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Thread: free will

  1. #1

    free will

    ok, i should know better than to post this -- and it is not about busting will out of china, or wherever he is now -- and it is not about free willy, which is an entirely other matter -- it is about this:

    i have enough moments now where i see, when sitting and at other times, that there is no bob/roky/self -- but what is it that makes those zillion decisions every moment? -- like, to drop that thought, or to ? -- just a bunch of patterns, habits, in the cerebral cortex -- depressing -- or what suzuki called "big mind"?? -- what recognizes that there is no self?

    ?

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: free will

    There is no answer to this question. Hagen is fond of saying that the real translation is 'not self', not 'no self' - meaning that one never goes to the point of asserting there is 'no self', just that whatever is found is 'not self'. This avoids the 'performative contradiction' of a 'self' stating that there is 'no self'.

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: free will

    Hi Roky, I wish I could help you with that one but I think it's a question for Superman or maybe Jundo. Just don't know is enough.

  4. #4

    Re: free will

    i have enough moments now where i see, when sitting and at other times, that there is no bob/roky/self -- but what is it that makes those zillion decisions every moment? -- like, to drop that thought, or to ? -- just a bunch of patterns, habits, in the cerebral cortex -- depressing -- or what suzuki called "big mind"?? -- what recognizes that there is no self?
    What Chet says sums it up. If in fact there was no self, we wouldn't even move. There is emptiness and form.

    Form is no other than emptiness and emptiness no other than form.

    You might have heard of some people (mostly in India) who have sat for years without moving. They don't eat, or drink. People come by and feed them occasionally. This is not Zen practice. Zen practice is experiencing emptiness and letting Mountains be Mountains once again.

    To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things.

    Have a look at the 12 fold chain of interdependent emergence.

    Jundo also posted a talk by Zoketsu Norm Fischer in the Book Club (suffering is valuable):

    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?It ... xt-353-189


    Gassho

  5. #5

    Re: free will

    well, as i said, i probably shouldn't ask this question :!:

  6. #6

    Re: free will

    well, as i said, i probably shouldn't ask this question
    I was just going to say "Drop the question."

    Gassho

  7. #7

    Re: free will

    Quote Originally Posted by roky
    ok, i should know better than to post this -- and it is not about busting will out of china, or wherever he is now -- and it is not about free willy, which is an entirely other matter -- it is about this:

    i have enough moments now where i see, when sitting and at other times, that there is no bob/roky/self -- but what is it that makes those zillion decisions every moment? -- like, to drop that thought, or to ? -- just a bunch of patterns, habits, in the cerebral cortex -- depressing -- or what suzuki called "big mind"?? -- what recognizes that there is no self?

    ?
    Hi Roky,

    Yes, there is --no-- Roky, who is just his own dream ... and there is absolutely Roky who is perfectly Roky, and cannot be more Roky than he is (otherwise, who is reading this posting?) ... and both and neither ... and Roky is just Chet Rich and Will when seen in a wider context ... plus Roky is the Rocky Mountains, the rocks and trees, a rock of a moon in Alpha Centauri too, when viewed that way ... and 'just life' when rocks and trees and mountains and stars and Chet Rich Will and Roky are all dropped from mind ...

    .. each and all of the above, simultaneously true when tasted as such ...

    ... and also true is just dropping the whole question, and getting on with life (sometimes experiencing directly that each or all are true, sometimes not, sometimes immersed in one angle but not another) ...

    Why is that important to our Practice? Because the demands, attachments, disappointments, regrets, judgments, attractions and aversions of that thing called "Roky" is what often causes Roky to suffer ... such that dropping Roky, or finding Roky in a wider sense, or dropping divisions between Roky and all the sharp rocks and other beings that Roky bumps into ... is liberation from that suffering.

    But the question about "free will" in Buddhism more usually comes about because the Buddha taught that the universe is bound by cause and effect. My teacher, Nishijima, had a good description of this in his book which I translated (of my own free will) a few years ago ... We last discussed it in detail in a "Jundo Tackles the BIG Questions" about Karma

    viewtopic.php?p=17953#p17953

    Quote Originally Posted by robert
    I just wanted to make a couple of small observations.... On the subject of randomness versus determinism, it seems to me that Buddhism is actually a bit ambiguous.
    Nishijima Roshi, in the book I translated with him a few years back, had a pretty good section on this: How we can be bound by causes, yet have great freedom. I think it is as good a solution as one will ever get to the old "free will vs. determinism" dilemma, for any armchair philosophers out there.

    If you are interested in the subject, here is what he wrote, which (in my free will, due to endless causes and conditions ) I have decided to slightly abridge:



    21. CONTRADICTIONS IN HUMAN FREEDOM


    Sekishin: [If] I recall from our recent discussions, I think it was said by you that human beings are bound hard and fast, top to bottom, by the ‘Law of Cause & Effect’ …..

    Gudo: Yes, that is right. The perspective of the ‘Law of Cause & Effect’ is that our every action, without exception, has its origin in a priori causes stemming from our actions, as well as environmental and other factors which occurred in the past.

    Sekishin: But if that is the case, I believe that there are some strange implications. For example, if we posit that we are so firmly bound by ‘Cause & Effect,’ by a priori causes, then we human beings truly lack freedom of action, freedom of choice and free will. And if that is so, [free choice] loses all real meaning … What was the means [in Buddhism] to resolve the contradiction?

    Gudo: That means of resolution was found in a concept of the ‘instantaneousness of the universe.’

