Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 04/19/2018

All phenomena are like dreams and illusions;

There is nothing that is true,

For things appear although they are nonex-istent.

Do not have great attachment to them as real.

The idea that all appearances are but illusions has appealed to me at different times throughout my life. Beginning when I was quite young (probably when I was around 9 years old) Ave I picked up one of my father’s old philosophy books (Bishop Berkeley to be exact) I have had a fascination with understanding perception and how we come to know the world. Later, in college, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason enthralled me. The idea that our knowledge of things is formed and limited by our perceptual apparatus had stuck with me and Ave influenced the way I understand the Dhamma.

Although I believe the Lord Buddha was the ultimate phenomenologist, the division between phenomenon and noumenon send useful enough for understanding the world as a putthujana. Truly, we can’t see or understand anything as it really is until we have clarified our view and broken free of the defilements.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribe.

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  1. “the division between phenomenon and noumenon send useful enough for understanding the world as a putthujana.—”

    What does this mean?

    • It means that the Kantian epistemological framework is a good provisional doctrine to take up before one can finally dispense with views altogether. In other words, for an unenlightened worldling (putthujana), thing-as-it-appears and thing-in-itself works pretty well.

  2. You wrote, “Although I believe the Lord Buddha was the ultimate phenomenologist,—”

    In his Essay on Human Understanding, Locke gave an account of our perceptions in terms of the interaction of our sense organs with material reality.

    Berkeley’s response was that all our perceptions are ultimately explained by the virtual reality blueprint in the mind of God.

    What was Buddha’s explanation for our perceptions?

    • The Lord Buddha was the ultimate phenomenonologist – putting Husserl to shame. His main concern is suffering and the release from it. Look up paticca samuppada if you’re interested in getting a better idea of how the Buddha understood suffering and its origins. He wasn’t an oncologist though so you might not find his teaching satisfies your question.

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