Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 09:03 am
This thread developed from many other threads where I tried to clarify for me the question that surprises me very much in this religion. On the one hand Buddha's teachings are aimed at attainment of everlasting bliss, Nirvana. On the other, he teaches that soul, that is subject of suffering does not exist, that human is nothing but a subtle compound. But this, if understand aright, devalues all teaching on salvation etc., actually that equals human with stone. So, I ask every one who knows much about the subject and is willing to enlighten me to post in this thread.
Paul.
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rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 09:21 am
@Eudaimon,
[INDENT]At the beginning of their conversation the king politely asks the monk his name, and receives the following reply: "Sir, I am known as Nagasena; my fellows in the religious life address me as Nagasena. Although my parents gave me the name.. . it is just an appellation, a form of speech, a description, a conventional usage. Nagasena is only a name, for no person is found here" [/INDENT] [INDENT]"A sentient being does exist, you think, 0 Mara? You are misled by a false conception. This bundle of elements is void of Self, In it there is no sentient being. Just as a set of wooden parts Receives the name of carriage, So do we give to elements The name of fancied being."[/INDENT] [INDENT]Buddha has spoken thus:"0 Brethren, actions do exist, and also their consequences, but the person that acts does not. There is no one to cast away this set of elements, and no one to assume a new set of them. There exists no Individual, it is only a conventional name given to a set of elements"

Anatman - no self. All things are interconnected and interdependent; singular essence does not exist. How does this contradict teachings of salvation at all? If anything, it is an understanding what must be accomplished.
[/INDENT]
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 09:25 am
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey;65378 wrote:

[INDENT]Anatman - no self. All things are interconnected and interdependent; singular essence does not exist. How does this contradict teachings of salvation at all? If anything, it is an understanding what must be accomplished.

Contradicts and very heavily, I deem. If I do not exist whom are you depriving of delusions?
[/INDENT]
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 10:19 am
@Eudaimon,
The first thing you must understand to understand the concept of no soul. Is the concept of no self. If I asked you who you are, you might tell me I am a philosopher. Buddha might say no that is somthing about you. Then you might say Im intelegent. Buddha might say no intelegence is somthing you have. Then you might say I am a christian and he might say no that is something you believe. Then you might say I am a human he might say no that is one of your qualities. The self that we know is known through the means of things other than the self. All of thoes things are impermantant they pass away with you. But the ultimate and true nature of the self cannot be known. To us who truely look for it is as if it dosen't exist. It cant be found or described outside of the 5 aggregates of consciousness as they call them in buddhism. These are Form, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Consciousness.
These five make up the being that we know as ourselves.
The essence of the self beneath the aggregates is what most know as soul. The buddha believed that the soul too was impermanant and chaninging just as everything else. He believed this because of the fact that he believed even the most hardened of criminals could change and have bliss even if his god made soul was what made him a criminal. He saw this change in people. So do we, criminals become helpfull members of society all the time. He believed that no one, from the devil to god, was incapeable of overcoming and changing thier karma (actions).
Some also believe that god is the soul. Buddha did not believe in god as most do. He beileved in karma and nirvana. God an omnipotent, omnicient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, imortal, invinceable, & infinite creator would have relived the sufferings of all life long ago. He believed in a creator. But not the omnious one most do. So even the god soul was impermanant and changeable. All can have bliss and all will have bliss forever. In buddhas view nothing can stop that. So when they speak of no soul in buddhism, they are telling everyone not to play the victim of circumstance as it were.

No you do not have an eternaly dammned soul, and yes you can do what is right. Don't cop out to me!!!
Love buddha
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 03:01 am
@vajrasattva,
vajrasattva;65393 wrote:
The first thing you must understand to understand the concept of no soul. Is the concept of no self. If I asked you who you are, you might tell me I am a philosopher. Buddha might say no that is somthing about you. Then you might say Im intelegent. Buddha might say no intelegence is somthing you have. Then you might say I am a christian and he might say no that is something you believe. Then you might say I am a human he might say no that is one of your qualities. The self that we know is known through the means of things other than the self. All of thoes things are impermantant they pass away with you. But the ultimate and true nature of the self cannot be known. To us who truely look for it is as if it dosen't exist. It cant be found or described outside of the 5 aggregates of consciousness as they call them in buddhism. These are Form, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Consciousness.
No you do not have an eternaly dammned soul, and yes you can do what is right. Don't cop out to me!!!

