Causation and Non-Self 

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i brought up the expression deep faith in
cause and effect

sometimes the a in ancient times the buddhist
practitioners were called them karma baden's
which can be translated those who follow
or those who follow
the teachings about
the relationship between action and consequence
those who study
the relationship between action and consequence
i want to start out tonight by saying that
that's what i what i feel is important is that if you do
have faith in the teaching of the buddha
that you
learn to take care of that faith
without dwelling on it
and in particular if you if you have faith if you believe in the teaching
the teachings of cause and effect
if you're devoted to these teachings
that you practices devotion without dwelling in the teachings are dwelling in the devotion

one scholar described the buddhist position on carmen causation as
a week or modified version of cause and effect
and basic idea is
that human the human condition are human existence
is not totally completely
our actions that the human condition is not
completely determined by the actions of a human agent
and i have heard some people
authorities in the so-called buddhist tradition who say everything is do
to karma
what but i i think act
julie that even if you say that he would be good not to
take that statement
too seriously
but i wouldn't i actually say that in the first place i would say something different for whatever i would say i would also recommend not dwelling what i say
and i like to also just say right now that the booted in describing right view the most important part of brightview i say is the part that says action has consequence
karma has effect
but tonight i'd like to mention to you
that the buddha
also taught
that although karma has effect although action has consequence not all action has consequence
the buddha taught action has consequence but he also taught not all actions have consequence
the buddha also taught rebirth he said there is rebirth
but it i don't think buddha taught that there's always rebirth
teaching that there's rebirth teaching the karma has consequence and then
not abiding in that teaching
i think that is the buddha way
so in early to the buddha taught taught this this
this teacher gave this teaching on causation
and but also the modified it by pointing out that there is not a necessary strict determinism one to one between act and fruit
and also the buddha gave a teaching
which is called the core arising
which is depending on this that arises
depending on the ceasing of this
that seizes this basic this basic formula of the pinnacle arising he taught
how the teaching of dependent or arising is not a teaching which denies
strict determinism it doesn't deny strict determinism
matter of fact when you say it
if you just say it and you with you when you finish saying it
you could have you could understand that is deterministic
depending on this that arises
depending on the ceasing of that
of this that seizes you could have a deterministic understanding of that if there's a wonder one correspondence between depending on this that
you could also
say depending on this that arises and a depending on that this arises make it make a circular
but even then you could still see it as deterministic
so the buddha actually made some effort to deny or reject strict determinism
the historical buddha did
and i would like to mention tonight
the three aspects of this denial
one aspect is
and the acceptance of the fact
that certain elements of reality are i like this word
casual causal the closely related just move move those words around a little bit and you go from causal de casual and back casual means kind of relaxed informal
non regular
the the buddhist the bullet taught that there isn't anything that exists that doesn't exist depending on causes
and paying attention to karmic causation is central to the buddhist practice and buddhist teaching
but there's certain things that happened
the come into existence by a more casual causation or more
i am more irregular and non ah and relaxed way that's one element of the denial of the pinnock of determinism
cause and effect and in particular between action and fruit
