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Re: Kamma and rebirth

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  • buddhatrue
    ... Hi Rob M, I don t see how this post is a response to what Howard had to say. Yes, volition (free will) is non-self, it doesn t belong to us, just as
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 31, 2003
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      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult" <rob.moult@j...>
      wrote:
      > Hi Howard,
      >
      > I am going to repeat one of my favourite quotes:
      <snip>

      Hi Rob M,

      I don't see how this post is a response to what Howard had to say.
      Yes, volition (free will) is non-self, it doesn't belong to us, just
      as body, feelings, perception, and consciousness, etc. don't belong
      to us. This is what the Buddha taught. But he didn't teach that it
      doesn't exist or that it is illusion.

      Volition is a feature of being human that we all have. It isn't an
      illusion (at least the way you are referring to it.) The only
      illusion is that we create the idea of a permanent self through that
      volition…as well as through the body, feelings, etc. With the
      volition that we all have we can choose to follow the eightfold
      path. That will be laying the groundwork for enlightenment and if
      we didn't have volition, enlightenment wouldn't be impossible (we
      might as well be rocks or clouds). However, final enlightenment
      cannot come through volition…we cannot choose to become
      enlightened. It is only by dropping attachment to volition, by
      seeing that it is non-self, that enlightenment is possible.

      I don't think that denying the existence of volition is going to
      stop attachment to it. At least the Buddha didn't teach that...but
      maybe that works for you. I think that most people have to really
      acknowledge and understand that there are choices being made, but
      there is no self making them. Just my input.

      Metta, James
    • robmoult
      Hi James, We haven t chatted in a while! I ve missed it. Here is the exchange between Howard and I: ... We ... Howard: What you say here is quite true if the
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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        Hi James,

        We haven't chatted in a while! I've missed it.

        Here is the exchange between Howard and I:

        Rob:
        > Many people think that there is "free will". This is an illusion.
        We
        > do not "choose" to be restless, we do not "choose" to be confused,
        > we do not "choose" to be angry (knowing that anger is one letter
        > away from danger).

        Howard:
        What you say here is quite true if the "we" you speak of is taken
        literally. But if using "we" is understood to be just convention,
        then it is not quite so true. Do we ever choose to calm ourselves?
        Do we ever choose to let our anger go?Do we ever choose to pay
        attention? I say "yes" to all of these! (In fact, the "we" business
        is just "so to speak" stuff, but the choosing is a reality.)


        James, Howard's comments were interpreted as meaning that in the
        ultimate sense, there is no "we", but in conventional usage, it is
        very useful to use "we" as a concept. This is what prompted
        (conditioned? :-) ) the reply. That concept prompted the memory of a
        similar quotation regarding "words and concepts" being a useful tool
        in the conventional sense, but something that had to be left behind
        at some point.

        Howard, sorry if your message was misinterpreted.


        James, you made some interesting comments below that deserve a reply:

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "buddhatrue"
        <buddhatrue@y...> wrote:
        > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult"
        <rob.moult@j...>
        > wrote:
        > > Hi Howard,
        > >
        > > I am going to repeat one of my favourite quotes:
        > <snip>
        >
        > Hi Rob M,
        >
        > I don't see how this post is a response to what Howard had to
        say.
        > Yes, volition (free will) is non-self, it doesn't belong to us,
        just
        > as body, feelings, perception, and consciousness, etc. don't
        belong
        > to us. This is what the Buddha taught. But he didn't teach that
        it
        > doesn't exist or that it is illusion.

        =====

        Interesting that you equate "free will" and "volition". I certainly
        agree with you that "volition" is real (even without a self).

        =====

        >
        > Volition is a feature of being human that we all have. It isn't
        an
        > illusion (at least the way you are referring to it.) The only
        > illusion is that we create the idea of a permanent self through
        that
        > volition…as well as through the body, feelings, etc. With the
        > volition that we all have we can choose to follow the eightfold
        > path. That will be laying the groundwork for enlightenment and if
        > we didn't have volition, enlightenment wouldn't be impossible (we
        > might as well be rocks or clouds). However, final enlightenment
        > cannot come through volition…we cannot choose to become
        > enlightened. It is only by dropping attachment to volition, by
        > seeing that it is non-self, that enlightenment is possible.
        >
        > I don't think that denying the existence of volition is going to
        > stop attachment to it. At least the Buddha didn't teach
        that...but
        > maybe that works for you. I think that most people have to really
        > acknowledge and understand that there are choices being made, but
        > there is no self making them. Just my input.