Indeed, vajrasattva, the self, soul is deeper than those five aggregates, which are themselves instuments of it. However, I don't think Buddha would agree with thee. In as much Buddhist texts as I read, he constantly taught: no-self, anatman without referring to that "true self". (If I am mistaking please supply me with thy sources.) Soul or self, or I is that thing that may at least suffer or not.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 03:34 am
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
Indeed, vajrasattva, the self, soul is deeper than those five aggregates, which are themselves instuments of it. However, I don't think Buddha would agree with thee. In as much Buddhist texts as I read, he constantly taught: no-self, anatman without referring to that "true self". (If I am mistaking please supply me with thy sources.) Soul or self, or I is that thing that may at least suffer or not.


There is something very subtle that people miss.

The Buddha said there is no permanent soul or self. He NEVER said there is NO self or soul. Can you see the settle difference?

He said there is a self, a soul, but it never stays the same thing from one moment to the next. It is constantly changing. This is what he refers to as impermanence. It is empty of a constant unchanging thing. Since it is always changing how can it be considered an actual thing? It can't.

If a cup constantly changed shape and color or size why would you call it a cup? You wouldn't, and this is what he is trying to point out, that the "I" we believe to be a substantial thing, is not really what we think it is. Just like you are not the same person now then you were when you were five years old. The only thing that leads you to believe that you are, is your memory. If you didn't have any memories we would never talk about "I" yesterday.

Now there is another problem. The Buddha was not a nihilist like some want to point out. On top of this people misinterpret nirvana.

Nirvana means extinction or a blowing out.

Most people think when they hear it, the Buddha meant some sort of blissful heaven. No that is not what he meant. It is bliss only because there is NO suffering. But how is it there is no suffering? Because there is NO thing.

The Buddha means that upon death there is an extinction a blowing out of the belief in I. But many people are afraid of this. They don't want to stop existing. So they painted the Buddha's words in different ways to relieve their fear or incomprehension of his meaning.

They pervert what Buddhism was attempting to do. What the Buddha was trying to point out is that everything we do in our lives is to seek contentment and happiness at any cost. This causes a lot of unnecessary heartache and misery not only for yourself but for people around you.

What the Buddha wanted to do was to get people to release themselves from this unnecessary running around. The best way to do this is to reflect on your life and your death. See into it as much as you can bare to. Then when you have firm understanding of your life and your death. Take steps to reduce the amount of suffering for yourself and the suffering you cause others and you'll find some happiness in those results. Because reducing your pain or suffering which you created yourself means you'll be less unhappy. If you have fewer problems then you are more likely to find happiness.

But people distort the teachings and put in other stuff to go with it. They pervert the underline meanings and attach all sorts of other metaphysical things. But it's all really just common sense.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 08:35 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;65512 wrote:
There is something very subtle that people miss.

The Buddha said there is no permanent soul or self. He NEVER said there is NO self or soul. Can you see the settle difference?...

What the Buddha wanted to do was to get people to release themselves from this unnecessary running around. The best way to do this is to reflect on your life and your death. See into it as much as you can bare to. Then when you have firm understanding of your life and your death. Take steps to reduce the amount of suffering for yourself and the suffering you cause others and you'll find some happiness in those results. Because reducing your pain or suffering which you created yourself means you'll be less unhappy. If you have fewer problems then you are more likely to find happiness.

But people distort the teachings and put in other stuff to go with it. They pervert the underline meanings and attach all sorts of other metaphysical things. But it's all really just common sense.

