This irregular “Dharma Questions” series deals with “dharma” meaning both the truth of the nature of reality and some Buddhist teachings. Please see this post on the intensions for questioning and not questioning. Amongst other things these questions can be, but not necessarily:
- thought experiments
- borderline musings not meant to be answered
- from laziness of not contemplating or researching them yet
- If all compounded things are not self, how and why is there a sense of agency? And how and why does our experience seem to be associated with body?
- Are there intents of/behind/to samsara? If not, why not? If so, how do these intents operate and how are they established, maintained and abolished?
- How do sankhārā [formations/mental formations/volitional formations] come from ignorance? What is the process?
- What would be the pros and cons of allowing A.I. translations of Buddhist texts/scriptures — for texts already translated and yet to be translated?
- Does the Pali cannon have anyone explicitly asking along the lines of, “how did you become a Buddha?” and/or “can I become a Buddha too? If so, how can I become a Buddha?”
- If consciousness does not arise [in the process of dependent origination — for example, during dreamless, unconscious sleep] do the links following consciousness cease (temporarily)? If so, without the six sense base consciousnesses (active), can mindfulness of breathing be known (without body-consciousness, sound-consciousnesses, etc)? If not, how can consciousness be optimized for (more continuous) mindfulness of breathing?
- Do alternatives to reality exist besides samsara/nirvana (here or elsewhere)? If not, why not and how is it known?
- Why are the aggregates five in number? Why aren’t two or more unified/combined? Why not just energy and consciousness as the first four — form, feeling, perception, formations/fabrications — are energy/energetic?
- How does Buddhism square with divinity? [No mention of an ultimate creator god/being with a set beginning — only that the Buddha could detect no discernible beginning or end to births/deaths/rebirths. But there’s also mention of the “divine eye”]
- Would there ever be incentive (both inside and outside Mahayana) to prevent (certain individual) beings from reaching full enlightenment? Why or why not? If so, how?
- Does/would the 100th monkey effect apply to saving/liberating/emancipating/awakening beings? Why or why not?
- What happened to the other early Buddhist schools besides Theravada?
- How does effort for vitakka wax & wane? How does vitakka turn into, or allow, or go along with vicāra?
- What are the root conditions of 1) mindfulness 2) any and all opposites of mindfulness 3) the fluctuations between these? What exactly is attending mindfully and how is this done? What is knowing?
- Could taṇhā also be interpreted as: unaware denial and lack of acknowledgment of how things actually are?
- There’s seems to be a partial sense of a certain amount of agency and non-agency in experience. How does this work? Why do some beings appear to exercise greater agency than others (within similar conditions)?
- To what extent can karma be investigated and studied without the danger of becoming insane by engaging in this imponderable?
- Are each of the eight factors of the noble eight fold path ultimately impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self?
- How did the deva who told Bāhiya he wasn’t anywhere near enlightenment know this? How did both the deva and Bāhiya know/find the location of the Buddha?
“Now, what is the food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor for awakening, or for the growth & increase of mindfulness as a factor for awakening once it has arisen? There are mental qualities that act as a foothold for mindfulness as a factor for awakening [well-purified virtue & views made straight]. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor for awakening, or for the growth & increase of mindfulness as a factor for awakening once it has arisen.Food (for the Factors for awakening)
Āhāra Sutta (SN 46:51)