Metaphysics of Buddhism

In Buddhism, do they hold that there exists being above our ability to observe, either physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually?

I am aware that there are many different species of Buddhism and many different interpretations, or at least I would imagine it to be that way.

Thanks!

Jim,

Let me get back to you as soon as I can write out a response that goes into some detail on Buddhist thought. Buddhist rites, rituals and outer forms vary from culture to culture and can differ from one school to another, but the basic philosophy of the nature of physical existence is the same. Let me gather my thoughts.

I am not quite sure of the exact specificity of your question.

Do [Buddhists] hold there is “being” (onto-theological being?) above our sensory capacity?

Absolutely.

Buddhism, is really neither atheistic nor “theistic” (as we understand the term).

Our understanding of “theism” is influenced by Zoroastrian-influenced Judaism, and a certain “fideism” attached to the concept; and the world-views are subtle and difficult to compare in linearity…

The metaphysical ideology and attitude of Buddhism is paradoxical, yet not irreverent.

Buddhism nowhere DENIES the existence of a supreme personality of God; the DENIAL is only of subordinate, cartoon-like versions thereof; yet to the theistic inquirer, simply questions the inquirer of speculative theoretical dogma of the supreme personality of the Godhead,

“You are ready to comprehend the supreme Godhead, when you cannot even stop sacrificing animals to lower terrestrial demonic idols in unrighteousness, serving in baseness your animal faculties and organs of corporeality as little godlets, participating in ignoble fornication so bestial, etc., for even ONE day? Yet you really are ready for knowledge of the ineffable Divinity? Really?..”

So, in truth, if you really dig (as I have), there is a very rarefied, esoteric kind of transcendental, idealist supernatural monotheism concealed within Buddhism; yet the metaphysical method is purely APOPHATIC…

But the “negative way” is not condemned in our own Faith, if understood rightly. Just to randomly cite one early Church theological master, here is Clement:

newadvent.org/fathers/02105.htm

“This discourse respecting God is most difficult to handle. For since the first principle of everything is difficult to find out, the absolutely first and oldest principle, which is the cause of all other things being and having been, is difficult to exhibit. For how can that be expressed which is neither genus, nor difference, nor species, nor individual, nor number; nay more, is neither an event, nor that to which an event happens? No one can rightly express Him wholly. For on account of His greatness He is ranked as the All, and is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of Him. For the One is indivisible; wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to inscrutability, but with reference to its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it is without form and name. And if we name it, we do not do so properly, terming it either the One, or the Good, or Mind, or Absolute Being, or Father, or God, or Creator, or Lord. We speak not as supplying His name; but for want, we use good names, in order that the mind may have these as points of support, so as not to err in other respects. For each one by itself does not express God; but all together are indicative of the power of the Omnipotent. For predicates are expressed either from what belongs to things themselves, or from their mutual relation. But none of these are admissible in reference to God. Nor any more is He apprehended by the science of demonstration. For it depends on primary and better known principles. But there is nothing antecedent to the Unbegotten.”

Now is Clement an agnostic atheist or pantheist?

And Christian scholars, inept of the (legitimate) tradition of apophatic “negative theology” within their own religion, took a few translated verses, stripped of relational context, and proclaimed, “Agnosticism, atheism, pantheism!” No such simplicity…

Absurd? Learn Pali, and read. There is no other way. Translations in English are currently weak, even today. Seriously. The only way I learned is by learning Pali and Sanskrit, and studying the earliest of their texts…

There are differences in ontological and metaphysical belief, surely. But the simplified popular misunderstandings just cloud our minds here…

If you are serious: Do not study anything but the original canon in Pali, or Sanskrit. Modern interpreters have distorted everything.