It is still difficult for me to understand that. Was it not I who was deluded and acted stupidly and reapened fruits of my stupidity? And now, since I've abandoned those stupid desires, is it not I who is free? Suffering may change into non-suffering but there will be I who is experiencing it. Am I right? And how can I, if I am just a subtle compound of chemicals or 5 aggregates, does not matter, make myself reflect on life and death?
Another question is why was it so important for him to show there is no permanent self? Is it not possible not to suffer even without abandoning conception of permanent self?
0 Replies
 
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 12:06 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;65375 wrote:
This thread developed from many other threads where I tried to clarify for me the question that surprises me very much in this religion. On the one hand Buddha's teachings are aimed at attainment of everlasting bliss, Nirvana. On the other, he teaches that soul, that is subject of suffering does not exist, that human is nothing but a subtle compound. But this, if understand aright, devalues all teaching on salvation etc., actually that equals human with stone. So, I ask every one who knows much about the subject and is willing to enlighten me to post in this thread.
Paul.


[SIZE="3"]I have written on this quite a bit here, but I'll see if I can put it at least a little differently. Smile

To begin, one has to understand what the Buddha was primarily teaching, because his primary teaching had little to do with anatman, the middle way, the four noble truths, or any other of what most people focus on when they talk about the Buddha (I know that sounds radically contrary, but let me explain). I say, most people today, especially casual observers, have no idea what the Buddha was teaching. Why? Because the Buddhist religion is now standing in for what the Buddha taught.

Religion is what the vast majority relate to whether its Jesus or Mohammed, or the Buddha. Religion is not the living experience of such a teacher trying to "transfer" to students an inner experience. The external concepts such teachers rely on are merely meant discourage the mind from believing in, pursuing, or speculating about certain issues in order to prevent interference with the inner experience that can be had. These assisting concepts are not meant to be an end in themselves, yet that is exactly what religion always becomes.

What the Buddha taught, which can never really be understood until one practices it, is samadhi meditation. Period. (If you need proof that samadhi meditation is the primary teaching of the Buddha, just remember how he attained enlightenment through his determination to sit practicing meditation at the Bodhi tree until he realized.) And all his assisting concepts on no self were specifically designed to address his primary audience, which were a large group of ascetics who for upwards of 200 years had been pursuing enlightenment by living in the forests and torturing their minds and bodies.

This was a very serious group the Buddha chose to teach, and with whom he himself had been part of before his own enlightenment. He'd tried the extreme asceticism the group practiced, and found it in the end distracting. He also found the endless speculation about the soul and God etc. a distraction. Remember, India had been speculating on spiritual stuff for centuries, almost obsessively. Today it is still that way. So the Buddha had minds to teach that were filled with strong concepts about "true self" versus false self, and so on.

His strategy was to avoid the whole speculative quagmire by teaching that if you learned how to merge your individual mind with a deeper reality (i.e., samadhi meditation), you would discover for yourself if there is a God or soul . . . and all the rest. So why speculate? Practice samadhi, it will teach you everything.

That is why when questioned by the wanderer Potthapada whether the universe is permanent and infinite, if the soul and body are the same, and if the realized being exists after death the Buddha answered, "[I have not declared these things because] that is not conducive to the purpose, not the way to embark on the holy life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. That is why I have not declared it."

So he did NOT say there is no soul or no God; he said not to speculate about them, and to practice samadhi instead as the way to discover the reality of those issues. Think about it, it's brilliant and pragmatic, and it shows just how much faith the Buddha had in samadhi to teach the Way.

The concept of "no self" (or alternatively acquired self) was very specifically designed to appeal to the yogis who were torturing what they considered the false self . . . i.e., the aggregates. The no-self concept fit perfectly with the ascetics' own way, but the Buddha amended it to the "middle way," and then brought clarity to the idea.

The middle way was intended to moderate the ascetics' extreme self-denial; and no self was meant to provide a system of thought that differentiated what we relate to as "self" from what one experiences in samadhi. Only in samadhi do we find the permanent, unchanging thing we so long for (even if we don't know that's what we want).

Unlike what someone earlier said, the Buddha actually did teach that there is something permanent and unchanging, it's just not the acquired self:

"There is, monks, that plane where there is neither extension nor motion. . . there is no coming or going or remaining or deceasing or uprising. . . . There is, monks, an unborn, not become, not made, uncompounded . . . [and] because [that exists] . . . an escape can be shown for what is born, has become, is made, is compounded."

