--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, TurquoiseB <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> 
> While what you say below about the "indeterminable questions"
> is true, Geoff, I have a very different theory as to why
> the Buddha chose to fit certain things into that category.
> It has nothing whatsoever to do with "category errors."
> It's because thinking about them is a total waste of time. 
> Nothing would be gained from knowing the answer. :-)  

Except that your argument seems to be that something would indeed be 
gained from knowing the answer - that it would tend towards a world 
view that avoided some of the negative aspects of the Hindu world 
view as you see them and supported some of the positive aspects of 
the Buddhist world view as you see them. :-)
> That said, you are welcome to your opinion as to what the
> Buddha said about whether the universe was ever created
> or not (which is the main point I'm homing in on, *not*
> whether it is eternal in the sense of lasting forever into
> the future). 

('Eternal' in this context means that the universe will last forever 
into the future AND that there never was a start to it.)

> I base my belief on what I have been told by 
> real, live teachers of Buddhism from several different 
> sects -- Japanese, Tibetan, and Chinese. All were agreed 
> on a cosmology in which there was never a start to creation.  
> That's the thing that I think most distinguishes the mythos
> of Buddhism from almost any other philosophy or study. It
> creates a very, very different set of assumptions than
> believing that there *was* a start to creation and that
> creation has flowed linearly since that start.
> Your mileage may vary...sounds as if it has. Believe 
> whatever you want. 


> I tend to believe the real-life teachers
> I've met and worked with. If you have heard differently from 
> the real-life teachers with whom you have personally studied 
> Buddhism, I'd love to hear who they were and what they thought 
> about this matter. 

I got interested in this initially on a course I did (actually I 
just sat in on the lectures :-)) at Columbia University, New York, 
that was run by a prominent Buddhist called Robert Thurman. As I 
remember it (I could be wrong though as it was a few years back) he 
took the category error view.

> If, on the other hand, you're just looking 
> for a pissing contest based on something you read on a website
> somewhere, look elsewhere.  :-)

I was looking for a discussion on the nature of the indeterminate 
questions rather than on the specific questions themselves. As you 
say, your view is that thinking about them is a total waste of time 
(this, apparently, is indeed a common view in Buddhist traditions). 

And yet you have obviously thought about this one at least and come 
to a specific conclusion. :-)


> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "coulsong2001" <geoff@> 
> wrote:
> >
> > In the below Barry says that "Buddhism believes that the 
> > universe is eternal, and that there has never been and 
> > will never be a moment in which the universe was not 
> > manifest and created." 
> > 
> > In fact, I've noticed (while lurking) that he quite often 
> > makes this assertion. But it's my impression that this is 
> > just plain wrong - Buddhism does NOT say this.
> > 
> > The question of whether the world is eternal or not eternal 
> > is one of the Buddha's 'ten indeterminate questions'. In 
> > fact, Buddhism says that 
> > 
> > - it is not true that world is eternal 
> > - it is not true that world is not eternal 
> > - it is not true that world is both eternal and not eternal 
> > - it is not true that world is neither eternal nor not eternal 
> > 
> > One interpretation (which is plausible to me) of why the 
> > Buddha called such questions 'indetermine', is that to give 
> > any answer to them (e.g. to the question "is the universe 
> > eternal") is to commit a category error.
> > 
> > Here is an example of an indeterminate question that is easy 
> > to spot as such: Suppose a fire which had been burning before 
> > you were to go out. If someone were to ask in which direction 
> > the fire had gone, north, south, east, or west, what would 
> > you reply?
> > 
> > I got this from this website: 
> > http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/avyaakata.html 
> > which has a nice discussion on these issues. 
> > 
> > Regards,
> > 
> > Geoff

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