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What is the orthodox position or the sutta's position about the knowledge of reality itself, beyond any intervention of subjective factors?

In science, when we find evidence that proves some hypothesis, we cannot say that we've found the truth behind the studied phenomenon. We can only say that, until this point, the hypothesis works and it's useful to explain that phenomenon, and that, until refuted, we can use that hypothesis as a provisional working hypothesis, which is subject to eventual modification. In sum, science help us to find the most useful ideas to use in our lives.

Does this apply to Dhamma as well?

Evidence, (no matter how much evidence, whether theoretical or experiencial) is not enough to posit that the truth has been reached without any posible future refutation.

Let me ask this with an example:

We can say that the khandhas are not the self, but does that imply that there is not self at all? How can we reach that conclusion without any doubts?

Isn't better to simply say that we cannot know, and that it shouldn't matter at all? After all, if something is beyond the realm of experience, we shouldn't be able to say anything about it.

EDIT: a few more details...

Is Buddhism concerned with ontology (how and what thinfs are by themselves, and not only how we humans perceive them), epistemology (the possiblity of knowing things about reality itself, objectively) or pragmatism (to use whatever seem to work for some specific end)? Is it concerned with all of them, some of them, or none of them?

Pragmatism, for example, doesn't deny the possibility of knowledge, and technology and scientific progress seem to be evidence for that. The problem lies in assuming that this -unknown- degree of certainty is somehow the same as the truth (or the expression of all possible definition or information about a phenomenon). If we arrive to the truth, how could we know? Because of a certain X amount of evidence? How much evidence is indication of reaching the truth?

Or in other words, is enlightenment enough and definitive proof of having reached the truth about reality itself? Does it even matter if it works?

After all, some physicist, in the 19th century, thought that there only a few stuff left to be known about reality, because apparently, there was no important evidence to suggest or indicate that the current theories and hypothesis were wrong nor incomplete.

Thanks for your time and patience!

Kind regards!

  • This question is way too complex to be summarized in one written answer; there are too many nuances. And even knowing that, you took the challenge, and gave wonderful answers. I'm so grateful! If I could pick more than one, I'd do it. I didn't choose the "truest" one, but the one that resonated the most to me, in my current limited knowledge. Anyway, all of these made me think and notice a lot of things, so I believe the purpose is fulfilled. Kind regards, and may all of you have wonderful lives! – Brian Díaz Flores Jun 22 at 16:45
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Enlightenment can be compared to knowing the mathematical limit of a function. You don't have to literally know all values to understand that a function approaches zero at infinity. Something like this.

"Knowing the limit" has practical implications to how you deal with the specifics of what you encounter day to day.

When you see the principle, you see what's possible, what's impossible, and what matters - in broad terms.

All this pertains to one aspect: the workings of mind, which determine the character of experience, which determines ethics (what to do, what not to do).

Once you understand the workings of mind, you understand what actions lead to what results, at large. You understand the value, or the currency the mind deals in, and the limit of the value. Understanding the limit of the value, you are off the hook for chasing after the value, hence personal liberation.

We don't care about other aspects of reality that much, those are domains of other sciences. We care about what matters to sentient beings: what's good, what's bad, what to do, what not to do, and why.

Dharma is Ethics, but it is Ethics grounded in the objective physics of mind (semiotics?). In every individual case we learn the ethics and the physics of mind by working with our own life and mind, on personal practice.

In Buddhism we don't normally build hypotheses, because the theory (Dharma) already exists for us. Our job is to study our observable personal reality, paying attention to Ethics and Mind, and see the real life examples of principles that Dharma talks about, then realize practical implications of these principles.

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The Dhamma has nothing to with science indeed. The dhamma is more about the usual ''seeing vedana, sanna, vinnana, rupa, sankharas, phassa and so on as they really are'' more than truth, but it is not really incorrect to say that this is the truth.

Science has nothing to do with truth, not really even about knowledge, at best only about statistics about a population. People who know nothing about science, yet claim to have ''scientific minds'' love to fantasize some knowledge or truth from those stats but stats are just stats. The stuff about evidence or proof is the usual failed moronic trick invented by rationalists to build a way to share knowledge. The best they invented is maths and even in maths there is plenty of lack of consensus.

rationalists prefer to cling to their ideas of truth as something going beyond opinions, but all they have is really lots of diverse options so as a last resort, they try to salvage their endeavor as ''truth will be a consensus of opinions of humans being experts in field'' (this stuff about experts is really invented by the secular humanists, which they use in their ''court of law'', who love to think that non experts cannot possibly make sense about a topic they have not studied)

Scientists are rationalist who try to pass as empiricists, with their oxymoron of ''empirical proof'' and ''thought experiment''. They try to pass their speculations as ''what really happens'' but like you said they revise their claims pretty much decades after decades and they admit they they have no idea how to reach claim which will ''not change''. Even worse, they say that they do not care about a claim which do not change and that finding such a claim is useless in their daily life (puthujjanas are obsessed with uselessness, especially the humanists rationalists).