I myself have practiced samadhi daily for over three decades, and that is the only reason I understand something about the Buddha's discipline. If you try to look at his ideas apart from a serious and devoted samadhi practice, you will construe some weird interpretation every time.

After so many hours of practice, if someone were to ask me if I have a soul, or if I've found God, I would have to answer very carefully. If I were my typical conservative self I might say that I'd discovered something about myself that never changes, something that is always there keeping me alive and conscious. So maybe I'd say I could see how someone might call that a "soul." And at times, in the deeply merged experience, I've felt that I'd become a part of a vast plane, a plane of existence that seems conscious. So maybe I'd say that I could see how someone might call that "God."

On the other hand, if I were asked if one has to believe in soul or God to practice what's got me suspecting they exist, I'd have to say, "Heck no! Practice samadhi and it will show you what is and isn't."[/SIZE]
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:00 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth;65572 wrote:
Religion is what the vast majority relate to whether its Jesus or Mohammed, or the Buddha. Religion is not the living experience of such a teacher trying to "transfer" to students an inner experience. The external concepts such teachers rely on are merely meant discourage the mind from believing in, pursuing, or speculating about certain issues in order to prevent interference with the inner experience that can be had. These assisting concepts are not meant to be an end in themselves, yet that is exactly what religion always becomes.

What the Buddha taught, which can never really be understood until one practices it, is samadhi meditation. Period. (If you need proof that samadhi meditation is the primary teaching of the Buddha, just remember how he attained enlightenment through his determination to sit practicing meditation at the Bodhi tree until he realized.) And all his assisting concepts on no self were specifically designed to address his primary audience, which were a large group of ascetics who for upwards of 200 years had been pursuing enlightenment by living in the forests and torturing their minds and bodies.

This was a very serious group the Buddha chose to teach, and with whom he himself had been part of before his own enlightenment. He'd tried the extreme asceticism the group practiced, and found it in the end distracting. He also found the endless speculation about the soul and God etc. a distraction. Remember, India had been speculating on spiritual stuff for centuries, almost obsessively. Today it is still that way. So the Buddha had minds to teach that were filled with strong concepts about "true self" versus false self, and so on.

His strategy was to avoid the whole speculative quagmire by teaching that if you learned how to merge your individual mind with a deeper reality (i.e., samadhi meditation), you would discover for yourself if there is a God or soul . . . and all the rest. So why speculate? Practice samadhi, it will teach you everything.

That is why when questioned by the wanderer Potthapada whether the universe is permanent and infinite, if the soul and body are the same, and if the realized being exists after death the Buddha answered, "[I have not declared these things because] that is not conducive to the purpose, not the way to embark on the holy life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. That is why I have not declared it."

So he did NOT say there is no soul or no God; he said not to speculate about them, and to practice samadhi instead as the way to discover the reality of those issues. Think about it, it's brilliant and pragmatic, and it shows just how much faith the Buddha had in samadhi to teach the Way.

The concept of "no self" (or alternatively acquired self) was very specifically designed to appeal to the yogis who were torturing what they considered the false self . . . i.e., the aggregates. The no-self concept fit perfectly with the ascetics' own way, but the Buddha amended it to the "middle way," and then brought clarity to the idea.

Yes, I know this famous thought of Buddha. This interpretation sounds very smart. So, the Buddha taught no-self, impermanence in order to stop idle speculations? That resembles Zeno, who, when asked about nature of virtue and soul, answered: "yes, they are very solid". But in some texts he seems really denying any soul at all (I am recalling his talk with Kutadanta where he says that the self is compound of thoughts, experiences etc.).
By the way, how is samadhi different from mere reasoning?
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 03:23 pm
@Eudaimon,
[SIZE="3"]
Eudaimon;65579 wrote:
So, the Buddha taught no-self, impermanence in order to stop idle speculations? . . . in some texts he seems really denying any soul at all (I am recalling his talk with Kutadanta where he says that the self is compound of thoughts, experiences etc.).


You have to be careful not to mix up the Buddha's concept of acquired self, and something deeper about us that is permanent (and might be what people refer to as "soul").

