Buddhism Pt 3

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

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Buddhism Pt 3

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

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