Saturday, August 9, 2014

Can Anything be Known?

Joel Rosenblum
June 29

Would it be accurate to say that nothing can ever said to be truly "known", or merely that nothing can be known with precision or accuracy? Seems to me that as things are self-aware and also empty of any inherent qualities, nothing can truly be known at all, except for "isness" which is perhaps indescribable to a great degree...?
And the thought arises which says, that the idea that things can be known is what keeps us in samsara?
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    Kyle Dixon Things can be known conventionally, and knowledge is usually presented in that context in the buddhadharma. The two main expressions of knowledge being valid and invalid cognition. An invalid cognition is knowledge of the relative, whereas a valid cogn...See More
    June 29 at 3:14pm · Unlike · 2
    Soh I love kalaka sutta because it deals precisely with your qn very well
    June 29 at 10:22pm · Like
    Soh AN 4.24 PTS: A ii 23
    Kalaka Sutta: At Kalaka's Park
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    © 2002
    On one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Saketa at Kalaka's park. There he addressed the monks: "Monks!"

    "Yes, lord," the monks responded.

    The Blessed One said: "Monks, whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That do I know. Whatever in the cosmos — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives & brahmans, their royalty & common people — is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after, pondered by the intellect: That I directly know. That has been realized by the Tathagata, but in the Tathagata[1] it has not been established.[2]

    "If I were to say, 'I don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a falsehood in me. If I were to say, 'I both know and don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be just the same. If I were to say, 'I neither know nor don't know whatever in the cosmos... is seen, heard, sensed, cognized... pondered by the intellect,' that would be a fault in me.

    "Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn't construe an [object as] seen. He doesn't construe an unseen. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-seen. He doesn't construe a seer.

    "When hearing...

    "When sensing...

    "When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.

    Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.

    "Whatever is seen or heard or sensed
    and fastened onto as true by others,
    One who is Such — among the self-fettered —
    wouldn't further claim to be true or even false.

    "Having seen well in advance that arrow
    where generations are fastened & hung
    — 'I know, I see, that's just how it is!' —
    there's nothing of the Tathagata fastened."
    Notes
    1.
    Reading tathagate with the Thai edition.
    2.
    I.e., the Tathagata hasn't taken a stance on it.
    See also: MN 2; MN 58; MN 63; MN 72; AN 10.93; AN 10.94; AN 10.95; AN 10.96; Ud 1.10; Ud 8.1.
    June 29 at 10:23pm · Like · 2
    Joel Rosenblum Interesting, so relative knowledge exists as long as no stance is taken.. it is hard to imagine that, since usually knowledge can be stated, but if there is no stance, I guess it could not be stated what is known exactly. For example, I can't say, "I know that humans exist." I can't say, "I know that I see the color blue." Yet knowledge of humans and the color blue are both awared..?
    June 29 at 10:29pm · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Consciousness, mind-&-body, the six senses, sense impression/contact, is fabricated.

    Knowing-in-terms-of-object (consciousness) is ignorance.

    Discerning, discriminating, separating the quality of clarity ("knowing") is knowing-in-terms-of-object.
    June 29 at 11:35pm · Edited · Like
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Another way to approach this is to see the silliness of a statement such as "I know that humans exist". None of those words have actual referents; they have the same level of reality as "the boogeyman".
    June 29 at 11:43pm · Edited · Like
    David Vardy In the context of appearing as humans we are featured pretending to be people, a 'work in progress' with dislikes and likes, morals, judgements, ambitions, fears, opinions, all the makings of becoming something which can never mesh with what's happening in the absence of that charade.
    June 30 at 2:27am · Like
    Justin Chapweske It helps to see that all cognition is simply models, not the "things" themselves. Neurons are pattern matching and pattern generating devices and as such, they must by definition throw away large amounts of details to match a pattern.
    June 30 at 4:15am · Like
    Soh Just found a text:

    Emmon asks, "The ordinary person has a body; he sees, hears, feels, and knows. The Buddha also has a body and sees, hears, feel, and knows. How then do they differ?"

    Master Nyuri answers, "The ordinary man sees with the eyes, hears with the ears, feels with the body, and knows with the heart. But this is not so with the Buddha. With him seeing is not seeing with the eyes, and knowing is not knowing with the heart. Why? Because it is beyond all limitations."

    Emmon: "Why then is it said in the scriptures that the Buddha neither sees, nor hears, nor feels, nor knows?"

    Nyuri: "The seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing of a buddha is not that of a common man. But that does not mean that for him the world of perceptions does not exist; it only means that it is not limited by pairs of opposites such as being and not being, having and not having -- and so is beyond all value judgements."

    Emmon: "Does the objective world that the common man perceives have a real existence?"

    Nyuri: "Not in reality, but it exists in delusion. Originally all is calm and quiet, but if mistakenly things are picked up and clung to, it at once turns into delusory existence."
    June 30 at 2:17pm · Like · 3
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Very good!
    June 30 at 2:20pm · Unlike · 1
    Soh ah wait sorry for spamming. i'll delete them and start another thread
    June 30 at 2:42pm · Like
    James O'Neill
    July 1 at 9:25am · Like

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