Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 06:47 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;71030 wrote:
[/SIZE]To practice my life long, not knowing that this is really true path, without any guarantee, dost thou really think it holds water?

Fortunately, this is not necessary. Unless you are very unlucky you'll soon realise that there is something in this meditation thing. Nobody would practice unless it regularly produced results. I would happily bet everything I own that it is the true path, despite being many lifetimes from reaching the end of it. When I first dipped my toe in the water I was astonished at the speed with which my piddling efforts were rewarded.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 10:20 am
@Whoever,
jeeprs;70761 wrote:
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.)

Thanks for this interesting article. I think in this case two variants are possible: either the Buddha simply denied primitive understandings of the self amongst contemporaries (but in this case it is unclear how, if really, his teaching was unorthodox), or that he didn't understand the whole meaning of denying the soul (that is he probably didn't encounter with the questions we discussing here).

Whoever;71039 wrote:
Fortunately, this is not necessary. Unless you are very unlucky you'll soon realise that there is something in this meditation thing. Nobody would practice unless it regularly produced results.

Ah, my friend, EVERY religion tells the same. Our orthodox priesthood tells the same, every sect with however disgusting practices tells the same. (I am recalling interview with "lama" Ole Nidal from Buddhist sect Karma Kagyu who presented the Buddha as sex obsessed man and skillful fakir). I may be on good terms with thee or with an orthodox, or whomever, but this can't convince me.
Whoever;71039 wrote:
I would happily bet everything I own that it is the true path, despite being many lifetimes from reaching the end of it. When I first dipped my toe in the water I was astonished at the speed with which my piddling efforts were rewarded.

In what way were they rewarded? When we believe that something must work, we start actually interpret our experiences in a certain way. Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy lived to 50 years as hedonist or "nihilist" as he called himself. Having understood the futility of life based on pleasures and care for family interests, he was very close to suicide. He started seeking salvation in the orthodox church and within a year attended it as a pious orthodox. But the more he was doing that the more contradictions he saw within its teaching. Thus church practices did not help him. Many years from these events, in 1990, a russian priest A. Men' said that was due to lack of faith in benefit of rites and practice, which always lead believer to God. Thus, to achieve something through any spiritual practice, one should believe he will do that!
Now, look here, what dost thou mean by "lifetimes"? Is it not belief? Who said we had lifetimes? Maybe I shall die tomorrow, does this mean that my life is finished and all I can NOW do is to sit crying, cursing this world order which gave me nothing but misery?
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 12:30 pm
@Eudaimon,
You make some very reasonable objections, and I completely understand your position, since it used to mine. I'll try to address the issues.

Yes, it is true that every religion tells prospective members that their rituals and rites will bring astonishing rewards. Mysticism, however, is the abandonment of rituals and rites. They would not be necessary, even if they are helpful. Nor would it be necessary to believe anything in particular, or to even do anything at all except just sit, to test my claim about rewards, not even to wait until the hereafter. You don't have to attend a church, or stop coveting your neighbour's wife, or become a sex fiend, or read a Holy book. Ultimately, books would be for burning.

The thing is, I'm not suggesting that we gain some vague sense of benefit from, say, the practice of Zen sitting, or earn Brownie points with some God, but that we learn something about our own minds. Forget religion if you like. A famous mathematician, probably the most famous person I've ever talked to, once told me on the phone that he is a Buddha. I don't think this was a confidence. He went on to say that most of Buddhism is religious nonsense. The Buddha says we must abandon his teachings when we reach a certain point on the journey, much as we would Wittgenstein's ladder of propositions. I doubt this is the kind of religion you were thinking of.

Quote:
In what way were they rewarded?

That's not easy to say. Perhaps someone else here can answer this. Life untangles itself. I suppose I was lucky, in that was already convinced that Buddhist doctrine was true before I found out about meditation. I held the same metaphysical view as the Buddha before I knew what his was, or had even begun to understand its implications, and was initially disappointed when I first heard of his view, having thought I'd invented it.

Meditation is another thing. The philosophical journey is for a long while a communal adventure but there is point where, as did the Knights on the Quest for the legendary Grail, we must part company and proceed alone. There is the growing feeling that not for nothing did the Oracle at Delphi have 'Know Thyself' inscribed over the entrance, and thus a growing optimism that everything we need we have already, and not even God can take it away from us. Not knowledge, as yet, but there's no smoke without fire.

I'm sure you're right to say when we believe that something must work we start to interpret our experiences in a certain way. Would we not be foolish to do otherwise? If we have an experience that cannot be interpreted consistently with our worldview, then we would know it doesn't work.

As for Tolstoy, if he started seeking salvation in the orthodox church and disvovered contradictions this is not surprising. Many people have the same experience, and some Christians argue, against the mystics, that it is these very contradictions that prove that the miracle of the resurrection is a historical rather than mythological event, as it would be for mysticism. This was a key argument used by one well known Bishop of Lyons in the fight against the gnostic heresy. He asks why anyone would make up a paradoxical story if they wanted it to be believed? There could be no reason, ergo it must have happened. I think we must admit that there is a certain plausibility to this argument, but it so happens that at school I used to apply this very same principle most effectively to my homework excuses, to bolster their plausibilty, so I don't buy it. At any rate, for at least three millenia the mystics have been pointing to these contradictions as proof that the doctrines containing them are false, and sometimes being crucified for it, or worse, so we can be clear on one point: The doctrine of mystcism does not contain contradictions. This was proved by Nagarjuna.