He refused to discuss the soul, but he talked at length about the self . . . and the self is an illusion, according to the Buddha. Every bit of what we consider the "self" was acquired as a result of being born into biology, and then the conditioning and identities we've picked up since then. The illusion, then, is our unconscious assumption that somehow what we call "self" is an actual permanent identity, when it is really a relatively fragile veneer.

But what is it that is born into biology in the first place? Physicalists claim the brain produces consciousness, but the Buddha taught there is a foundation, a "plane of existence," that is unborn (meaning, it has always existed, and always will). Through the practice of samadhi one finds this plane, and realizes one has emerged from it into the central nervous system. It is that plane of existence that really defines our nature, not all the shapes that nature can take.


Eudaimon;65579 wrote:
By the way, how is samadhi different from mere reasoning?


They are entirely different. Imagine you are a pool of water. You can vibrate your surface in patterns, and then observe the patterns to help you understand things. But you can also cause the pool to become utterly still, and then experience yourself as one, undifferentiated, peaceful pool (i.e., instead of only experiencing yourself as surface vibrational patterns).

That deep pool experience of peace (i.e., samadhi) is incredibly satisfying; it is a wholeness that keeps a smile on your face, and allows you to experience the oneness you share with all beings (aka, love). It doesn't mean you can't reason when you want to, but it does mean you can experience happiness without depending on things outside of yourself so much. We are already are pretty good at reasoning, but happiness, contentment, peace, love . . . isn't that exactly what humanity seems most in need of? [/SIZE]
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 10:59 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth;65598 wrote:
You have to be careful not to mix up the Buddha's concept of acquired self, and something deeper about us that is permanent (and might be what people refer to as "soul").

He refused to discuss the soul, but he talked at length about the self . . . and the self is an illusion, according to the Buddha. Every bit of what we consider the "self" was acquired as a result of being born into biology, and then the conditioning and identities we've picked up since then. The illusion, then, is our unconscious assumption that somehow what we call "self" is an actual permanent identity, when it is really a relatively fragile veneer.

In what way is self different from soul? Maybe he defined self somehow specifically. In sanskrit soul is 'atman', which is often translated as 'self', e.g. anatman -- no-self...

LWSleeth;65598 wrote:
That deep pool experience of peace (i.e., samadhi) is incredibly satisfying; it is a wholeness that keeps a smile on your face, and allows you to experience the oneness you share with all beings (aka, love). It doesn't mean you can't reason when you want to, but it does mean you can experience happiness without depending on things outside of yourself so much. We are already are pretty good at reasoning, but happiness, contentment, peace, love . . . isn't that exactly what humanity seems most in need of?

Is it impossible through discarding false concepts to come to the same? Does samadhi require practice established by the Buddha or some one else? In this case it requires belief that it is useful...
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 01:24 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;65642 wrote:
In what way is self different from soul? Maybe he defined self somehow specifically. In sanskrit soul is 'atman', which is often translated as 'self', e.g. anatman -- no-self...


The problem is mistaking a concept of something for the reality of something. Can you survive on conceptual food? If you are hungry, can you simply imagine a tasty meal and have that satisfy hunger? See, there you clearly see the difference because eating is tied to immediate survival, and we cannot long harbor any illusions about food.

But when it comes to self knowledge, we can get away with being as ignorant as a bag of hammers, which we are. Nobody is trying to experience the self, they are merely trying to conceptualize it.

Spiritually inclined thinkers are no different. Atman is a Hindu concept meant to show how Brahman is manifested as an individual. The concept states that the presence of Brahman in us is the soul or atman. As Indian conceptual spirituality developed, the atman concept went on to be thought of as the "true" self.

Now, what if there really is a true self inside us? The Buddha might come along to talk about it, but he is speaking from direct experience. But if you are an "expert" in conceptualizing about self, then no matter what he says you will translate his words into a concept.

So the Buddha understood he had to get around the very powerful and ancient conceptual beliefs involving atman, yet tell the truth too. Since true self discussions had become mere concept, and not derived from actual self experience, the Buddha could correctly say what everyone was relating to as self was really not a "true" self at all.

