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  • robertkirkpatrick.rm
    ... Dear Group, Sorry for some more cross-posting. I posted the letter I wrote to Rob. E. to another list and someone replied. Howard gave such a profound
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 27, 2002
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      ---
      Dear Group,
      Sorry for some more cross-posting. I posted the letter I wrote to
      Rob. E. to another list and someone replied. Howard gave such a
      profound reply to this that I thought you'd like to read it.

      >Dear Robert,
      I try to condense in some words:
      > (correct me if I am wrong)
      >Whatever happens right now
      > is the result of past << conditions >>
      >Man has no volition, intention,
      > free will, initiative at all !
      > What appear as volition (cetana) intention, free will, initiative
      are also already << conditioned >>
      > by past conditions !
      > ______________
      In dhamma-list@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
      Hi, ...
      No, there IS volition. And it is "free", unless what one means by
      'free' is being uncaused. Of course we do act volitionally all the
      time. But
      that volition is formed (sankhata) by numerous conditions, among
      which are
      our predispositions accumulated over many lifetimes. Our volition
      expresses
      our inclinations. In fact that is what makes our volition seem
      personal, what
      makes it "our" volition. Would you feel "freer" if volition were
      random? (Of
      course, nothing is random, and, also, it is an error to truly think
      of
      volition as personal even though it is conditioned by our
      predispositions,
      because "our" predispositions are also impersonal.)
      It's a funny business how we think about willing. On the one
      hand we
      want it to be completely free, which really means we don't want it to
      be the
      result of conditions, but on the other hand we want it to be "our"
      volition,
      for otherwise we feel that we lack free will and are helpless slaves.
      We want
      our cake and to eat it as well. But the way things are is as they
      are. We
      need to forget about what we would *like* things to be, and, instead,
      come to
      see clearly how they actually are. With metta,
      Howard
    • Robert Epstein
      Hi, A few thoughts on Rob s and Howard s posts on volition: 1/ There is clearly some kind of volition, as we are not rocks. 2/ It s clear to me that volition
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 28, 2002
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        Hi,
        A few thoughts on Rob's and Howard's posts on volition:

        1/ There is clearly some kind of volition, as we are not rocks.
        2/ It's clear to me that volition acts within and based on conditions and events
        that are codependently originated. There is no escape from cause and effect.
        Someone famous once said: "Freedom is not freedom from conditions; freedom is
        freedom towards conditions." In other words, based on all that has occurred and
        within the influences of what has occurred, one still makes a choice.
        3/ What makes something volition or not is whether, even within arising
        conditions, there is any choice to be made, or whether it is *all* determined by
        conditions, down to the last hangnail, or split end of reality. Or does the
        factor of awareness or mindfulness, the ability that humans have to reflect and
        take things into account, have any space beyond pure domino-like causation. Rob
        K. tried to explain the complexity of this mechanism, and I will say quite happily
        that it is beyond me to even imagine how there can be true volition unless there
        is some sort of factor that is uncaused making choices. This sounds like a form
        of atta, or else it is an uncaused principle totally beyond any personal volition,
        and so is impersonal volition. What that might mean is also beyond my
        comprehension at the moment.

        So there you go! My conclusion is that this is the most complicated topic,
        because even defining volition is prolematic, in the absence of a concept of a
        defineable self living within and amidst the kandhas. Since we admit of no such
        self -- and it is pretty clear to me at least intellecutally that there isn't one
        -- it is even harder to imagine where the volition, if any, would reside.

        And yet, there is a quality in human experience that seems to me to be volitional
        and not merely reflection of pure cause and effect. Maybe just another illusion.
        Maybe not.

        Best,
        Robert Ep.

        ===========================


        --- "robertkirkpatrick.rm" <robertkirkpatrick@...> wrote:
        > ---
        > Dear Group,
        > Sorry for some more cross-posting. I posted the letter I wrote to
        > Rob. E. to another list and someone replied. Howard gave such a
        > profound reply to this that I thought you'd like to read it.
        >
        > >Dear Robert,
        > I try to condense in some words:
        > > (correct me if I am wrong)
        > >Whatever happens right now
        > > is the result of past << conditions >>
        > >Man has no volition, intention,
        > > free will, initiative at all !
        > > What appear as volition (cetana) intention, free will, initiative
        > are also already << conditioned >>
        > > by past conditions !
        > > ______________
        > In dhamma-list@y..., upasaka@a... wrote:
        > Hi, ...
        > No, there IS volition. And it is "free", unless what one means by
        > 'free' is being uncaused. Of course we do act volitionally all the
        > time. But
        > that volition is formed (sankhata) by numerous conditions, among
        > which are
        > our predispositions accumulated over many lifetimes. Our volition
        > expresses
        > our inclinations. In fact that is what makes our volition seem
        > personal, what
        > makes it "our" volition. Would you feel "freer" if volition were
        > random? (Of
        > course, nothing is random, and, also, it is an error to truly think
        > of
        > volition as personal even though it is conditioned by our
        > predispositions,
        > because "our" predispositions are also impersonal.)
        > It's a funny business how we think about willing. On the one
        > hand we
        > want it to be completely free, which really means we don't want it to
        > be the
        > result of conditions, but on the other hand we want it to be "our"
        > volition,
        > for otherwise we feel that we lack free will and are helpless slaves.
        > We want
        > our cake and to eat it as well. But the way things are is as they
        > are. We
        > need to forget about what we would *like* things to be, and, instead,
        > come to
        > see clearly how they actually are. With metta,
        > Howard
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >


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