The major problem of the rationalists (secular or not) is that they fail to see that their ideas, or their explanations or ''useful ideas'' like you say, is that ideas are subject to vedanna and what they call explanation is nothing but ''ideas that I like'', but those people do not say ''ideas that I like'' but ''ideas which make sense''. For those people ''making sense'' means ''pleasing'' like in the 5 usual senses, and they have to remove the ''I'' of ''I like'' because they see explanations as supposed to be universal and communicable and ''''objective'' (which is a meaningless word they invented meaning ''non-subjective'', ie ''not subject to personal biases like emotions'' rationalists hate emotions and cling to their fantasy of a puthujjana having knowledge separate from vedana). but due to the infatuations of the rationalists with ideas, they seeideas are special and so they do not see that ideas are just like ''objects'' of the other senses.

for this part ''How can we reach that conclusion without any doubts?'' well that is easy, when papanca is not here, all those meaningless questions about ''is there a self outside the aggregates'' and ''what is there beyond the aggregates'',, or more generally, about creator, creation, genesis, generating something will disappear precisely because nothing will be generated or created, not even the fantasy of creation, and it is only by papanca that people build the fantasy of a creator.

This topic of knowledge not tied to vedana or sanna is really a difficulty for the rationalists, even for the people who claim to care about the dhamma.

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As you said, one of the questions which science asks is, "Is this a useful model?"

There's a topic on his site, How is it wrong to believe that a self exists, or that it doesn't?

I think it implies that "There is a self" and "There isn't a self" are both problematic models -- for example:

  • If there is a self then what/where is it, is it constant, is it controllable, is it even really yours?
  • Or if there isn't a self then "where did this anger come from"?

But there are two quotes from the suttas that I find definitive on the subject, one is from MN 22:

  1. "You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[27] from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair."

Another is from MN 2 (see "A Thicket of Views" on this page).

A thicket of wrong views

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person... does not discern what ideas are fit for attention, or what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas fit for attention, and attends instead to ideas unfit for attention... This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones... discerns what ideas are fit for attention, and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention, and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention... He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices."

And perhaps "I exist" and "I don't exist" are both examples of "a self-view".

Anyway, perhaps later Buddhists became metaphysical and asked whether things "really" exist. But I think that the early suttas emphasise that perception is phenomenal e.g. by contact with sense-organs and sense-consciousness, and that how we react to (or how we feel about) those perceptions matters.

There's a "name-and-form" category among the earlier of 12 nidanas but I don't think that's analysed in detail. I find it curious that "name" is included with "form" -- perhaps that implies that it too is mind-made.

I think that Buddhism talks more about what's socially appropriate and/or liberating.

I think the Parable of Arrow implies some impatience with metaphysical questions.

Even modern medicine, though it's also interested in why or how a medicine works, is especially interested in whether it works -- to that extent, science isn't only an "explanation".

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Buddha's Dhamma and the Reality is one thing. Why we are facing problems in this world? And why we are running after different things?

It is because we haven't understood the reality of the world.

Different people run after different things (Youngers -> Money, Politicians -> Power, Who-does't-have-water-to-drink -> Water, Mother -> Children, Students -> Knowledge, etc...) They all has one thing in their mind, that is they will get satisfied after they achieved their goal. If you ask from an old person has he/she achieved their goals, they will replying saying Yes, But then if you ask them whether they are Satisfied. They will think twice to answer. Because What they really ran after was, Satisfaction, or Ultimate Satisfaction But they couldn't find the ultimate satisfaction on any of their goals.

(Note: If you are ultimately satisfied of something you don't want to do it any more and you should have the happiness in your mind about it. Isn't it?)

Why? Why they couldn't get satisfied? Because They don't know where they should look for ultimate satisfaction which gives them the ultimate happiness. Then where's that place which will make someone happy forever. Which will make someone stress-free, suffer-free.

Buddha's teaching is to teach us where that ultimate satisfaction / happiness is. If you understand the problem of the world, which I mentioned above, according to the science you will identify there's a problem. And If you follow the path of Buddha you will see that how it can be solved. Basically when you are following the path you will see why we are not satisfied with this world and what's the reason for that. And how the ultimate happiness feels like.