The "self" people believe in is a concept, a dream sustained by our constant mental activity. Actually it might be more accurate to call the dream epiphenomenal. For example, if you incessantly think you are smart, tall, a doctor, a brother, a son, love espresso, hate spinach, need a woman, need money . . . and so on (the kind of stuff everybody thinks every instant of every waking moment, and sometimes sleeping too), then it generates a sort of standing wave, a dream-like aftereffect from nonstop thinking and wanting.

This epiphenomenal fog is the self we believe is a real and permanent identity, except all of it is merely a dream! But you will never know that until you stop the mind from its relentless thinking and imagining, and then turn to something deeper which the mind can merge with.


Eudaimon;65642 wrote:
Is it impossible through discarding false concepts to come to the same? Does samadhi require practice established by the Buddha or some one else? In this case it requires belief that it is useful...


Yes, it is impossible because the peace, oneness, and happiness that result from merging with the deeper place (samadhi) are not an absence of false concepts, but rather the experience of something. People practice very devotedly to become skilled in that experience, and yes they find false concepts do interfere mightily. So one works to eliminate the illusion, but that's not all there is to it.

Samadhi is tough to do without help from someone who is experiencing it himself. Later Buddhism in China, for instance, talked about a "mind to mind transmission." This is an intuitive exchange where the teacher helps a student feel the place inside that leads to samadhi.

And yes, one must believe assistance is useful to take advantage of someone who might offer to help. My experience is that this path only works for lovers of it.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 03:03 am
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth;65645 wrote:
The problem is mistaking a concept of something for the reality of something. Can you survive on conceptual food? If you are hungry, can you simply imagine a tasty meal and have that satisfy hunger? See, there you clearly see the difference because eating is tied to immediate survival, and we cannot long harbor any illusions about food.

But when it comes to self knowledge, we can get away with being as ignorant as a bag of hammers, which we are. Nobody is trying to experience the self, they are merely trying to conceptualize it.
The "self" people believe in is a concept, a dream sustained by our constant mental activity. Actually it might be more accurate to call the dream epiphenomenal. For example, if you incessantly think you are smart, tall, a doctor, a brother, a son, love espresso, hate spinach, need a woman, need money . . . and so on (the kind of stuff everybody thinks every instant of every waking moment, and sometimes sleeping too), then it generates a sort of standing wave, a dream-like aftereffect from nonstop thinking and wanting.

This epiphenomenal fog is the self we believe is a real and permanent identity, except all of it is merely a dream! But you will never know that until you stop the mind from its relentless thinking and imagining, and then turn to something deeper which the mind can merge with.

I don't believe I am so and so: philosopher, man, love espresso etc. That's all not I, that's false self-identification. Sounds conceptually:)... And again is it posssible to experience myself when this I who is experiencer? Experience always demands dualism.

LWSleeth;65645 wrote:
Yes, it is impossible because the peace, oneness, and happiness that result from merging with the deeper place (samadhi) are not an absence of false concepts, but rather the experience of something. People practice very devotedly to become skilled in that experience, and yes they find false concepts do interfere mightily. So one works to eliminate the illusion, but that's not all there is to it.

Samadhi is tough to do without help from someone who is experiencing it himself. Later Buddhism in China, for instance, talked about a "mind to mind transmission." This is an intuitive exchange where the teacher helps a student feel the place inside that leads to samadhi.

And yes, one must believe assistance is useful to take advantage of someone who might offer to help. My experience is that this path only works for lovers of it.

I think here we are in an impasse. There have been so many practices, and every promises liberation. I think if we had been born in society where we had only one religion, it would be possible to believe in it blindly. But now, since we have so much practices at our disposal, which of them is right? Some teach we should utter a certain amount of prayer, some that we should sit in meditation, some that we should have sex in abundance and only through we can attain enlightenment or oneness... And no one can present a guarantee that our teacher is not a charlatan...
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 01:53 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;65649 wrote:
And again is it posssible to experience myself when this I who is experiencer? Experience always demands dualism.


