[Buddha-l] Speaking of simple minds

Rob Hogendoorn r.m.hogendoorn at umail.leidenuniv.nl
Fri Aug 5 09:49:17 MDT 2005

Well, to quote Matthieu Ricard himself: "In terms of absolute truth,  
there's no creation, no duration, and no end" (p. 29). Further: "All  
religions and philosophies have become unstuck on the problem of  
creation. Science has gotten rid of it by removing God the creator,  
who had become unnecessary. Buddhism has done so by eliminating the  
very idea of a beginning." (p. 31) And then "We [Buddhists, RH]  
aren't just talking about matter when we depict the universe as a  
series of metamorphoses without a beginning. Consciousness has no  
start, either. (...) The problem of the lack of any first cause for  
phenomena and consciousness falls into the category of what Buddhism  
calls the "inconceivable." But we need not stand in dumb  
incomprehension in front of such mysteries unsolvable by the  
intellect. Certain things simply cannot be grasped using ordinary  
concepts. The idea of a beginning is "inconceivable" not because it  
would be so long ago or far off in space, but because our discursive  
minds cannot stand back from that process of beginning in a way that  
is needed to transcend all concepts. Our ordinary way of thinking  
emerged from that same process and thus it can't place itself  
"outside" the chain of causes and so determine its own origin" (p. 
35), after which an entire chapter "In search of the great  
watchmaker: Is there a principle of organization?" begins.

So, to answer your question: Conceivably, Ricard would agree that our  
ordinarily way of thinking does allow us to coherently speak of  
'creation', 'creator' or 'principle of organization', as long as one  
doing so does not presuppose any notion of a prime cause. I suppose  
Ricard would ask you back: what created or creates the karma- 
motivation-action organizing principle that creates a deluded creator  
of deluded experience?

Take care,


Op 5-aug-2005, om 6:56 heeft Tom Troughton het volgende geschreven:

> On Thu, 4 Aug 2005 21:53:09 +0200, Rob Hogendoorn wrote:
>> There are some extensive discussions on this theme in Matthieu
>> Ricard's and Trinh Xuan Thuan's "The Quantum and the Lotus : A
>> Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet" (ISBN
>> 1400080797) as well. Matthieu holds forth on some Buddhist arguments
>> against any type of creator, creative or organizing principle in many
>> places.
> Are you saying that Ricard argues that the Buddhist idea of karma and
> motivation as the principle condition of action leading to deluded
> experience is not a creative or organising principle, and the agent
> performing such actions is not the creator of such experience?
> -- 
> Best wishes
> Tom Troughton
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