        =====

        Well said! I agree 100% with what you have said about volition. I
        guess my point is that there is will (volition), but it is
        not "free"; there is no "chooser" to make the will "free", the will
        is a natural conditioned response.

        Metta,
        Rob M :-)
      • upasaka@aol.com
        Hi, Rob (and James) - In a message dated 4/1/03 4:04:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, rob.moult@jci.com ... Howard: I think you understood me correctly. Actually I
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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          Hi, Rob (and James) -

          In a message dated 4/1/03 4:04:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, rob.moult@...
          writes:

          >
          > Hi James,
          >
          > We haven't chatted in a while! I've missed it.
          >
          > Here is the exchange between Howard and I:
          >
          > Rob:
          > >Many people think that there is "free will". This is an illusion.
          > We
          > >do not "choose" to be restless, we do not "choose" to be confused,
          > >we do not "choose" to be angry (knowing that anger is one letter
          > >away from danger).
          >
          > Howard:
          > What you say here is quite true if the "we" you speak of is taken
          > literally. But if using "we" is understood to be just convention,
          > then it is not quite so true. Do we ever choose to calm ourselves?
          > Do we ever choose to let our anger go?Do we ever choose to pay
          > attention? I say "yes" to all of these! (In fact, the "we" business
          > is just "so to speak" stuff, but the choosing is a reality.)
          >
          >
          > James, Howard's comments were interpreted as meaning that in the
          > ultimate sense, there is no "we", but in conventional usage, it is
          > very useful to use "we" as a concept. This is what prompted
          > (conditioned? :-) ) the reply. That concept prompted the memory of a
          > similar quotation regarding "words and concepts" being a useful tool
          > in the conventional sense, but something that had to be left behind
          > at some point.
          >
          > Howard, sorry if your message was misinterpreted.
          >
          ----------------------------------------------------
          Howard:
          I think you understood me correctly. Actually I didn't take your reply
          as one of disagreement. (Perhaps *I* have misunderstood! ;-)
          -----------------------------------------------------

          >
          >
          > James, you made some interesting comments below that deserve a reply:
          >
          > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "buddhatrue"
          > <buddhatrue@y...> wrote:
          > >--- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult"
          > <rob.moult@j...>
          > >wrote:
          > >>Hi Howard,
          > >>
          > >>I am going to repeat one of my favourite quotes:
          > ><snip>
          > >
          > >Hi Rob M,
          > >
          > >I don't see how this post is a response to what Howard had to
          > say.
          > >Yes, volition (free will) is non-self, it doesn't belong to us,
          > just
          > >as body, feelings, perception, and consciousness, etc. don't
          > belong
          > >to us. This is what the Buddha taught. But he didn't teach that
          > it
          > >doesn't exist or that it is illusion.
          >
          > =====
          >
          > Interesting that you equate "free will" and "volition". I certainly
          > agree with you that "volition" is real (even without a self).
          >
          ----------------------------------------------------
          Howard:
          Actually, I don't much like the term 'free will'. It is suggestive of
          a willing that is unconditioned. I don't believe in that. There *is*
          volition, but it is one among a multitude of conditioned phenomena.
          ---------------------------------------------------