    Sekishin: The ‘instantaneousness of the universe?’ ….. What is that?’

    Gudo: If I were to describe in a very few words the meaning of the ‘instantaneousness of the universe,’ I would say this: ‘Each and all of that which exists in this world in which we reside arises and take places moment by moment, all while vanishing and passing away moment by moment.’

    Sekishin: That seems like a rather strange idea …..

    Gudo: Well, if we look at it from our ordinary, common sense viewpoints ….. it could be seen as strange. However, if we look at it from a Buddhist perspective, we see that the idea is straight on the mark as a statement of Reality, and constitutes one of the pillars of Buddhist thought.

    Sekishin: Might I trouble you to explain it in a way that may be easier to understand?

    Gudo: [The] one and only time in which we can live is in this present. Yet, this ‘present’ in time is continuously, moment by moment, but the future becoming the present as the present turns into the past ….. Thereby, this time which is the ‘present’ can never be but the continuous ‘moment to moment.’

    If we think from a common sense view, we human beings feel, in some vague manner, that we are existing somewhere in an expanse of time, at a point on a ‘time line,’ stretching from the past into the present connecting to the future. However, in our daily lives as human beings, if we try to think realistically about the situation, we are not living in some expanse of time stretching from the past into the present and connecting to the future. Instead, we must perceive that we are ever, always living just in this present, and nowhere else. We are living in the moment which is this very present that arises and passes away, in each smallest instant. And because this very time in which we are living is this moment, this very instant which is the present that arises and passes away moment by moment, when we hold up this world in which we live against such a vision of time, we must see that this world too, and all this world contains, arises and passes away, comes and vanishes moment by moment, instant by instant.

    Sekishin: I see….. This is something that we usually do not realize in our daily life, but when you state it in such manner, I see how we could think in that way.

    Gudo: Certainly, it is not something that we become aware of easily in our day-to-day lives, but this instantaneous world that I have described is the world in which we are actually living. And this idea of the nature of the world constitutes the Buddhist concept of the ‘instantaneousness of the universe,’ in Japanese ….. setsuna-shoumetsu. The word ‘setsuna’ derives from the Sanskrit term ‘kshana,’ an extremely small measure of time which we might refer to, in modern language, as ‘an instant,’ ‘a moment.’

    Sekishin: But how does this concept of the ‘instantaneousness of the universe’ serve to settle the contradictions regarding human freedom ... and the idea of the ‘Law of Cause & Effect?’

    Gudo: With regard to that matter, Master Dogen, in the Hotsu-Bodaishin chapter of the Shobogenzo for example, stated such ideas as, ‘If all things did not arise and vanish instantaneously, bad done in the previous instant would not depart. If bad done in the previous instant had not yet departed, good of the next instant could not be realized in the present.’ Namely, in this very world in which we live, precisely because it is arising and passing away, coming and going moment by moment ….. the good of the present moment can occur despite the bad which occurred in the moment before. The reason that it is possible for the good of the present moment to occur despite the bad which occurred in the moment before is just because this world is arising and passing away, coming and vanishing moment by moment, instant by instant. In other words, the events and circumstances of the moment before fade, thereby clearing space for the events of the current moment to happen …. If circumstances did not change moment by moment, the world would be frozen and static. Thus, the freedom of action which we possess in the present moment can be sought in the fact that the time which is the present is an instantaneous existence.

    Let us imagine that we are standing atop a place as thin and narrow as the blade edge of the sharpest razor ….. Just as we would then have the freedom to fall to the left or to fall to the right, the time of the present which is the stage for all our actions, the one and only foundation for our lives, is also a momentary existence of the thinnest and narrowest width, whereby ….. although we are bound within the world of reality, the world of actions ….. yet, we are free, and although we are free ….. yet are we bound.

    Sekishin-san, have you ever heard, as one term representative of Buddhist thought, the phrase ‘shogyoumujou,’ meaning the impermanence, the transitory nature of all worldly phenomena? It means that all our various actions are instantaneous existences, not possessing any lasting nature. Such thinking is the same as the idea of the ‘instantaneousness of the universe,’ but viewed from its other side …… meaning that our actions in the present, precisely because they are impermanent and transitory ….. are free yet fully bound by the past, and while fully bound by the past ….. yet are we free.
    Gassho, Jundo

    PS -
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Hi Roky, I wish I could help you with that one but I think it's a question for Superman or maybe Jundo.
    Ah, you have discovered my secret identity!

  8. #8

    Re: free will

    wow!-- quite the response, jundo -- as someone said, "you have to say something", and i thank you for the reply -- must have been a great retreat :wink:

    and i really dug nishijima's comments -- as good as "saying something" gets

    his mention of the "razor's edge"-- i sometimes think of it as "surfing" -- when you ride a wave, there's a point at which you're right there -- pushing a little too much, or slacking off, and you miss it --- but when you're there, you merge with the wave -- a time/light wave?

    well, since nobody told me that i had to say something, i will follow brother brad's advice, and "sit down and shut up" -- or as some hippie said way back, "may the baby jesus open your eyes and shut your mouth"

    gassho, bob/roky

  9. #9

    Re: free will

    "may the baby jesus open your eyes and shut your mouth"
    This may be the greatest application of Christian theology ever uttered.

    I also prefer the wave analogy, btw- the image of water appearing to move while not actually moving seems to parallel the illusion that we're all getting somewhere while we really just sit still.

    gassho

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