cause or condition, let alone knowing all of them. But rather what they are in principle and how they operate. What you refer to are not the causes and conditions that I make reference to. You talk in terms of "situations" where such things as ignorance, craving, wisdom, morality and so on are not taken into account but instead values are given to outward actions. In looking back at the past with the intention to evaluate one's success or failure must in fact be a perversion of perception and consciousness if ignorance and attachment is doing the talking. So should you in fact rely on such a process?

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