and i've given i'll give her examples of that the first clock first thing is that certain things which are dependent core risings
dependently core rise in a casual way non regular
is that
and the fact that given an act that a given act will not always have the same effect
the effect will depend on circumstances
in the third point is the affirmation of the efficacy of human effort
now you could count so member those three
certain elements of reality of existence
arise casually second is that a given act
will not always necessarily have the same result could but not necessarily the third is is the affirmation of the efficacy of human effort
these are deny these are things that deny determinism
put me at the first one
the casual one
there is a a
although all scripture is called siva and that's because the buddha's talking to a mug name civica i think the monk comes and says ah what do you say about people who say that everything we experience is the
fruit of past action
and the buddha says dogmatists to scripture short the buddha says
that someone who says that
does not say so on the basis of direct experience can they do not say so
according to what the world understands
in the world we do not think actually people do not think that everything is due to pass com some buddhists do
some people have some other religions may be think that everything is due to past karma if that were the case
i'll just say now then that would be deterministic that would be as that would be a a strong deterministic understanding of act and consequence that everything we experience is result of pass karma some people think that but generally speaking up in the world people don't think that
in the buddha says
asus people who say that do not know this by direct experience and they do not know this by worldly custom therefore the wrong
if they think that
the buddha says know how do how do our experiences arise they arise depending on he didn't say this but i'll just tell you beforehand seven different categories of conditions one is
another is flim another is wind and another is the humours
experiences will rely on on these are these three four types of conditions or causes
which could be put in correspondence which mob with modern science probably
but then the buddha goes on to say also ah
our our our present experience can arise from untoward circumstances
on toward means a kind of inappropriate unexpected
people often use example of you know an innocent baby being born into a terrible situation they think that that's untoward
ah that that i would happen
and that actually maybe an example the way the baby gets in that position may be actually do to untoward conditions not necessarily though it might be because of bile
another such the fifth one untoward conditions sixth is accidents
and seventh
no as six this accident i think i missed one and seventh his maturation of previous karma one of the seven or eight conditions for our present experience
his maturation of previous karma
so although the buddha is telling us i'm saying that these other conditions for our experience showing that that the teaching of karmic cause and effect is not deterministic still
the buddha teaches
practice good karma avoid evil karma he still teaches pay attention to the karma
but if the camera was deterministic it wouldn't make any sense to pay attention to it because what we do or don't do would have nothing to do with what happened because what we're doing right now would be determined by past karma so why make an effort
but because
everything we experience is not due to pass karma
it makes sense to pay attention to your present karma
so that's the casual side of the casual or rejection of determinant of causal determinism than the other one is this not a direct one to one correspondence
and those two two main at facets of that one is and this is if this is a for a scripture which
i read a
and i read it several times
in a long time ago rid of several times i could not see the difference between the two different ways of saying it
but i hope i can say it tonight in such a way that you get it
well maybe i just how just read it
and and you can you can hear it the way isn't this individual
and then i'll say it since say it over in always easier to understand