If I answer to the example you gave;

We can say that the khandhas are not the self, but does that imply that there is not self at all? How can we reach that conclusion without any doubts?

You can't reach there because that's not the correct Dhamma. In Canon, Cūḷavedalla Sutta Sakkaya is defined as below. (Please replace the word identity with Sakkaya and read the below) And you will understand that Sakkaya has nothing to do with Self or Identity. These translations doesn't give the exact meaning of Buddha's teaching.

“Ma’am, they speak of this thing called identity. What is this identity that the Buddha spoke of?”

“Visākha, the Buddha said that these five grasping aggregates are identity. That is: form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness. The Buddha said that these five grasping aggregates are identity.”

So instead of trying to conclude with there is not self at all Find Buddha's meaning of Sakkaya Ditti. Because that's the entrance to Buddha's Dhamma.

Update - 1 Based on the comment below part is added. It's hard to say Yes, No as Buddhism is towards the Nivana = Englightment.

  • Epistemology (Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief.) : Yes, Buddhism concerned about this. Because We don't understand the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief that's why we are in suffering. The Buddha studied this and understand the nature of how we think towards above factors, and that made him realized the root cause for this Sansara journey.
  • Ontology (Ontology is the philosophical study of being) : Buddhism explains the existence of the world, the reality of the world, and how beings are related. The main thing Buddhism focus is the reality of the world. While getting there how things are related to each other and how/why that exist are also get explained.
  • Pragmatism (An approach that evaluates theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application) : In the path to Nivana he / she can evaluate which makes him/her success. Because how Buddha has advised is it's up to us to follow the path getting advises from the teacher which is Dhamma not a person.
  • Hi! Thanks for your answer. My question was a philosophical one, rather than practical. I wanted to know whether buddhism is concerned with epistemology, ontology, pragmatism, all of them, some of them, or none of them. Kind regards! – Brian Díaz Flores Jun 19 at 9:34
  • @BrianDíazFlores Updated the answer. – follower Jun 19 at 10:10
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    Pragmatism, Upasaka. – Samana Johann Jun 19 at 10:20
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Householder Brian Díaz Flores, interested,

pragmatical but not for entertaining sake, so maybe again not of desires to construct and grasp:

In Simple Terms:

"...The Dhamma is just like this, talking in similes, because the Dhamma doesn't have anything. It isn't round, doesn't have any corners. There's no way to get acquainted with it except through comparisons like this. If you understand this, you understand the Dhamma.

"Don't think that the Dhamma lies far away from you. It lies right with you; it's about you. Take a look. One minute happy, the next minute sad, satisfied, then angry at this person, hating that person: It's all Dhamma..."

...your reality, a unsatisfied one.

As for your real home:

Your external home (senses and there objects) isn't your real home.

It's your supposed home, your home in the world.

As for your real home, that's peace.

The Buddha has us build our own home

by letting go till we reach peace, (reality).

Now are you willing to let go to see and know the different? You aren't, and so stay insatifacted, grasping this, losing that.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks or entertaining with perception but to use for merits, as merits, toward liberation from this wheel: reality)

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The OP asks in a comment - Is Buddhism concerned with epistemology, ontology, pragmatism, all of them, some of them, or none of them?

Buddhism is concerned with Reality, Truth and Knowledge. It is not concerned with speculations and hypotheses. It's concern with theories is didactic, not exploratory. That is, a theory such as the theory of emptiness is formulated as an explanation, not as a speculative theory to be judged by its usefulness, plausibility, explanatory power and so on. It is simply a way of explaining the facts.

These facts cannot be established by logic or sensory empiricism. They can only be know directly and its every man for himself (or woman, or LGBT variation). The ending of ignorance requires the transcendence of subjective factors of which you speak.

It's really quite annoying that the truths one learns cannot be shown to anyone else. One can report then or present them within a theory, but nobody else can be sure you're not simply speculating.

Epistemology and ontology are both thoroughly dealt with by Buddhist teachings. In the final analysis they are the same thing, and if you look around you'll find many sages proposing that 'knowing' is fundamental. If we treat this as a speculative idea then we can test it in logic and it passes the tests. Meanwhile Russell's tradition expresses utter bewilderment at the question of how we know anything and what anything actually is.

Pragmatism is a tricky one. The teachings tell us that the genuine nature of Reality cannot be conceptualised or described in words so perhaps Buddhism is Pragmatism par excellence. But the Pragmatists usually claim that this means no certain knowledge of Reality is possible, while Buddhism claims that it is possible to know that Reality is beyond conceptual fabrication. Thus, as with so many 'isms', Buddhism is like Pragmatism in certain respects but is really very different.

