December 29, 2019
December 06, 2019
|by elisa freschi|
While commenting on PMS 1.1.4, Veṅkaṭanātha makes a long digression aimed at refuting every kind of intellectual intuition, especially as a source for knowing dharma. Dharma, he explains, can only be known through the Veda.
People who claim to have directly perceived dharma are, by contrast, liars. This seems consistent in most cases, but may be problematic when it comes to the Veda, who are believed (by some) to have been composed by some ancient sages of the past, the ṛṣis. Veṅkaṭanātha explains that it is not the case that out of their austerities they gained the ability to directly perceive dharma, also because this would lead to a vicious circle, insofar as efficacious austerities would need to be based on the Veda. Thus, ṛṣis are not an exception to the rule.
This means that the ṛṣis did not compose the Vedas. How comes that they could teach them? Their teaching was based on the Vedas themselves (a Mīmāṃsaka would add: because time is beginningless). Veṅkaṭanātha expresses this point in the following: elisa freschi | December 5, 2019
November 24, 2019
In place of the conspiracy theories of classical metaphysics, Adam Miller, following Latour, proposes an experimental metaphysics. According to Miller, what is the cardinal sin of classical metaphysics? On the one hand, it is reductive. When we are in the grips of a theory, we believe we have mastered the phenomena. Our metaphysics is based on a distinction between appearance and reality, where appearances are the buzzing confusion of all things that exist in the world and reality is the finite set of principles or laws that both explain those phenomena and that are the grounds of the phenomena. Here I cannot resist a hackneyed reference to The Matrix. What is it that distinguishes Neo from everyone else? Unlike the rest of us that see only appearances-- the steak that we are eating, the clothing we are wearing, the car we're driving in, other people, etc --Neo sees the reality that governs the appearances. He sees the code that governs appearances. Neo is the Platonic hero par excellence. Where everyone else sees shadows on the cave wall taking them to be true reality, Neo has escaped the cave, seen the true reality, and now knows the combinatorial laws that govern all the appearances. It is this that allows him to perform such extraordinary feats, for like the scientist that has unlocked the secrets of nature, he can manipulate that code to his advantage.
This is the fantasy of classical metaphysics and is what Miller refers to as a conspiracy theory. The classical metaphysician believes he has unliked the code that governs the appearances and, for this reason, no longer has to attend to the appearances. Alfred Korzybski famously said "the map is not the territory". The classical metaphysician is like a person who gets a map and thinks that because they have a map they have mastered the territory; so much so that they don't have to consult the territory at all. In this instance, the map, the model, comes to replace the territory altogether. The map becomes the reality and the territory itself, such that the territory no longer enters the picture. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people often find philosophers so frustrating. We have our models, we have our metaphysics, and we debate back and forth about the finer points of these respective maps, yet the territory doesn't enter the picture. The map has become more real than the territory (isn't this what Lauruelle is diagnosing in his non-philosophy: the manner in which the philosophy posits its own reality).
I'll say a bit here about what you can expect to find. Some of the article goes over territory I've already covered on Love of All Wisdom and the IPB: I discuss Aśvaghoṣa's worries about severity, Śāntideva's rejection of external goods, the Cakkavatti Sīhanāda Sutta's detached attitude to time. The article does this in more detail than the blogs have, and I also show similar ideas in other suttas and jātakas and from Candrakīrti.
The article also responds more directly to existing engaged Buddhist scholarship. Engaged Buddhist scholars have, so far, been the people actually doing constructive Buddhist ethics. They are not merely describing what Buddhists happen to believe but prescribing a Buddhist way of life, and that much is something I think we need more of. What I don't think they do nearly enough is think about or respond to the points made by the likes of Śāntideva and Aśvaghoṣa. The article explains why they should.
So the article isn't itself a work of constructive Buddhist ethics; I'm not taking a position on engagement or disengagement there. What I am doing is reminding other people doing constructive Buddhist ethics about a large body of ideas that they ignore or silence, and urging them to take those ideas more seriously. My own constructive position on these questions is complicated. I've started to take some of it up on the blog – for example, I think there is some empirical confirmation for the Disengaged Buddhists' psychological claims. That isn't the whole story, though, and you can expect to hear more about my constructive views in the years to come. I am proud of the article as a starting point.