Nirvana, supposedly, affirms Schopenhauerian pessimism of “acosmic rejection”, passive quietism of mere nothingness. Not really…

Nirvana means NIR (NON) VANA (“MANIA”): an apophatic designation of extinction of concupiscent mania or fleshly mentality, equivalent to contemplative perfection of noblest degree…

(I don’t claim perfection here; nor am I “apologizing” for Buddhism, as all wisdom-traditions are subordinate, hierarchically, to, as river to ocean, and find their fulfillment, in Christ. I simply am sort of saying, “Let’s be careful before we toss around the terms ‘atheist’, ‘agnostic’, ‘pantheist’ here…”)

Asking if Buddhism is theistic or atheistic is like asking if math is theistic or atheistic, or if car mechanics all believe in God. One can be a theist auto mechanic or an atheist car mechanic. One’s beliefs about God have nothing to do with carburetors.

I am the OP.

I did not use any term about god, gods or God.

I am curious as to whether Buddhism teaches that there is being that we cannot access.

It is like Kant thinking, there is being that we cannot sense or reach with out senses or understanding. Also from Schopenhauer and his ideas.

THANKS!

From a philosophy of science–I would think that the physical laws are of the noumenal world. So, if one is curious about my curiosity, there it is.

THANKS!

I really do want to hear about Buddhism’s metaphysics if there is space on this thread.

THANKS!

The question, “whether Buddhism teaches that there is being that we cannot access”, is simply too general and imprecise to answer perfectly, Sir. I mean no disrespect, but you must ask your question in a more crystalline and starkly clear manner.

Your question could have zillions of answers, but the confused nature of your question would give you no answer in these zillions of ready-made answer… Please, Sir, nothing personal, I beg you to understand…

You refer to Kant and Schopenhauer, and the transcendental-idealist affirmation of the super-sensible and “noumenal” realm…

If you are asking if Buddhism accepts the super-sensible “noumenal” realm, the answer is indisputably, AFFIRMATIVE.

Buddhism itself can be understood as a form of transcendentalist Idealism, but more sophisticated than Kantian Idealism actually, philosophically.

Is that what you are asking?

I don’t know what you mean by the laws of physics and the interrelation with the noumenal dimension.

Buddhism would understand all laws of physics, relating to the present cosmos, as partaking of samsara

The laws of physics, in any transcendentalist idealist world-view, simply are irrelevant to what is actually reality: as Sir Arthur Eddington said, pretending the symbolic shadow-symbols of physical equations lead us to reality with capital R, Reality, is akin to the kitten who *“run[s] round and round…chasing its tail…never reach[ing] the ‘world-stuff’ at all.” *

Kant understood the noumenal realm as the supernatural, metaphysically-necessary “kingdom of grace” transcending the necessity-bound laws of physics and allowing us nexus of connection with God through the moral conscience, an enigmatic mystery allowing us freedom of will…the choice of choosing evil or good…in a deterministic universe. Kant actually believed by his repudiation of all empirically-modulated dogma, he was serving God and serving religion. Kant believed if, as contemporary theologians do, we erect theology on the lower sensory realm and its forms of “proof”, we ill-serve the Godhead, Whose existence our intellects cannot fully comprehend except as the the mystical interior legislator of all moral intelligibility. Kant postulated the vestigial sense of God we can find in the moral sense and moral faculty (cf. Pauline “natural law” of Romans, the God-implanted conscience residing within all humankind)… The conscience is the mystical Kantian “bridge” to the “over-world” of Divine Grace (Kant knew Swedenborg and Leibnitz)…and that is why Kant believed his works on moral and practical moral judgment to be the most meaningful…

Schopenhauer modified the Kantian understanding and reformulated Idealist metaphysics into a less refined version, strongly emphasizing Hinduism, Platonism, and a certainly harsh form of anti-Judaism and rejection of Judaic theology, nevertheless affirmative of Christ, as liberator of humankind from Jewish theology of worldly messianic delusion, the restorer of the primordial Aryan-Hindu mysticism of self-conquest… Schopenhauer affirms Christ, but Christ not as we know Christ… His religious philosophy is complex, to say the least.