          >
          > =====
          >
          > >
          > >Volition is a feature of being human that we all have. It isn't
          > an
          > >illusion (at least the way you are referring to it.) The only
          > >illusion is that we create the idea of a permanent self through
          > that
          > >volition…as well as through the body, feelings, etc. With the
          > >volition that we all have we can choose to follow the eightfold
          > >path. That will be laying the groundwork for enlightenment and if
          > >we didn't have volition, enlightenment wouldn't be impossible (we
          > >might as well be rocks or clouds). However, final enlightenment
          > >cannot come through volition…we cannot choose to become
          > >enlightened. It is only by dropping attachment to volition, by
          > >seeing that it is non-self, that enlightenment is possible.
          > >
          > >I don't think that denying the existence of volition is going to
          > >stop attachment to it. At least the Buddha didn't teach
          > that...but
          > >maybe that works for you. I think that most people have to really
          > >acknowledge and understand that there are choices being made, but
          > >there is no self making them. Just my input.
          >
          > =====
          >
          > Well said! I agree 100% with what you have said about volition. I
          > guess my point is that there is will (volition), but it is
          > not "free"; there is no "chooser" to make the will "free", the will
          > is a natural conditioned response.
          >
          --------------------------------------------------
          Howard:
          I suspect that al three of us are in agreement on this. But some folks
          somehow take this to mean that there is no willing, that choices cannot be
          made, and that "whatever happens, happens". That is an extreme position
          leading to inaction and hopelessness as I see it.
          There are several kinds of errors involving willing as I see it. One
          of these is that willing is, if not inexistent, then at least irrelevant.
          Another is that willing is the action of a self. A third is that willing is
          "spontaneous" and unconditioned.
          -------------------------------------------------

          >
          > Metta,
          > Rob M :-)
          >
          >
          =========================
          With metta,
          Howard

          /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
          in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
          phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • buddhatrue
          ... rob.moult@j... ... Hi Rob (and Howard), I didn t say that you misunderstood; I said that you didn t answer; in other words you changed the subject (which I
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
            > Hi, Rob (and James) -
            >
            > In a message dated 4/1/03 4:04:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
            rob.moult@j...
            > writes:
            >
            > >
            > > Hi James,
            > >
            > > We haven't chatted in a while! I've missed it.

            Hi Rob (and Howard),

            I didn't say that you misunderstood; I said that you didn't answer;
            in other words you changed the subject (which I don't think was
            intentional)…and I thought it was an important subject to pursue
            further. Not only that, the conversation was entirely in my
            language; which prompted my rare participation ;-). But I see now,
            from Howard's post, that it was an inside conversation of an
            intellectual nature…and, dang, just when I understood it! ;-). I
            offer my apologies to you both for jumping in.

            I believe that you are looking at the term `Free Will' with a lot of
            connotative knowledge of various philosophies and schools of thought
            (which I might recommend studying the Islamic approach to this
            subject for something truly interesting); however, I am taking a
            more `brown bag' approach. Nothing fancy, just general usage of the
            term. I really don't want to discuss if `Free Will' exists or not,
            that becomes highly ideological in my eyes and doesn't lead to the
            cessation of suffering. Guess I should have stayed out of this
            conversation. Being sick, I was oblivious to the subtleties. Take
            care and carry on ;-).

            Metta, James
          • upasaka@aol.com
            Hi, James (and Rob) - In a message dated 4/1/03 10:24:15 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Howard: There are no inside conversations here as far as I m concerned,
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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              Hi, James (and Rob) -

              In a message dated 4/1/03 10:24:15 AM Eastern Standard Time,
              buddhatrue@... writes:

              > Hi Rob (and Howard),
              >
              > I didn't say that you misunderstood; I said that you didn't answer;
              > in other words you changed the subject (which I don't think was
              > intentional)…and I thought it was an important subject to pursue
              > further. Not only that, the conversation was entirely in my
              > language; which prompted my rare participation ;-). But I see now,
              > from Howard's post, that it was an inside conversation of an
              > intellectual nature…and, dang, just when I understood it! ;-). I
              > offer my apologies to you both for jumping in.
              >
              ----------------------------------------------
              Howard:
              There are no inside conversations here as far as I'm concerned, and I
              always welcome you participation, James, as I do yours, Rob.
              ----------------------------------------------

              >
              > I believe that you are looking at the term `Free Will' with a lot of
              > connotative knowledge of various philosophies and schools of thought
              > (which I might recommend studying the Islamic approach to this
              > subject for something truly interesting); however, I am taking a
              > more `brown bag' approach. Nothing fancy, just general usage of the
              > term. I really don't want to discuss if `Free Will' exists or not,
              > that becomes highly ideological in my eyes and doesn't lead to the
              > cessation of suffering. Guess I should have stayed out of this
              > conversation. Being sick, I was oblivious to the subtleties. Take
              > care and carry on ;-).
              >
              > Metta, James
              >
              >
              ===========================
              With metta,
              Howard

              P.S. Feel better soon, James!