November 22, 2019
Our metaphysics is based on a distinction between appearance and reality, where appearances are the buzzing confusion of all things that exist in the world and reality is the finite set of principles or laws that both explain those phenomena and that are the grounds of the phenomena. Here I cannot resist a hackneyed reference to The Matrix. What is it that distinguishes Neo from everyone else? Unlike the rest of us that see only appearances– the steak that we are eating, the clothing we are wearing, the car we’re driving in, other people, etc –Neo sees the reality that governs the appearances. He sees the code that governs appearances. Neo is the Platonic hero par excellence. Where everyone else sees shadows on the cave wall taking them to be true reality, Neo has escaped the cave, seen the true reality, and now knows the combinatorial laws that govern all the appearances. It is this that allows him to perform such extraordinary feats, for like the scientist that has unlocked the secrets of nature, he can manipulate that code to his advantage.
After years of this sort of training in philosophy, literature, and cultural studies courses the student becomes convinced that their questions are the result of a failure to understand, their own insufficiency, rather than an insufficiency of the text. We Oedipalize our subjects. In Lacan’s dialectic of alienation and separation, they remain at the level of alienation in the big Other, believing that the big Other is without antagonisms, lack, incompleteness, and insufficiency– Deleuze and Lacan can never be wrong, and certainly not Hegel! –and they are therefore never able to move on to separation so that they might become subjects themselves. Such is the lesson of Lacan’s university discourse. The product of that discourse is an alienated subject, a subject trapped in the web of “knowledge” and a master-signifier, whether it be a figure (Lacan, Hegel, Deleuze, Spinoza, Kant, etc.) that is treated as the repository of complete knowledge such that they can never be wrong. A non-paranoid pedagogy would refuse the move of treating the text and figure as if it is always right, as if any question posed to the text is the result of a failure to understand.
October 30, 2019
September 05, 2019
August 26, 2019
Narad's Arrival at Madra. By RY Deshpande. Never read anything so focused on those 89 lines. Marvellous textual commentary! Absolute masterpiece!
Sir, I would like to humbly bring another view to the statement all knowledge is contained in the Veda..in a certain ultimate sense yes, for he knows the Brahman knows all, yet in the modern application of it or even in the discovery of a progressive ladder that leads there is...
..a work that has yet to be done..for at least the Rig Veda Samhita concerns itself with the bringing down the greater powers of Self into the evolving human..the latter aranyakas and brahmanas lay down the ritual applications and the why and whereof..and related speculations.
And yet the work done here is stupendous..the discovery of the RV Samhita itself is not fully understood..the great psychological complexity of it..unfathomable what beings the Rishis were..but we need to be clear about what Veda concerns itself with and its derivatives
I think, I have answered your curiosity here https://t.co/JrUlqHxVSx
Possibility is the most important word in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. Emergent Evolution as popularised by Bergson, Whitehead, or Morgan. The Mother added emphasis on the mind of the cells & their transformation
Any admirer of Sri Aurobindo has to go through a prolonged phase of exploring Homer, Heraclitus, Plotinus, Dante, Blake, Nietzsche, Fichte, Spencer, et al in order to develop an integral understanding of him. Those who suffer from West-phobia must shed their inferiority complex.
But before starting the work, the preparation work had to be done..
Recently, a propagandist article titled ‘Who killed Sanskrit’ was published in Deccan Herald by a certain Sumit Paul, who seems to have taught Persian and Sanskrit at Bhandarkar Oriental Research Insitute, Pune.
The article is completely one-sided and [not even] half-baked. 1/n
Read the inscriptions themselves carefully, not interpretations by joker secular historians with an agenda, they say no such thing, Ashoka says he became closer to the dharma after the war, this has falsely been extrapolated as conversion https://t.co/ld3cfE3pZm
Ashoka was already a Buddhist before the war, the trigger for his conversion was meeting the boy-monk who was the son of yhe rival prince he defeated to become Emperor, and even earlier as governor on Vidisha he already was in contact with the Sangha. https://t.co/rrh5UZdGCE