The redeeming value in Schopenhauer is his MORAL DOCTRINE of compassion-based self-effacement in rebellion against the egoistic principle haunting the human subject internally… Thus, if you study Schopenhauer deeply, ironically, you shall see how he praises the tradition of deep-level theological mysticism of the Middle Ages, constantly speaks in favor supernatural Catholic teaching against the “Pelagian” stupidity of commonplace Protestantism, and claims religion and philosophy do not conflict except at the external level: religion is the positive “folk-metaphysics” of the masses, in the language the intellect of the majority can intuit religious mysteries; and pure metaphysics of religious language, properly understand, is simply pure-grade philosophy. So Schopenhauer is a complicated figure… He denies religion as he affirms religion; he denies the Jewish God (thus his popular reputation as “atheist”) as he positively affirms Christ, the mystical, meta-cosmic God of Christ; rages against “Pelagian, Judaized Christianity” yet asserts the supreme value of Catholic Christianity and the manly realism of its doctrine of “original sin”; praises the metaphysically-heavy mystics of Christianity of medieval times, and refers to the “transcendental change” of the heart produced by Christian metanoia in practically soteriological terms… Total paradoxical complexity!

Anyhow: Buddhist metaphysics. Possibly only rival to Christianity in depth of intellectual culture.

I actually learned Indo-Aryan languages in order to solve the question you pose, and still have no definitive answer.

Buddhist “ontological theology” simply has no name in the English language I know of actually useful in understanding.

What I can affirm, after studying the Pali canon, is that nothing morally unwholesome is promulgated, nothing anti-Christian in terms of moral theology. The morals of original Buddhism are utterly pure. Systematically, 1) all drugs and intoxicants, and the trafficking thereof, are outlawed, 2) all unchaste sexual misconduct (unnatural relations within marriage even–no compromising here) outlawed, 3) bearing false witness outlawed, 4) homicide absolutely outlawed as the self-destruction of one’s own soul, and 5) larceny, whatever form, either outright robbery or usury, thoroughly forbidden. The original Buddhist morality is untouchable.

Philosophically, Buddhism, in American terms, is the the polar opposite of Lockean empiricist sensualist materialism: in American terms, morally anti-nihilist, a form of moral objective realism. For the American mind, I suppose, something like Kantian-Coleridgean transcendentalist idealism and its morality of anti-utilitarianism is not without comparative value.

In medieval terms, “Ghibelline” in its *Kshatriya * aspect of warrior rebellion against superstitious priestliness, the Temple sacrificial blood-rites necessitating endless butchery of animals.

Mahavira and Buddha, in their own way, realized the Christian intuition: I desire mercy and a contrite heart (cardiognosis, penthos), the moral regeneration your ritualistic Temple-sacrifices are nothing but a symbolic shadow of…; your sacrifices of beasts, with hearts unchanged, are nothing but appalling…

Ethnologically, the fact of the Buddha’s heritage as an Aryan, Indo-European prince is not without significance. The Saka tribe he descended from, as “Sage of the Sakya” (Sakyamuni) is the Eastern offshoot of the same Indo-European nucleus of peoples, out of which the Scythian groups of paleo-Iranian origin, gradually evolved into the ancestors of all modern Germanic and Celtic Western ethnicity. Saka/Sakya is merely another word Scythe, Scythia, Scythian, Cimmerian (etc.)–the Pali canon describes the Buddha as blue-eyed and moon-like of aspect. The founder of Jainism was likewise an Indo-Aryan Kshatriya opposed to sacerdotal ritualism. I am not being “racist”, these are simply relevant facts.

The *Dhamma * (Pali) is essentially a form of metaphysics transcending the dichotomy of “religion” and “philosophy” the Western tradition has developed as a form of intellectual corrosion. I honestly apologize in failing to know English verbiage befitting Buddhist metaphysics. The non-linearity of the subject constrains my intellect.

