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Buddhism Pt 3

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World Religions class for Jon Kohler's Amarillo College class, Spring 2010.

World Religions class for Jon Kohler's Amarillo College class, Spring 2010.

Published in: Education, Spiritual

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  • 1. Buddhism pt. 3 Analysis and Evaluation
  • 2. Momentariness:
        • Nothing exists for any length of time.
        • Each moment is an entirely new existence, which is succeeded by an entirely new existence.
        • The only connection between one thing and the next is that one causes the next.
  • 3. Philosophical Problems:
    • If Buddha is correct, then time as we know it does not exist.
    • This flies in the face of that which is intuitive to the human existence.
  • 4. Relative Existence:
        • There is no essence to anything.
        • The nature of things only exist in relation to everything else that exists.
        • Existence is completely relative and conditioned by everything else.
  • 5. Philosophical Problems:
    • If there is no enduring essence or nature, then the rewards and punishment of karma are visited on different beings than those that merited them.
    • If nothing exists (essentially), the Principle of Identity is incorrect.
    • If the Principle of Identity is incorrect, then one of the Laws of thought that govern all rational reason is incorrect.
    • If something cannot retain it’s identity (in an essential sense) then NOTHING can be known with certainty: This includes Buddhism itself.
  • 6. No Self:
    • There is no essence to self.
    • We are a collection of things called “aggregates.”
    • Aggregates are: the body or form, feelings, ideas, impressions, momentary consciousness.
    • Nothing is enduring in the aggregates.
  • 7. Philosophical Problems:
    • This has admittedly presented Buddhist practitioners and philosophers with problems for centuries.
    • If there is no self, what is it that attains enlightenment or nirvana?
    • It cannot be me for I am already gone in an instant.
    • If it is not me, then why bother?
  • 8. No God:
    • There is no Braham or any such ultimate enduring substance or nature to reality.
    • Nirvana cannot be characterized as either Self, Braham or God
  • 9. Philosophical Problems:
    • The idea of an infinite series of uncaused causes contradicts modern scientific cosmology.
    • If Buddha is right, modern cosmologists are necessarily wrong.
    • The idea of an infinite series of uncaused causes also flies in the face of intuitive reason.
    • It is intuitively more plausible that there is an uncaused ultimate cause, rather than an infinite series of random, unconnected uncaused causes.
  • 10. Dependent Origination:
    • Everything has a cause, but nothing has an ultimate cause.
    • A momentary existence occurs because of a previous momentary existence, but the cause itself is also momentary.
    • Nirvana is not the removal of an ultimate cause (there is not one in Buddhism) but the simultaneous removal of all causes, all of conditioned existence.
  • 11. Philosophical Problems:
    • It is intuitively absurd to assert that everything is the result of an infinite series of uncaused causes.
    • In Buddhism to reach nirvana is to remove causality. How does this occur if everything is the result of a series of uncaused causes?
    • If I can only remove causality for the instant in which I exist, what about the next instant?
  • 12. Karma:
    • Because there is no substance or duration, the Buddhist view of karma is different than Hinduism or Jainism.
    • Karma is only causation, without the mediation of any substance.
    • Reincarnation consists in our being caused by something in the past.
  • 13. Philosophical Problems:
    • Again, if karma is causation, on what is karma acting?
    • It cannot be me, for I am here only a moment?
    • It cannot be you, for you are here only a moment.
    • There is no moral rhyme or reason for the action of karma.
  • 14. Nirvana:
    • Practice and Enlightenment lead one to nirvana “extinction.”
    • This is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
    • Buddha refused to distinctly characterize nirvana.
    • For instance, when asked if we exist when we achieve nirvana Buddha answered with the
  • 15. Fourfold Negation:
    • Denied that we exist.
    • Denied that we do not exist.
    • Denied that we both exist and do not exist.
    • Denied that we neither exist or do not exist.
  • 16. Philosophical Problems:
    • Buddha’s response to the question of existence and nirvana is a non-answer.
    • If the founder of a religion cannot describe the nature of existence when one achieves the ultimate goal of that religion, should one even consider accepting that religion as a viable option?