The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by darrellkitchen, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

  2. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: Bhikkhu Samahita
    Date: Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:17 am
    Subject: The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???


    A curious & puzzled friend asked:

    What are the 10 questions where Buddha kept silence ?

    Buddha did not answer these 10 questions:

    Why not ?
    Because they are indeterminable & thus rightly unanswerable.
    Because they thus only lead to truly endless speculative views.
    Because they thus obstruct & destroy the only Way to Final Peace.

    What are the 10 Indeterminable Questions ?

    1: Is the Universe Finite ?
    2: Is the Universe Infinite ?
    3: Is the Universe Eternal ?
    4: Is the Universe not Eternal ?
    5: Is the Vitality of Life the same as the Body ?
    6: Is the Vitality of Life different from the Body ?
    7: Do a Well-Gone-One exist after Death ?
    8: Do a Well-Gone-One not exist after Death ?
    9: Do a Well-Gone-One both exist & not exist after Death ?
    10: Do a Well-Gone-One neither exist nor not exist after Death ?

    Questions like these are based on false a priori assumption & are absurd & thus wrongly formulated. Bertran Russel gave another good example of these logic traps: Is the French King bald ? Initially the question seems to point to absence of hair, yet closer analysis reveal that since there exist no French King now so how can he ever be bald or anything else for that matter ... ;-) Also there the Buddha would have kept silence... Hehehe

    Friendship is the Greatest!

    Bhikkhu Samahita, Sri Lanka
     
  3. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: upasaka_howard
    Date: Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:14 am
    Subject: Re: [dsg] The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???


    Dear Bhante -

    Bhante, you point to these as being indeterminable due to their having false presuppositions. While I can think of some additional reasons, depending on circumstances, for the indeterminicity of the 1st four, I believe you are correct about false presuppositions being the primary reason. I think it would be very useful were it possible to discern in each case what those false presuppositions are. I have some ideas on a couple of these, but not all. In any case, I would prefer to hear and learn about this rather than just put forward my own guesses. I would greatly appreciate it if you and others could state what you see as the false presuppositions, giving Suttic, Abhidhammic, or commentarial support when and if possible.

    (Please note: This is just a request, not an assignment! ;-)

    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)
     
  4. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: Hugo
    Date: Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:27 am
    Subject: Re: [dsg] The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???

    Hello Howard,

    I guess the main supposition is that of a self.


    --
    Hugo
     
  5. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: upasaka_howard
    Date: Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:04 pm
    Subject: Re: [dsg] The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???


    Hi, Hugo, Bhante, and all -

    I agree as regards #7 through #10, Hugo. In the ultimate sense, there is no being, no entity, known as the Tathagata to begin with. I suppose one might also take the same "ultimate" approach with regard to extension in space and time of "the universe" and in terms of "the body" being the same as or different from vitality of life, because in ultimate terms, like the "self" and the traditional chariot to which it is likened, universe and body are literally nonexistent.

    BTW, I assume that "vitality of life" is what is also called "physical life force". This is something the reality of which I have questioned in talking with Nina. I now see that it is a notion that the Buddha directly references in the Sutta Pitaka. So, perhaps it is a reality. On the other hand, perhaps it is a fact, and one that the Buddha knew, that there actually is no such thing, with its being a reality being a false presupposition involved there. It may well be that in talking to people of his period the Buddha often tolerated some of the common understandings of the time such as Mount Sumeru and life force for purposes of driving home certain points. Even today, a physicist whose area is quantum mechanics will still "speak Newtonian" for certain purposes, and to do so would not be considered lying. But with these 10 questions being laid right out for confirmation or denial, the Buddha presumably felt it necessary to give the only possible replies that didn't mislead because of existential presuppositions.

    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)
     
  6. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: "jwromeijn"
    Date: Wed Jan 26, 2005 4:06 am
    Subject: Re: [dsg] The 10 Indeterminable Questions ???


    Dear Bhante, Howard, Hugo and all

    The Bhante mentions three reasons: why the Buddha did not answer the 10 questions:
    - Because they are indeterminable & thus rightly unanswerable.
    - Because they thus only lead to truly endless speculative views.
    - Because they thus obstruct & destroy the only Way to Final Peace.

