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Introduction

Earlier I asked this question. I think that was too broad, and I hope this question is more answerable.

In Buddhism there exists two truths, often called the Conventional and Ultimate truths.

  1. The first truth refers to the physical state of things,

    The world is all that is the case. (Which is the first premise of Wittgenstein's Tractatus)

    Would be a loose and quick summery of such a truth, it is the Zen spirit of taking things as they are.

  2. The second truth is argued about by all the schools, each taking a position that is subtlety different in various ways. It has many forms and depending on the school of thought in question might be called other things besides ultimate truth.

    In Nagarjuna's own words:

    1. The teaching by the Buddhas of the dharma has recourse to two truths: The world-ensconced truth and the truth which is the highest sense.
    2. Those who do not know the distribution (vibhagam) of the two kinds of truth, Do not know the profound "point" (tattva) in the teaching of the Buddha.
    3. The highest sense of the truth is not taught apart from practical behavior, And without having understood the highest sense one cannot understand nirvana.

    Nagarjuna also opens the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā text with this gem

    Neither from itself nor from another, Nor from both, Nor without a cause, Does anything whatever, anywhere arise.

    What an opening, it has that Eastern philosophy riddle like feel to it. I want to quickly compare it to the hindu text Yoga Vasistha, sometimes called Vasistha's Yoga. Then we will quickly move on because an understanding of non-duality, emptiness, etc. is not required to ask the question that all of this is laying the foundation for...

    He who knows 'I am not', 'Nor does the other exist', "Nor is there non-existence', and whose mental activity has thus come to a standstill, is not engrossed in acquisitiveness. O Rama, there is no bondage here other than craving for acquisition, and the anxiety to avoid what one considers undesirable. Do not succumb to such anxiety, and do not let acquisition of what is considered desirable be your goal. Giving up both these attitudes, rest in what remains.

Question

So what of the magician, what of the philosopher, who in their shows and conversations might, either accidentally or intentionally, create flickers of doubt in the Conventional truth. Enough so that the spectators might consider for the first time the possibility of underlying truths, or revisit the thoughts if they had been considered prior.

For if someone were to hold the firm and scientifically correct view of the conventional truth, the thing that would hinder them from progress on the path would be knowledge of the ultimate truth. If they had never conceived of an Ultimate truth it could be the very thing that gets them investigating such a possibility.

So if a Magician, with parlor card tricks, slight of hand, and means of illusion and tricks, was to without malice and without swindling an audience, only for entertainment, or perhaps also the case where it was their means to a right livelihood to take care of their responsibilities. The only possible transgression I can see is lying. But the deception in such shows is not to harm, and those going want to see these feats of showmanship.

So if a magic trick led to the thought process of searching for ultimate truth, while not rejecting conventional truth, as is the stance of most schools of Buddhism, what kind of karma would that create?

I can see some edge cases where the wrong view of magic being real could be a possible down side, where causing another sentient being to chase this view would have some kind of possible repercussions.

But also the less likely and hypothetical situation that these questions could lead one, maybe through many lives, to studying emptiness and dependent origination, and to the perfection of the 6th paramita of wisdom.

In closing, a paragraph from A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher, Which provides commentary to the work of Patrul Rinpoche. The paragraph starts with the word "Here" and ends with the word "name."

  • Anything can give rise to good and bad consequences. One may treat another harshly yet the other may find an insight into human suffering there and choose to forgive the tormentor. Or, one may treat one kindly, and the recipient of the kindness may choose to hate. The active intentions matters. That said, I am having trouble differentiating this fine question from the previous one? – Buddho Jul 25 '15 at 20:30
  • @Buddho well you had trouble differentiating the previous one from the one you wanted to tag as a duplicate as well. I can assure you they are two very different, yet related, lines of thought. – hellyale Jul 25 '15 at 20:43
  • True, and I hope you realize my intention is not to censor or police, in my head the answers to all are fundamentally the same - intention and mind state matter. The Abhidhamma goes into a ridiculous amount of detail on this, see vipassanadhura.com/abhidhamma.html for a taste. – Buddho Jul 25 '15 at 20:56
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    Also watch youtu.be/maJXNAZAQT8 – Buddho Jul 26 '15 at 11:34
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    There's only one question mark in this long statement and it seems somewhat peripheral. Is there actually a question here? Are you looking for a critique of your interpretation of these ideas? – Jayarava Aug 22 '15 at 8:17
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Please edit. all are welcome .

This question is base on the previous asked question’s answer.
That question was Do artists/entertainers accumulate positive merit when people enjoy their craft?

