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April 22, 2010


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Happy to serve Frank.

When it comes to the absolute truth found by an awakened spirit (Bodhisattva) in the awesome presence of Pure Mind, One Mind or Buddha Mind, it is my experiece that most "neo-buddhists", much like confused "neo-christians", have a tendency, once faced with such a superlogic position, to instantly adhere to self-annihilating positions like a Munchchausen trilemma or even worse, pure fallibilism .

Where the first, MT, (much like diogenian scepticism) considers anything not tangible, no more than a theory to be ultimately prooved empirically, it breaks down all possible proofs for a theory into three general types:

1- The circular argument, in which theory and proof support each other
2- The regressive argument, in which each proof requires a further proof
3- The axiomatic argument, which rests on accepted precepts or mutual ground.

The first two methods of reasoning are fundamentally weak, and becausethe likes of diogenes laertus, socrates and the likes after them (even Nagarjuna) advocated deep questioning of all accepted values they refused to accept proofs of the third sort. The trilemma, then, is the decision among the three equally unsatisfying options which in fact makes a spiritual validation through proper observation of the absolute principle behind all things, awakened insight from the former and argument for their validity, invalid in the face of a sceptic or worse, a Fallibilist!

The toughest defendor in modern time of such presuppositions was the German philospher Hans Albert. He claimed that a trilemma rounds off the classical problem of justification in the theory of knowledge. All attempts to get a certain justification must fail. The verdict concerns not only deductive justifications as many of his critics believe, but also inductive, causal, transcendental, and all otherwise structured justifications. They all will be in vain. LOL

A neo-buddhist prone to fallibilism without proper spiritual insight into the Buddha Mind, argues that all claims of absolute certainty and inherently such from knowledge, whatever it might be, could, in principle, be considered impossible. Those with an overly dose of critical rationalism built on fallibilistic presuppositions are the likes of Socrates and yes, even Plato (Greece). (Remember that some of the oldest buddhism entered and clashed with the intellectual sphere of hellenism during the times of Alexander the Great and ahead).

Some suggest that epistemological fallibilism is self-contradictory in that it is in itself an absolute knowledge claim. For the statement to be true, then, it must be possible for the statement to be false. If the statement is true, however, it cannot be false.

What they fail to realize is that whatever seeks to proove its own absolute existence is already absolute and beyond ordinary logic. The chinese Chan Master Tsung-Mi showed and argued rather succesfully about the fallacy of trying to proove the absolute on the uncertain basis of mere consciousness only. The awesome chan master and dharma dragon Yuan Wu even provided a long series of Gungans (koans) as to brake the chattering veil of the mundane mind and its limited conclusions with the thundering truth of Buddhas super-logics.

In a way you deal with the same dilemma. You deem the truth of the Buddhas teachings from a fallibilistic viepoint and thus you never manage to escape the confines of your own spiritual entrapment, the skandha cage. But still you are here because something deep with in you, and presently unknown to itself (AS TRUE SELF), intuitively "knows" the truth propounded here on this simple obscure blog is as close you will presently come to this truth you seek (much like a caring mother seeking good food for its starving child). Something in me tells me you will keep doing this until you one day stumble over and awake to the presence of your own true nature, which I might add is absolute. LOL ! (ducks for rotten tomatoes thrown by incurable fallibilists in the audience)...

Batchelor seems to agree with the author of this blog!: (uh, kind of)

Batchelor quotes the Buddha in C.O.A.B.H.:

"Just as a farmer irrigates his fields, said Gotama in the Dhammapada, "so does the sage tame the self."

THEN Batchelor goes on to write:

"Rather than dismiss the self as a fiction, Gotama presented it as a project to be realized."

He goes on in this vein, but why ruin the ending?

Minx, I enjoyed that little story--almost Russel Edsonesque. I will ponder it further.

Your comment remind me of a small story or anectode.

There is this room you see, and in it, a monkey scampers around it chasing ghosts. On a wall of the room there is this big switch.

The monkey, bored with the state of things jumps up and turns the switch off. (unconsciousness/sleep/death)

The room goes instantly black and the monkey thinks; Gaah! I cannot see anything at all. I dont exist!

Despite this poor self-knowledge something in the monkey still has the desire and power to turn the switch on and light up the room so that it appears again. (consciousness/wake/birth)

The monkey goes; Ahhh! I can see thus I exist!

What here is vulnerable to the on and off modes of consciousness (sleep and wake, birth and death) and what here is able to transcend these modes and provide self-realization of the state of things in the self-ignorant mind of the former?

What most of us think of as the self is our consciousness. Advocates of life-after-death typically posit that our consciousness survives our bodies. So if the consciousness is one of the aggregates and NOT the self, what the heck IS the self???

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