Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 16:42:07 +0100
From: "peter.harvey" [email protected]
Subject: Causality and conceptsy
Williams writes: ‘Compassion would dictate the rights, and the rights would dictate compassion. Linear notions of cause and effect are incorrect’.
As regards abstract //concepts//, it is hard to believe that any Buddhist school sees these as //causing// each other: though they clearly are conditionally related, in the sense that the meaning of one concept is conceptually linked to the meaning of related concepts. As regards the actual //holding// of a concept by a particular person, this can be caused: by a cluster of conditions, some of which are simultaneous with that holding, and some of which exist prior to this. The view ‘Linear notions of cause and effect are incorrect’, for example, is a view with a history, and has arisen in a way which is conditioned by a number of factors, many of which preceded it historically. As a reading of Dependent Origination, it is one-sided. In Dependent Origination, conditioning factors may be linear or simultaneous: it depends. Birth precedes death, but consciousness can be simultaneous with the mind-and-body it conditions, and which condition it. To say that the relation of birth and death is non-linear because death (usually) leads on to (re)birth is only true at a relative level. ‘Birth’ and ‘death’ are not absolute ‘things’ which condition each other. Rather, a particular instance of birth conditions a (later) particular instance of death, which is then followed (later) by a particular instance of birth. This is still ‘linear’.
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 16:19:29 -0400
From: "williams" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Causality and conceptsy
I have little interest in schools of Buddhist thought. I have great interest in how well an idea has survived 2500 years of abuse. I’m really impressed with Gotima. He recognized and expressed something very difficult to follow well enough that I can recognize it two and a half millenia later. I shall not address myself to anything other than your example.
If there was no death then birth would have ended long ago. Death does in fact cause birth.
(BTW — Small portions of the web may be interpreted linearly. Doing so is only an approximation. Also, I do not believe in re-birth in the sense you seem to be alluding to.)