  • "Buddha-dhamma is like Pragmatism in certain respects but is really very different.", in regard of what? The aim? And that the pragmatism is laid out firm for it's aim? Upasaka Peter? – Samana Johann Jun 19 at 11:26
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    @SamanaJohann - I think I explain this above. Pragmatism denies the possibility of expressing truth in language and uses practical usefulness as a measure of truth. Buddhism agrees that language and concepts are not enough to capture or describe truth, but unlike Pragmatism does not deny truth or the possibility of knowledge. So they share some superficial features but are very different. Or so it seems to me. . – PeterJ Jun 19 at 11:37
  • Hi Peter! Thanks for this wonderful answer! As far as I know, pragmatism (at least according to Peirce) doesn't deny the possibility of knowledge, and technology and scientific progress seem to be evidence for that. The problem lies in assuming that this -unknown- degree of certainty is somehow the same as the truth (or the expression of all possible definition or information about a phenomenon). If we arrive to the truth, how could we know? Because of a certain X amount of evidence? How much evidence is indication of reaching the truth behind a thing? – Brian Díaz Flores Jun 19 at 12:35
  • After all, some physicist, in the 19th century, thought that there only a few stuff left to be known about reality, because apparently, there was no important evidence to suggest or indicate that the current theories and hypothesis were wrong nor incomplete. Kind regards, and thanks again! – Brian Díaz Flores Jun 19 at 12:38
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    If we assume knowledge is always sensory, relative and inferential then Buddhist knowledge claims become implausible. The teachings are grounded in certain 'metaphysical' knowledge that is not subject to revision or change and is known to be the case. Not necessarily by me, but by those who travel beyond the mundane world. Perhaps a clue is Al Halaj's famous claim 'I am Truth', which makes no claim to relative knowledge and which avoids the duality of the tentative claim 'I know truth'. True knowledge would be the breakdown of the 'knower-known' distinction. – PeterJ Jun 20 at 11:26
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In science, when we find evidence that proves some hypothesis, we cannot say that we've found the truth behind the studied phenomenon. We can only say that, until this point, the hypothesis works and it's useful to explain that phenomenon, and that, until refuted, we can use that hypothesis as a provisional working hypothesis, which is subject to eventual modification.

This understanding you have highlights the difference between the pursuit of knowledge vs enlightenment. A hypothesis is a belief. Even when it is tested and vetted, it still can not be said to be truth because the foundation on which science is built relies on what we call in Buddhism, the illusion.

Does this apply to Dhamma as well?

In short, no. Dhamma is a list of instructions and teachings that assist you in seeing through the illusion. It can almost be seen as the opposite of science. In science, we start with a belief in illusion, and then accumulate more and more beliefs based on a detailed analysis done. When pursuing enlightenment, we hold each belief we accumulate, and we ask "Does this hold up to logic? What are the holes in my understanding?". Pursuing enlightenment is a process of breaking down beliefs you hold, and stripping away those that do not accurately reflect our experience.

Evidence, (no matter how much evidence, whether theoretical or experiencial) is not enough to posit that the truth has been reached without any posible future refutation.

Gathering evidence is not how you become enlightened. Hopefully this does not deter you from perusing it, but let me explain myself fully.

The mind of the illusory self has a habit of finding problems, and wishing to solve them in some way. Solving problems is one way the illusory self perpetuates its own existence. If something is being done or solved, there must be a doer of these actions.

If there is still a solution to be solved, the illusory self still persists in some way. After becoming enlightened, the habit of looking for solutions and solving problems drops away naturally.

Let me ask this with an example:

We can say that the khandhas are not the self, but does that imply that there is not self at all? How can we reach that conclusion without any doubts?

Enlightenment does not come after a conclusion. Enlightenment comes when the illusion is seen not as a multitude of objects and concepts, but as Nirvana, the One, the simultaneous creator and created.

It is important to remember that when enlightenment occurs, there is only Nirvana. It is not you who becomes enlightened, for who you believe yourself to be is simply a concept. It is more accurate to say that when enlightenment occurs, it is Nirvana that experiences Nirvana.

Isn't better to simply say that we cannot know, and that it shouldn't matter at all? After all, if something is beyond the realm of experience, we shouldn't be able to say anything about it.

It is 100% accurate to say that you can not know. The "you" you are referring to is the illusory self. The illusory self is a non-existent. A non-existent is incapable of knowledge. Someone who does not exist, can not know anything. This is why enlightened beings in the past have said "All I know, is that I know nothing." Knowledge is simply a label we give the experience of a thought arising, and having it correlate with some other aspect of experience. In reality, there is only Nirvana. Nothing can be known. Not because there is no Truth, but because there is no one there to hold the knowledge.