[SIZE="3"]Yep, it is a huge problem to get self out of the way for the experience of something deeper which is "not-self." That's why it has made such a big difference when a living teacher has been able to manifest it for students. When the experience is alive in a teacher, open students can feel it and then circumvent self through a feeling avenue. Without that, people turn to the only thing they know, and that's the mentality of self.

But you are wrong that experience always demands dualism. Maybe that's all you know, but I know of a unified experience. In fact, the term "samadhi" means union, and in Western monasticism (as found in the early Greek Orthodox fathers), the term used was "union," so you can see it is a descriptive term. However, you are correct to say that if self is going to be part of one's practice, there is no possible way around dualism.

In union, one follows the breath to what's behind the breath, what moves the breath. It is extremely subtle, so a practitioner has to learn to be very quiet. With skill, mind and what moves the breath merge, and that is the experience of union. In that experience, all the body's energies integrate, and one's consciousness feels one with the whole of reality as well.

It is a beautiful experience, not comparable to any other activity of conscious. That means if someone hasn't achieved union experience, there is absolutely no way to judge reports like mine.[/SIZE]


Eudaimon;65649 wrote:
I think here we are in an impasse.


[SIZE="3"]i don't see what the impasse is. You asked about what the Buddha taught regarding the soul, and I have been trying to explain. I am not a Buddhist (nor do I belong to any religion), but I do practice samadhi meditation (I was taught by someone, but not as part of some religion). So all I've been doing is trying to bring a little clarity to a subject that is constantly misunderstood by non-practitioners. It makes no difference to me if you accept what the Buddha taught as true. [/SIZE]


Eudaimon;65649 wrote:
There have been so many practices, and every promises liberation. I think if we had been born in society where we had only one religion, it would be possible to believe in it blindly. But now, since we have so much practices at our disposal, which of them is right? Some teach we should utter a certain amount of prayer, some that we should sit in meditation, some that we should have sex in abundance and only through we can attain enlightenment or oneness... And no one can present a guarantee that our teacher is not a charlatan...


[SIZE="3"]That's right, there are many, many claims. But if you study the history of samadhi/union, you will find something different than religion. This practice has always been associated with the world's greatest saints. It stands out as unique among all the claims, especially since it claims very little. The usual recommendation is similar to what the Buddha said, which is, practice and find out for yourself what samadhi/union teaches one. What need is there to make claims if you can simply investigate and discover?

In my opinion, the fact that a serious samadhi practice is nothing but the work of meditation and self abandonment is why relatively few take up the practice. They prefer all the mental stuff the self can do.[/SIZE]
0 Replies
 
meditationyoga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 12:06 am
@Eudaimon,
Yes, as man is he has no soul. Fighting abuse, wars and so on. But once you remove all things that aren't supposed to be there. You find by negation. Removing all imperfect things. Thus Buddha need not talk to those who have removed everything and know that soul exists. He was talking to those that don't. He meant that not until a great deal of work had occured then you would see things that are hidden. But if you have any unease in your life you have no soul. Only when you have supreme peace in every action you do are you in touch.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2009 09:25 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;65649 wrote:
I think here we are in an impasse. There have been so many practices, and every promises liberation.


Yes, I think all religions have to have something to attract followers. In the business world, it is called the marketing pitch or differentiator.

Quote:
I think if we had been born in society where we had only one religion, it would be possible to believe in it blindly. But now, since we have so much practices at our disposal, which of them is right?


I don't think that one has to be right. If it is interesting and appeals to you then try it out. If not, there are plenty of other ways to spend time in life.

Quote:
Some teach we should utter a certain amount of prayer, some that we should sit in meditation, some that we should have sex in abundance and only through we can attain enlightenment or oneness... And no one can present a guarantee that our teacher is not a charlatan...


I would look upon them as a group of people, getting together, to explore and enjoy each others company. If you like the people who surround you, if you like the teacher, if what they are doing appeals to you, give it a shot. Of course, it should be within your means, since all this costs money.

For me, these kinds of groups do not appeal to me. Each group has its own central focus and rules, and the rules are enforced by the leaders. Rules are necessary to keep the group together, but for me they represent something that can't change, and when something cannot change (e.g. stagnates), it represents stress, since for me, change and flow are most comfortable. It may be different for others. No change may represent comfort.