he if so
someone would speak thus monks
exactly as a person performed deeds thus does he experienced its fruit
that would be determinism
if someone
where to speak thus exactly as a person performs deeds thus does he experienced fruit if this were so monks one could not live the saintly life no opportunity would appear to
put a proper and to sorrow
but if one would speak thus monks exactly as a person performs a deed that is to have a consequence thus the x person experiences the fruit
of his maturation
did you get the difference lowest what was a difference lois

the last part

that's true but that's not what that's meant the difference between these two statements the difference is which i can imagine didn't catch i had a troubled myself several times was
exactly as a person performs a deed that is to have a consequence
thus does she experienced the fruit the previous one was exactly as you perform a deed thus do you experienced the fruit
one ads in a deed that is to have a consequence
so in other words the buddhist sang didn't say it but this interpretation some deeds are effective and some are not

some do not have consequences for the actor
in terms of the actors experience of life
and others do
and the ones that do they will be
you know this close association which we mentioned before namely certain kinds of acts have beneficial results others have been beneficial results
some actions are effectual others or not
ha in a conductor's if you like lewis but let me just say the next one
so that's that this is
again first thing as casual second thing is not a one to one correspondence the first aspect of not one to one correspondence is some actions have consequences others don't and those that will have consequence then there is exact correspondence
between action and the result and experience
it's from the some mutiny higher
ah some eugenie kayaks
excuse gives me it's from angara on good tara nick one
two forty nine to two fifty three
in this next one he is from a police a mutiny chi and six it's it's the one the famous one about the fault the grain of salt
if you take a grain of salt
and you put it in a cup of water
he'd be very difficult to drink the water they had big grains of salt back in those days
but maybe if you've ever it if you ever done a salt water anima and had to drink at its
and it's very hard to drink really really salty water but if you'd take a grain of salt and put in the river in lake
it won't be too salty
so similarly if you if you do a small
transit misdeed like ear
a little bit rude to somebody
little bit disrespectful
if you are not committed to the practice of being respectful if you don't wholeheartedly wanna be respectful to people and the and and the new somewhat not respectful
that small misdeed will i have a huge effect
but if you are and what mature very fast and it'll take a long time to mature
small misdeed in the context of not commit not been committed and practicing good deeds
misty's don't tend to mature fast for example if i'm committed to being kind of people and and and i make that known to people and i practice that a lot and people see me practicing it and then if i'm not kind to someone if i'm not respectful i will get feedback on their disrespect quickly
but if i don't practice respect and i don't tell people that i want it back to respect and people don't see me practicing respect and then i'm disrespectful they'll just basically say well there yeah that's him
and we know what's gonna happen to 'em so don't say anything
but if if you are if you have a deep commitment to be kind and your own kind you get paid back quite quickly people will say that was unkind almost pretty much right away
that makes ancillary
so quit if the buddha was a little bit unkind to somebody the disciples to say you are a little been and kind of them right away they'll say that how come you're unkind to him today
and that'll be the result the result will be that was a kind of unkind what you did that's that's that's how bad things get for people that really practicing when they do small things they get small ah negative results when the result is gonna come
but if if you're ah
the same act in a different environment or different practice situation doesn't come quickly it come much later and comes very much larger
in other words or actions not doesn't have a deterministic relationship and this is for one the does mature back to the place but some don't even come back
they don't have a fruit for the person they have some consequences ill but not not for the person
this is a teaching and another part of the teaching is
how do you practice with the situation is and if the third point the third point is that the buddha of firms
that human action can be fruitful
and then recommend practicing good and avoiding on wholesome actions
then in addition i'm suggesting to you that
part of practicing good
this is the third point now this this isn't this a read this is a little in the vein of rejecting determinism part of practicing good
is not to attach the practicing good if you have faith in practicing good
part of the way to practice it in this school would be to not attached to practice and good and part of the reason why be good not to attach to practicing good is because as we told you before
we told you before
when you look at the definition of good you really looking at selflessness
because you can't find any good in good
so if you're really committed to practicing good it would make sense not to dwell in practicing good because there's no actual good and the good to dwell in and if you dwell in the good of good you're making yourself out of the good that isn't there
and this teaching is now being somewhat blocked
whereas if just if you if you commit to practicing good like really commit to it like i want to practice good i want to keep thinking practice good practice good think at all the time and every time you think it think it gently
and if you get happy from thinking about good which might happen
don't dwell in the happiness of thinking of good and if you think of good without dwelling and good and good even happier don't dwell on that even happier uranus
and then you get happier and then don't dwell on that
if you get unhappy don't draw on the unhappiness either even though you really should
cause your bad practitioner
the practice is not dwelling in anything
but it is also to be committed to certain things wholeheartedly and in the wholehearted commitment they will not be dwelling and that will have consequence and the consequence will be
great compassion
great fearlessness and great wisdom
how the middle way
the middle way between
control and no control
the middle way between a ah
a deterministic cause and effect and know cause and effect are you not totally
a random or by chance cotton
so i think i've said a number of times at this teaching of dependent core arising again
is a teaching which the buddha says the disciples
have a well centered attention to dependent core arising
they're all was paying attention to the or arising in every action they pay attention to that but i know adding well centered means they don't dwell in this thing that they're paying attention to
and that means they're open to things being not deterministic in the causal situation which they're actually paying a lot attention to so dependent core arising the central teaching that's the central teaching of the buddha and with and and he says without understanding this you cannot understand
life but then it says other things which don't sound like this this a dependent arising
and that other things are things which are loud because the pinnacle arising is not dwelled in but that's the thing you're supposed to pay attention to and not and not dwell on not supposed to pay attention to some other teaching
but does not about causation or that refutes causation post to pay attention to causation
in a gentle and kind way
treat causation the way you treat everything and treat everything the way you treat causation
huh okay
wasn't that great

are you surprised some you is everybody surprised anybody not surprised
have you ever nobody moving a muscle nobody's saying they're not surprised and obesity are surprise i'm more surprised that