The answer depends on the questioner’s 'world view'. If the person belongs to the ’normal world’ (Laymen life) the answer is YES. But if he considering the 'transcendental world' view then the answer is NO.

6.43 If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language. In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole. The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.( Tractatus)

SO the magician belongs to the lay world, But the philosopher is different. He may belong to the lay world or the transcendental world according to his wish.

The Conventional truths belong to the lay world and Ultimate truths are for the transcendental word. The merits and sins are related to the lay world. Comparing the transcendental world to merits and sins should be avoided. ("Pungna papa paheenassa.." or Avid merit and sin) ('Thalaputta sutta' should consider on this view.)

To get some idea about the normal world.

6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists—and if it did exist, it would have no value. If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case. For all that happens and is the case is accidental. What makes it non-accidental cannot lie within the world, since if it did it would itself be accidental. It must lie outside the world.( Tractatus)

For example take forest and trees paradox.
Is there a forest? Only trees.
Only trees are real , Forest is a construct of a viewer.

6.45 To view the world sub specie aeterni is to view it as a whole—a limited whole. Feeling the world as a limited whole—it is this that is mystical. (Tractatus)

So the forest is the ( limited) world. That is

Neither from itself nor from another, Nor from both, Nor without a cause, Does anything whatever, anywhere arise.

6.5 When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question be put into words. The riddle does not exist. If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it.

5.6 The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

5.61 Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits. So we cannot say in logic, 'The world has this in it, and this, but not that.' For that would appear to presuppose that we were excluding certain possibilities, and this cannot be the case, since it would require that logic should go beyond the limits of the world; for only in that way could it view those limits from the other side as well. We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either. (Tractatus)

Eastern philosophy riddle – In Yoga Vasistha,

“O sage, kindly enlighten me on this problem of liberation - which one of the two is conducive to liberation, work or knowledge?
Agastya replied:
Verily, birds are able to fly with their two wings; even so both work and knowledge together lead to the supreme goal of liberation.”

Here work means ethics, and knowledge is for wisdom about the reality. Both factors are essential for liberation.(Ultimate truth).

6.42 So too it is impossible for there to be propositions of ethics. Propositions can express nothing that is higher. 6.421 It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words. Ethics is transcendental. (Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.) (Tractatus)

So What is Ultimate Truth?

He who knows 'I am not', 'Nor does the other exist', "Nor is there non-existence', and whose mental activity has thus come to a standstill, is not engrossed in acquisitiveness. O Rama, there is no bondage here other than craving for acquisition, and the anxiety to avoid what one considers undesirable. Do not succumb to such anxiety, and do not let acquisition of what is considered desirable be your goal. Giving up both these attitudes, rest in what remains.

Some might say this contradicts with the Tractatus

• 5.621 The world and life are one.
•5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)

If you feel different then consider this, In the Tractatus
6.54 he states

My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.) He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright.

So now the question;

If a magic trick led to the thought process of searching for ultimate truth, while not rejecting conventional truth, as is the stance of most schools of Buddhism, what kind of karma would that create?

So the answer will be depend on the world.(regarding)

Your closing paragraph should be read in context with the paragraph before and after it. enter image description here

  • Pungna papa paheenassa.." Not sure what this means? English translation? – hellyale Sep 1 '15 at 16:08
  • Avid merit and sin (in lay man's view) in pali . this is some what referent in "Kusal" and "Akusal" in Pali. – Shrawaka Sep 1 '15 at 16:20
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It would create good karma. Why?

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From what I understand and in line with Buddho's comments above, the kind of karma created depends on the motivation of the magician or philosopher (at least as far as he/she is concerned).

A more complete understanding of conventional would help here I think. It is not limited to the physical, but consists of all appearances that make up our ordinary experience (whether taken as physical or mental). The sanskrit is saṃvṛtisatya, with a root meaning of something that 'covers' or 'conceals' truth (satya).

So by its very nature conventional truth always give us opportunities to recognize its delusive and obscuring qualities, simply through looking directly into it. Being misleading (generating the impression of reified subjects and objects from the experience of dependent origination) is simply the nature of conventional experience; and something's true nature will become more evident the more it is examined. Not only a magician, but a rainbow or your reflection in a pond can trigger insight by highlighting this pervasive quality of conventional truth. I'm not used to seeing philosophers added to the mix - but why not, unless the philosopher is teaching some intellectual viewpoint (like reductive materialism) that further obscures direct experience.

Thus, great teachers such as Āryadeva encourage us to contemplate various examples that highlight this pervasive quality of conventional reality:

Samsaric existence is the same as / A fire-brand wheel, an emanation, a dream, / An illusion, a moon in water, fog, / An interior echo, a mirage, a cloud”

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