If the area interests you, then you have many fellow explorers in Buddhism. If it doesn't then maybe it isn't for you. You will find sects, interpretations, contradictions abound in any organized religions (that is how new sects are formed), so you just have to live with them, if you wish to be part of the group. For me, it is annoying, so I just don't join. Smile

Rich
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Jun, 2009 09:41 pm
@Eudaimon,
Hey Eudaimon

I found this thread on a newsgroup which argues against the doctrine of No-Self as a metaphysical position and says that the Theravadin understanding of the matter is incorrect. (I don't necessarily agree but he makes a case.)
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 03:50 am
@Eudaimon,
Having spent many years studying Buddhist doctrine as an intellectual pursuit, slightly aided by a rather pathetic practice routine, I still have only the vaguest idea of how to answer Eudaimon's question. There is something paradoxical about the idea that there is no soul, yet salvation is possible. What is to be saved?

The answer may be that being saved is realising who or what we are, and who or what we are is not a self or a soul distinct from other selfs and souls. Perhaps it would be right to say that that salvation lies in, or begins with, the realisation that there is no self or soul.

Kant concludes that the central explandum for a rational psychology is the phenomenon from which our discriminating consciousness arises, and that this is not an instance of any category. He also concludes that the universe itself arises from a phenomenon which is not an instance of a category. This would be consistent with the Buddha's teachings, and it may indicate the solution to the problem here, since there can only be one phenomenon that is not a instance of a category, as Hegel was later to conclude. If by reduction the universe is Hegel's spiritual unity, then where are all the souls and selfs?
xris
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 04:05 am
@Whoever,
I have not studied buddhism or considered the question but i could imagine the union of minds when we all realise our every thoughts are the same as everyone elses.If my experiences where yours and yours mine who would we be?We are all swimming in the same universal pond of examination and our experiences are a combination of lives, ours and others.Giving up the "I" is very hard to comprehend but it would transcend the "I" and become just the "I"...at one with each other.Just my thoughts,nothing more..
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 06:14 am
@richrf,
LWSleeth;65693 wrote:
That's right, there are many, many claims. But if you study the history of samadhi/union, you will find something different than religion. This practice has always been associated with the world's greatest saints. It stands out as unique among all the claims, especially since it claims very little. The usual recommendation is similar to what the Buddha said, which is, practice and find out for yourself what samadhi/union teaches one. What need is there to make claims if you can simply investigate and discover?

Allow me to doubt the thing that samadhi/meditation was really taught by the Buddha. This book, esp. Chapters VI and VII, says it was developed later...
To practice my life long, not knowing that this is really true path, without any guarantee, dost thou really think it holds water?

[QUOTE=LWSleeth;65693] In my opinion, the fact that a serious samadhi practice is nothing but the work of meditation and self abandonment is why relatively few take up the practice. They prefer all the mental stuff the self can do. [/QUOTE]
Well, I am a mere mortal and prefer the "mental stuff the self can do". How can it be otherwise: if I tell someone the skys are orange, he will not believe me, although I might perceive them as such. Thus, to convince someone we need not demand blind faith from him but let him see that our statements are more in accordance with reality than his, this is the only way. Now, how is it possible to abandon the self? If there is abandonment, there is "abandoner" as well, isn't there? Thus this statement is false, unless thou impliest some other things by "the self" (selfishness, maybe). And, of course, as I have said above, if there is no solution for this paradox in accordance with reason, I cannot (not "don't want to") buy it. Even if certain teaching can lead us beyond common sense, like quantum or relativity theory, they must start from it (like these theories from mechanics), that is to be consistent.
richrf;70336 wrote:
Yes, I think all religions have to have something to attract followers. In the business world, it is called the marketing pitch or differentiator.

But in this case they should not be valued more than economics.

richrf;70336 wrote:
I don't think that one has to be right. If it is interesting and appeals to you then try it out. If not, there are plenty of other ways to spend time in life.

But the problem is that they claim that without them it is impossible to live a happy life. They don't want to be just hobbies.
 

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