that's really all came that sort of buddhist or into relief
we're into relief
we're into the possibility of being saved from suffering
but determinism
the eliminates the
possibility of salvation
and also the opposite of of determinism is really determinism to
a middle way
is too deeply a ten to the pinnacle rising and also be aware of the teachings which say dependent core rising isn't deterministic and of different different ways that that explained how how it isn't plus be open to other ways that it isn't
and i said this before again this this dependent core arising there's no cause of the pinnacle arising
there's no external thing causing the pinnacle arising the buddha isn't the cause of the pinnacle arising
the is choosing dependent core arising as the thing to pay attention to
but the buddha didn't make the pinnacle rising and there's no prime cause of the pinnacle rising
because we don't dwell on the pimco rising there can be openness to interventions in the cause of process
occasionally not always and not never
all was never are deterministic but occasionally there can be intervention in our own process of paying attention to cause and effect
if we're paying attention to cause and effect and were a little bit rough about it a little bit unkind about a little bit
again attached to it and dwelling in it
there can be interventions in this but the intervention is not for example of god
a divine being that in with the whole program because if that were the case again salvation would not be possible
if if somebody was in charge of salvation it wouldn't be possible
but beings can intervene with our process on a kind of but
occasional basis that's that's possible
and we can invite them to intervene
in one of the way they intervene as they tell us not to abide in what we're devoted to
and don't abide in not been devoted to what you're not devoted to
there's anything you're not devoted to
let's find that you're not devoted to it as long as you don't abide in not been devoted to it
and these wonderful things example this teaching on the pinnacle rising in the teachings which protect you from believing to to tensely
independent co rising not dwelling and those is also good
but in one case you're not dwelling in the good so that the good can thrive the other case you're not dwelling in the evil so the evil want to drive
how is vancouver this weekend and i was talking about something or other and i
i said i really i really feel
your deep devotion
your deep faith
in the bodhisattva path
and request you not to dwell
in your deep faith in the bodhisattva path so that it can flourish
so i would like us all to be deeply centered
and devotedly attentive to every action
with the understanding
to pay attention to the teachings and the experience of karma cause and effect is necessary in order to understand
cause and effect and understanding cause effect is necessary in order to have the best kind of life and then don't dwell on what i just said
be devoted without dwelling and do that with everybody you care about and everything you care about be completely devoted without care without them
dwelling care a lot about everything without dwelling without attaching
that's really what kindnesses
that's kindness taken to the fullness where there's no possibility of attachment
attachment is the central problem
how do we get over attachment be more devoted
to what you're attached to
until the devotion become so full that there's no dwelling
yes john
i'm just whining about
i think i think i did you say the pray you say pray to what
becoming pray to the trap
yeah i think
pray to the which to become prey to attachment to x carrying fine there will be there will be something that you
that would be a problem to get attached to
but i think you usually usually a character things comes with attention to it
so if you're attending to a person or to inexperience or to teaching
that's part that's one important part of caring
then i would add to
the centered and in this the really centered carrying is a or attention
is is one where you been it's so full and centered and so calm and so gentle and so not overbearing on this this wonderful thing that you're devoted to you not overbearing about your devotion
and your patient with the situation and your generous all that together makes us be with this thing makes his devotion not stick
so being attending the these teachings and been devoted to them
kind of synonyms
but taking these teachings in a soft flexible kind of weak way kind of an uncertain way
is the middle way the middle way
is certainly
the best way in the middle ways to not be certain
so lately i've been saying you know
i've enjoyed catching myself when i'm about to say good and and saying may be good or good maybe people say and that's a good thing and i say maybe so
and i thinking about my grandson i often feel like good you know that may be changing that too
instead of good
great now bigger than good
ah the good doesn't good doesn't make it here this is just girl rate
as tony the tiger used to say
yes step

intervene with it in the sense of you know make a contribution that doesn't seem to be coming from my karma so my karma is having consequences sometimes
and also sometimes not having consequences in the consequences having is that it's mature a maturing in terms of my experience so when karma matures it matures as as experience that's where it matures
so so i'm i'm having some and my experiences are sometimes the maturation of karma but my experiences according to the boot are not always the maturation of karma

dependent core rising is the teaching about how your karma does and does not have consequence
it's a teaching about that
if you're devoted to that teaching in some way that that's that can be a karmic act you're devoting your attention to this teaching
but you might be devoting your attention of his teaching in a way this kind of like to strong maybe
what's possible are you know if you look at your if you look at your history even if
somebody who has really tremendous i'm in a vision about all this looks at your history they might not see anything in your history
to to free you from being too strong about your history other than the fact that they're watching you and about to tell you that you could lighten up
and then they do and it's like an intervention but they don't always intervene
you know the buddhas are not always intervening and yet they sometimes do but they but still they do not intervene like and take control of us and just likes save us and yet sometimes they make at contribution and sometimes we invite the contribution and they don't
make a contribution and sometimes we don't even know about a contribution and they'd make one they somehow feel like we're requesting it even though we don't think so
it is the pinnacle rising but it's not deterministic
and as possible that in your whole life will never happen