    I'm not sure all these three are mentioned in the Suttas, I thought only the third of them, is that correct? Because I've studied astrophysics, I have some problems with the first two answers about question 1-4:
    1: Is the Universe Finite ?
    2: Is the Universe Infinite ?
    3: Is the Universe Eternal ?
    4: Is the Universe not Eternal ?
    I guess the main supposition for this four is that we have no information and cannot get it. These were indeterminable and thus rightly unanswerable 2500 years ago. But know we have enough information to give an answer (we think the Universe is finite, not eternal to the past and eternal to the future)

    So the second answer should be changed:
    - Because they can lead to truly endless speculative views.

    And the third is still correct.

    Metta

    Joop
     
  7. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: Nina van Gorkom
    Date: Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:44 am
    Subject: Re: [dsg] The 10 Indeterminable Questions, Bhante Samahita.


    Hi Howard,

    H: BTW, I assume that "vitality of life" is what is also called "physical life force". This is something the reality of which I have questioned in talking with Nina. I now see that it is a notion that the Buddha directly references in the Sutta Pitaka. So, perhaps it is a reality.

    N: It is a subtle rupa and these are difficult to understand for all of us. Hardness we all understand, but not the subtle rupas. Yes, in the M.N. 43, Mahaavedallasutta there is a reference: the five sense organs depend on vitality, aayusankhaara. The Co explains elsewhere the term aayu as jiivitindriya. But we cannot expect the mentioning of all rupas in the Suttas. As to nutrition, this is well explained in the sammaa-ditthisutta: four kinds of nutrition and one is physical nutrition. They are ahaara-paccaya.

    H: On the other hand, perhaps it is a fact, and one that the Buddha knew, that there actually is no such thing, with its being a reality being a false presupposition involved there. It may well be that in talking to people of his period the Buddha often tolerated some of the common understandings of the time such as Mount Sumeru and life force for purposes of driving home certain points.

    N: When reading the above-mentioned suttas I do not think so. We have to study what points the Buddha wanted to explain in which sutta. In the Mahaavedallasutta the difference between someone in the stopping of perception and feeling and a dead person is shown. A corpse does not have life faculty as I said before. In the sammaditthisutta ahaara-paccaya is shown. The rupa nutrition that pervades the body, arising and falling away, conditions other rupas, it maintains them.

    As to the ten points mentioned by Bhante Samahita, I had not seen them
    before and I am also curious to know where they are explained.

    Nina.
     
  8. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

  9. darrellkitchen

    darrellkitchen Lifetime Supporter

    From: "Bhikkhu Samahita"
    Date: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:13 am
    Subject: False a priori assumptions hidden in the 10 Indeterminable Questions.


    OK here some of them come:

    A) Let's say you by mind could travel beyond the speed of light out there in the mighty space. Whether you hit or did not hit any sort of boundary: What could you conclude from that ??? Nothing!!! since there could always be something further out 'behind this' percieved boundary!
    B) As the 'ALL' and thereby also 'The Universe' really is nothing but a constructed perception & as such a kind of 'Internal' phenomena; What can you conclude from that ??? Nothing!!! since there could always be something further 'internal' hidden inside, behind & beyound the mere imaginary appearance of this perception!

    However long one wait to see by direct experience that the Universe is Eternal, one can never be absolutely sure that it will not end & stop even tomorrow!!! BUM FINALE hehehe ;-)

    If one perceive an 'End' like a 'BIG IMPLOSION', how can one ever know for sure that the Universe will not begin Again by a new 'BIG BANG... That is actually the case. A 'Harmonica' of expansion-implosion...;-)

    Since any observation, designation, definition, reference and way of speaking of phenomenon 'Vitality of Life' is connected to, and associated with phenomenon 'physical body' or more broader the 'Kaya=Group=5Khandas' one cannot ever make any separate observation of 'Vitality of Life' independent of & disassociated from 'Body' or 'Khandha Group'. This makes the distinction whether these phenomena are separate yet connected or a 'unified one' really impossible...

    All these suppose that there even BEFORE DEATH Actually Existed an 'unchanging same' & thus 'definable entity' behind the mere 'Name' "Well-Gone-One".. However, neither inside nor outside nor in between these 5 drifting clusters of clinging, continously changing have there ever existed, will there ever exist, nor do there exist now anything else that a transient flux, that never is fit to be designated 'Self' or anything else except for mere conventional labeling...

    For all 10 questions please check out Buddha's explanation in the 24th Ditthi-Samyutta SN III [202-224]. The grouped sayings on Views.


    PS: Most beings not having entered the stream & that includes animals as Goats cling to a view of stable same Self-I-Me-Mine-Ego-Soul.. Hehehe stuck there & coming back are beings for billions of eons!

    samahita : - ]
     

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice