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by (140 points)
Is life as we know it pre-determined or there is a free will according to buddhism?

2 Answers

+1 vote
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Neither. Reality works based on cause and effect.

In order for there to be pre-determination there needs to be a determination point (creator or point of origin) which in Buddhism does not exist.

In order for there to be complete free will there needs to be an independent self that makes independent decisions not conditioned by external factors which in Buddhism does not exist.

Reality is a series of conditioned moments of experience. Arising and passing away constantly without a controller or creator. With no point of origin and without independent decision making.

Intention or will arises based on causes and conditions just like every other experience. I hope this helps.
0 votes
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Certain events are predetermined in a sense that they are unavoidable.
Ex: The moment you are born, you are destined to die. The moment you commit one of the five heinous Kammas, you are destined to be born in a hell next life. The moment you become a Sotapanna, you are destined to end Samsara within 7 lives.

But, not being predetermined does not necessarily have to mean 'free-will'.
Ex: If someone asks you "curd or ice-cream?", a decision making process is initiated in the mind at that moment. The thoughts making that decision are caused and also influenced by concomitants. So those thoughts are not 'free'. Yet the causes or the influencing factors cannot make the decision. It is the function of those thought moments. So it's not predetermined either. Read about the 17 thought moments of a thought process for a better understanding.

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