i wouldn't say it's a synonym for dependent horizon i would say the word intervention which saying the interventions could occasionally occur is is saying
that depends core writing like nagar says dependent core arising whatever is a pinnacle rising i say that emptiness
so the pinnacle arising is selflessness is no self because the core rising doesn't have a self
you use any idea we have a how it usually works
his empty of that idea even though maybe and i told you ways that it often works and abodes does say ways it often works by doesn't say it always works that
and that process of working
being emptiness means that there's not there's no self in the process either and there's no basis of it there's nobody running it
and it doesn't have a self therefore it can be pretty much anything and it also can be pretty much regular
so there can be regularity
without control and there can be control
you know
sometimes without regularity it can be casual
it can be regularity with and without control there can be control
within without regularity all these things are possible but still we're being encouraged to look at this situation that's not under control and also it's not without any control
it's regular but not to regular
so we need some continuity in our life in order to have salvation but if we have too much continuity were done for there's no possibility of freedom if it's to continuous if it's to regular so we're trying to find the middle way between
and change
eternal salvation if too much changed there's no salvation
if too much control no control the middle way where is it it's hard to find because it
that is selflessness
and while worse while we're making our efforts to pay attention to cause and effect
in this way
still we may get some help
but we also may not get the help
and help can come like from a person from a teacher or certain kinds of effects can wake us up and
help us find the correct way of practice
yes i think i'm pretty confused with
in some sense it doesn't seem like i don't have a problem in a way i like luxury it's not deterministic
that's like a that arises that things are deterministic put on the other hand if i was to here that it was minister
it doesn't seem like a really matter because
if things are dependably core reason that means everything causally causes everything and like there's no way to and i know
it's cause we have
so it's like i i have incomplete knowledge so the situation's kind of whether it's kind of even if it was closed deterministically you know what i wouldn't have sang a little bit too much
he said several things that would each one big could be worked with okay so you've missed by saying that much i'd like to break it up and little partier k the first part you said was something like even if i heard that i hadn't first thing he said was i kind of our preference for it not being deterministic he said
bro j and i would say before we go further don't dwell on your preference so he didn't say he moved on that even if it was so he wasn't dwelling in his preference so said he would even for was it would be do you say he would was deterministic it would be wouldn't be a big problem would be a big problem became here's a second there
it wouldn't be a big problem if you didn't dwell on it and also wouldn't be a big problem if you don't dwell and it not being a problem however even if you don't dwell on it you can still hear me say if it is deterministic you can not be free
that's why the border went to the trouble of refuting determinism however wanting to refutes it and now we're back to john's preference we shouldn't dwell in jaws preference but again at john says that's my preference but i'm not dwelling on it so actually i'm open to the possibility of being deterministic i think that's good at you're open to it
why but to say it's not a problem again that's taking another step first of all i'm not going to dwell determinism but now i'm also going to say it's not a problem find get don't dwell on that either now there's you not dwelling in determinism or even saying that determined it was not a problem then please listen to the teaching that if that was deterministic
it wouldn't exactly be a problem it just sit there would there would just be suffering and now beard it would be trapped and suffering
it would be no end to some sour
i guess that's the problem with dust where i don't need to the actual because in some sense
i guess i i do think that my ability to perceive all causes them to see causality
can't you can't do that but we
can understand cause and effect
but it's not something you're going to do by yourself
we can
we can we can in the way we do it is by practicing together
in when we practiced together for example studying these teachings
and other teachings and we practice in this way of not dwelling in the teachings or anything else non teachings are things which we can even understand standard teachings if we do this together that group practice is the understanding of cause and effect it is the omniscient understanding of cause and effect there's no other omnis
should understand you call in fact and that is an omniscient understanding of cause and effect in these of the liberating beings from the cause and effect of of suffering
but it's not the you are going to understand because or i'm going to stand because we're here they are human mind is not suited for this but are you know human mind is suited for practices which are the realization of these teaching of this other reality of cause and effect the practice is the realization not not me
me thinking about the situation or me thinking about the teaching
the practice of the teaching
is the understanding
like when you actually practice taking care of things being totally devoted to thanks without dwelling on them that's the practice and when you realize you're doing that together with other people who are doing that practice and you realize it by doing it too
together with others who are during the practice that is the realization
that is the understanding
in return is not something i think
it's not something even the buddha things
but it is the way the buddha's practicing together with everyone that he is the understanding
that is the knowledge
but it's not a is not a consciousness
but the consciousness of those who are practicing that way gets illuminated by this practice which is you know makes them really happy and fearless and generous and able to do all kinds of acts of non-attachment
it makes it that it makes it so they they don't dwell on their life
but by any of them do you say
you say

ah i couldn't quite hear you you're talking about the third the third are refute reputation of determinism being the affirmation that of the efficacy of human action
it doesn't know

why is it what
where's the indeterminacy
where's the indeterminate indeterminacy

why is there

your say why is it not deterministic
if there's no agent
i think let me say this
when there's no agency of the person if you would say that everything they do is just determined by causes and conditions then that would be determinism

yeah it's a as an affirmation that in a situation where the human action is not just determined
by causes and conditions
in that situation the human action has the efficacy of freeing the person from the cause of process
it's it's an apple yeah right that's right it's an affirmation that human action can free the human from the process and that and that the this saw the hottest seeing the whole process of dependent or arising is not just causes enough
facts bearing on the person is not just that
good question
ah well you know it's nine o'clock but that was a good one i don't know if you follow that but that that was good point
down to bring up next timer in between and i'll bring him up
yeah so i i was happy to come to class tonight and talk a little bit differently to you than ever before thank you for tolerating things changing
did you see thing changed here tonight
thank you very much