What I can further state: the original Pali canon is the authentic Buddhist “ontological metaphysical philosophy.” Extraneous developments of later history, e.g., so-called “Vajrayana” Tantra , etc., represent nothing but mutilation and manipulative appropriation of authentic Buddhism.

Foul Tantra of Vajrayana took the subtle Madhyamika doctrine, and vulgarized its meaning, as to imply, the absolute identity of samsara and nirvana, resulting in antinomian moral iconoclasm and subversive moral nihilism, Indo-Tibetan primeval demonology and degenerate Shaktism of pre-Aryan, pre-Vedic matriarchal phallic worship, re-asserting itself and usurping all: here is where Buddhism died, the Mahayana ideology of “liberalism” critically self-dissolved, and another creature appeared…its lowest form, vamachara, lit., “Left-Hand Path” heterodoxy (an arrow of Satan in the West today, in the form of Crowley’s irregular O.T.O., etc., diverse resurgent expressions of Gnostic Libertine Satanist madness)…Buddhist Tantra is comparable to the heresies of Gnostic-Libertine character mutilating incipient Christianity, such as the Sethian, Carpocratian, Ophite, etc. cults of perversion. Tantra is morally sickly, a form of moral inversion having nothing to do with original Aryan Buddhism. I hope we can keep this in mind.

Please excuse me for my failure to answer your question. Your question is very heavy, Sir.

In Buddhist terms your question is irrelevant because you use the word “being”. There are many living beings; some we know about, some we do not. That is not relevant to Buddhism.

To avoid all evil,
to cultivate good,
and to cleanse one’s mind -
this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

– Dhammapada 14:5

Buddhism is far more about what you do than what you believe. It is an orthopraxy, not an orthodoxy.

Buddhism has nirvana, which is accessible to all living beings:

There is, monks, an unborn, an unbecome, an unmade, an unconditioned. If there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, no escape would be possible from the born, become, made, conditioned. But precisely because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, escape from the born, become, made, conditioned is possible.

– Udana 8.3

Nirvana is a state, not a being. It is attainable here and now. The Buddha attained nirvana when he attained enlightenment at age 35. He died at age 80. For 45 years he wandered round North India preaching, while also in nirvana.

I am aware that there are many different species of Buddhism and many different interpretations, or at least I would imagine it to be that way.

You are correct. There are very many different schools of Buddhism.

rossum

Vajrayana vamachara is a dehumanizing, inverted heresy deserving of extirpation, a mark of vile shame and defamation upon Buddhism.

I have personally witnessed the “left hand path” Tantra perverts “practice” their “religion.”

This is nothing but an infra-human, subhuman cult of ritualistic sodomy devolving the human mind into apedom.

The Vamachara an-ariya, these soulless demonalators, are a stain of dishonor upon Buddhism and all human religion, and civil authority should simply extirpate them by the sword after the manner of wiping out the Thugs.

That is not the solution that the Buddha would suggest.

rossum

Shachath and rossum

I cannot thank both of you enough for the helpful information.

Yes! my question was addressed even if I used incorrect terms.

If there are other ideas, I will read and study them.

THANKS!!!

I can only answer from the Theravadin perspective, as the various Mahayana sects have many different opinions that I would only misrepresent if I tried to explain them, but here goes.

I assume you are asking whether Buddhism teaches that there is a transcendent reality beyond all human comprehension. If you meant something else, then I’ll answer you again. Theravada Buddhism affirms that there is a reality that is transcendent, eternal, and unconditioned. It is called Nibbana (Nirvana is the Sanskrit form of that word that is more commonly recognized by most people.)

However, although Nibbana is transcendent, it is not something incomprehensible, as a human being is able to directly experience Nibbana in this very lifetime, so it can be understood.

Bakmoon

Yes!

That is the type of knowledge that I wanted.

I did not ask if clearly, but you gave me, as did the others, that I wanted.

THANKS!!!

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