              /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
              in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
              phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • robmoult
              Hi James, ... ===== As you can see from my opening, I was thrilled when you participated in the conversation. Please do it more often. ... answer; ... =====
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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                Hi James,

                --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "buddhatrue"
                <buddhatrue@y...> wrote:
                > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
                > > Hi, Rob (and James) -
                > >
                > > In a message dated 4/1/03 4:04:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                > rob.moult@j...
                > > writes:
                > >
                > > >
                > > > Hi James,
                > > >
                > > > We haven't chatted in a while! I've missed it.

                =====

                As you can see from my opening, I was thrilled when you participated
                in the conversation. Please do it more often.

                =====

                >
                > Hi Rob (and Howard),
                >
                > I didn't say that you misunderstood; I said that you didn't
                answer;
                > in other words you changed the subject (which I don't think was
                > intentional)…and I thought it was an important subject to pursue
                > further. Not only that, the conversation was entirely in my
                > language; which prompted my rare participation ;-).

                =====

                I'm not sure what you mean here. Please help me to understand.

                =====

                > But I see now,
                > from Howard's post, that it was an inside conversation of an
                > intellectual nature…and, dang, just when I understood it! ;-). I
                > offer my apologies to you both for jumping in.

                =====

                In my opinion, if somebody wants to have a "private" conversation,
                they should send an email... this is a discussion GROUP. James,
                please feel free (but not free will :-) ) to jump in to any exchange
                that I am involved with (I believe that Howard has expressed the
                same sentinment).

                =====

                >
                > I believe that you are looking at the term `Free Will' with a lot
                of
                > connotative knowledge of various philosophies and schools of
                thought
                > (which I might recommend studying the Islamic approach to this
                > subject for something truly interesting); however, I am taking a
                > more `brown bag' approach. Nothing fancy, just general usage of
                the
                > term. I really don't want to discuss if `Free Will' exists or
                not,
                > that becomes highly ideological in my eyes and doesn't lead to the
                > cessation of suffering.

                =====

                As I see it, attachment to the concept of "free will" contributes in
                a major way to "personality belief" (sakkaya ditthi).

                =====

                > Guess I should have stayed out of this
                > conversation. Being sick, I was oblivious to the subtleties.
                Take
                > care and carry on ;-).

                =====

                Hope you get better soon.

                Metta,
                Rob M :-)
              • buddhatrue
                ... participated ... ... ... Hi Rob M, I believe I must have chosen my words poorly for this post. It seems that you and Howard have
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 1, 2003
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                  --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult" <rob.moult@j...>
                  wrote:
                  > Hi James,
                  >
                  > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "buddhatrue"
                  > <buddhatrue@y...> wrote:
                  > > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, upasaka@a... wrote:
                  > > > Hi, Rob (and James) -
                  > > >
                  > > > In a message dated 4/1/03 4:04:36 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                  > > rob.moult@j...
                  > > > writes:
                  > > >
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Hi James,
                  > > > >
                  > > > > We haven't chatted in a while! I've missed it.
                  >
                  > =====
                  >
                  > As you can see from my opening, I was thrilled when you
                  participated
                  > in the conversation. Please do it more often.
                  >
                  <snip>
                  > I'm not sure what you mean here. Please help me to understand.
                  >
                  <snip>
                  > Hope you get better soon.
                  >
                  > Metta,
                  > Rob M :-)

                  Hi Rob M,

                  I believe I must have chosen my words poorly for this post. It
                  seems that you and Howard have misunderstood. I am thankful that
                  you appreciated my participation, and I will participate again I am
                  sure. I meant that my participation was rare because a lot of the
                  posts here contain somewhat obscure Pali words and terms. Even
                  though a glossary of Pali terms is provided, I don't want to use
                  it. If I don't understand a post, without having to look up words,
                  I skip it. This is a personal choice, but does limit my
                  participation somewhat. And, of course, I realize that the
                  conversation between you and Howard was public ;-). What I meant
                  was that it has a subtext of personal history between you two that I
                  wasn't privy to; therefore I misinterpreted somewhat the message.
                  No big deal. I hope this helps you to understand better what I
                  meant. Now, it can be forgotten. Thank you for the get well
                  wishes. I am feeling better. Take care.

                  Metta, James
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