Again, if you are seeking freedom, gaining knowledge should not be your goal. You should simply be comparing your experience to your beliefs. The more beliefs you are able to verify as invalid, the easier it will become to see through the illusion.

Is Buddhism concerned with ontology (how and what thinfs are by themselves, and not only how we humans perceive them), epistemology (the possiblity of knowing things about reality itself, objectively) or pragmatism (to use whatever seem to work for some specific end)? Is it concerned with all of them, some of them, or none of them?

In my explanations here, it is important to remember the story of the blind men and the elephant. Although what I say below may seem contradictory to those with a limited frame of reference, when you see through the illusion yourself, you will see how all my explanations tie together. My explanations are coming from a place of pure, non-conceptualized experience, so trying to conceptualize will naturally cause paradoxes to arise. Try not to get hung up on the contradictory nature, and just know that they all have a basis in the same foundational experiences.

Ontology does not apply to Buddhism for there is no concept of humans. The concept of being a human that is perceiving something is part of the illusion you are trying to break free from. Nirvana is seeing the "observed" perspective and the "true" perspective are one and the same.

Epistemology somewhat applies. Like I said before, there is no knowledge, so you can drop that on the floor right away. That being said though, there is an objective way of observing experience that will undoubtedly bring about the changes that occur after enlightenment. End of suffering, End of self, End of mind, etc.

Pragmatism does not apply, for when enlightenment occurs, it is seen clearly that there is no "doer of actions". The concepts of "actions" or "cause and effect" do not apply to experience.

Pragmatism, for example, doesn't deny the possibility of knowledge, and technology and scientific progress seem to be evidence for that. The problem lies in assuming that this -unknown- degree of certainty is somehow the same as the truth (or the expression of all possible definition or information about a phenomenon). If we arrive to the truth, how could we know? Because of a certain X amount of evidence? How much evidence is indication of reaching the truth?

All three of these conceptual frameworks were created in an attempt to prop up the belief that knowledge exists. If one definition does not suit you, you can move on to the next and say "Oh yea, that makes sense. This is how knowledge really works." In reality though, there is no one there. There is no one to know anything. There is nothing to be known. If you continue down this path of attempting to gather knowledge, you will never escape. There is no limit to what you can "know". Not because there is infinite knowledge to gain, but because knowledge is imagined, and you can imagine an infinite number of things.

There is only one thing that exists. Only one thing to experience. That one thing is not knowledge, therefore, there is no knowledge.

Or in other words, is enlightenment enough and definitive proof of having reached the truth about reality itself? Does it even matter if it works?

Enlightenment is the end of searching for an answer. It is the end of restlessness. It is peace.

I hope you are well and I hope this information has been helpful to you in some way. I pray for nothing more than your liberation this lifetime.

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Pragmatism is the most important thing in Buddhism, as seen in the Parable of the Poisoned Arrow and the Parable of the Simsapa Leaves. Buddhism uses whatever means to end suffering.

In SN 22.93, the Buddha says that the five aggregates (form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness) are impermanent or inconstant and also stressful or suffering, and thus exhorts us to see it as not our's:

"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

Here, clinging to the five aggregates causes suffering, so the Buddha teaches us to see clearly that 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

On the other hand, in AN 5.57, the Buddha taught:

“And for the sake of what benefit should a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do’? People engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon this theme, such misconduct is either completely abandoned or diminished. It is for the sake of this benefit that a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do.’

While considering the body as NOT my body will eliminate suffering, here the Buddha uses the opposite method in a skillful way. Here, he says we should see ourselves as owning karma and as heir of our karma, in order to instill virtue.

So, this shows how important pragmatism is to Buddhism. "This is NOT MY body" would result in removing clinging to the impermanent thing that is the body. But, "this is MY karma" would result in good conduct. Also see this question.

What about ontology and epistemology?

Same thing. Ontology and epistemology is only important in Buddhism, when pragmatism is applied to it.

For e.g. there is an ontological description of what is feeling and how many types of feelings are there, and what is craving and how many types of cravings are there, and how many types of clinging, and how many types of latent tendencies etc. This is because it is useful towards the ending of suffering.

You can read some ontological description of craving on this page.

On the other hand the Buddha is not concerned with the ontology of things that are not related to the ending of suffering, for e.g. in Acintita Sutta:

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

The same goes to epistemology.

According to the Sabba Sutta, it's only possible to know things that can be experienced through the six senses:

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Nirvana and the ending of suffering is therefore also knowable and can be experienced. It's possible to gain the wisdom to end suffering.

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