Don't imagine that mysticism depends on rites and rituals. It may be true that communal rites and rituals may bring a society, or even an individual participant, closer to God. But it is certainly not true that to achieve something through spiritual practice we should start by believing anything at all. The starting point is the abandonment of all our positive metaphysical views. We acknowledge our ignorance and adopt a beginner's mind. It would certainly be a considerable obstacle to progress to begin by believing we already know what we are trying to find out. If we are trying to discover whether there is any point in the Zen practice of 'just sitting,' then at first what we are trying to find out is whether there is any point in doing it. I mentioned my experience becasue I think this can be learnt more quickly than many people suppose.

Quote:
Now, look here, what dost thou mean by "lifetimes"? Is it not belief? Who said we had lifetimes?

Quite right. Read this as 'a very long time if ever' if you like.

Quote:
Maybe I shall die tomorrow, does this mean that my life is finished and all I can NOW do is to sit crying, cursing this world order which gave me nothing but misery?

It won't surprise you to learn that the the answer mysticism gives to this question is yes. This would be why Buddhism may be called the pursuit of happiness. In some people's eyes its optimism makes the doctrine of mysticism implausible but this is not a result of logic. Of course it would be impossible to be truly happy in a world full of misery in which our participation is pointless. If it were otherwise mysticism would be redundant, or at least not nearly so popular. But you must admit there's at least an even chance that the world is not like this at all.

Sorry for the length, I got carried away.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 02:10 pm
@Whoever,
Whoever;71125 wrote:
Sorry for the length, I got carried away.

That's alright.
Whoever;71125 wrote:
The thing is, I'm not suggesting that we gain some vague sense of benefit from, say, the practice of Zen sitting, or earn Brownie points with some God, but that we learn something about our own minds. Forget religion if you like. A famous mathematician, probably the most famous person I've ever talked to, once told me on the phone that he is a Buddha. I don't think this was a confidence. He went on to say that most of Buddhism is religious nonsense. The Buddha says we must abandon his teachings when we reach a certain point on the journey, much as we would Wittgenstein's ladder of propositions. I doubt this is the kind of religion you were thinking of.

"30. I bow down to Gautama, whose kindness holds one close, who revealed the sublime dharma in order to let go of all views.", as Nagarjuna said. It would be great if the Buddha really taught that, although I doubt this recalling his self-glorifications: "Supreme I am", "I am not your friend Siddhartha anymore. Now I am the Buddha, the father of all beings" etc. This all actually is aimed at establishing spiritual authority which can never lead to truth. His followers, however, made a new belief from his teachings, emphasising differences from other religions (as it was good represented in jeeprs' article).

Whoever;71125 wrote:
Meditation is another thing. The philosophical journey is for a long while a communal adventure but there is point where, as did the Knights on the Quest for the legendary Grail, we must part company and proceed alone. There is the growing feeling that not for nothing did the Oracle at Delphi have 'Know Thyself' inscribed over the entrance, and thus a growing optimism that everything we need we have already, and not even God can take it away from us. Not knowledge, as yet, but there's no smoke without fire.

Yes. And this understanding is what everyone stays in need: what is he, that is what is good for him. And this knowledge is available not through eastern organised meditation, or better say, not only through it but it comes natural, and everyone can understand that without necessary "sitting quietly, doing nothing" as Ch'an masters say. This can actually come at every time, there is no need in an organised practice.

Whoever;71125 wrote:
It won't surprise you to learn that the the answer mysticism gives to this question is yes. This would be why Buddhism may be called the pursuit of happiness. In some people's eyes its optimism makes the doctrine of mysticism implausible but this is not a result of logic. Of course it would be impossible to be truly happy in a world full of misery in which our participation is pointless. If it were otherwise mysticism would be redundant, or at least not nearly so popular. But you must admit there's at least an even chance that the world is not like this at all.

I don't understand what thou meanst by optimism here. Is it really impossible to become free from sorrows if there are no chances to practice meditation or prayer or whatever? For example, if tomorrow they will execute me, is it impossible to become happy, even though I am unfamiliar with meditation? Is it impossible for paralysed people to become happy? In general, my question is whether time is necessary for attainment happiness.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 06:59 pm
@Eudaimon,
1. I'm with LWSleeth in all of this - he is exactly correct.

2. There is no word even remotely approximating 'soul' in Buddhism therefore how can the Buddha have denied it? The Anatta teaching says, 'everything is without self (anatta), not that there is no self (this is controversial though.)


Ask, and you shall receive. Knock, and the door will be opened. But if you spend your whole time saying 'what do you mean, ask? Who asks, and what to ask for? Which door? Why knock? What is going to happen? What is behind the door? Will I like it?' you will get nowhere. Which is maybe what you actually want.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 12:49 am
@Eudaimon,
apologies for preaching
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 02:52 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;71238 wrote:
1. I'm with LWSleeth in all of this - he is exactly correct.
2. There is no word even remotely approximating 'soul' in Buddhism therefore how can the Buddha have denied it? The Anatta teaching says, 'everything is without self (anatta), not that there is no self (this is controversial though.)

I saw another thing in LWSleeth's posts. How dost thou understand: "
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."
I don't want to be an interpreter but I understand this words not as denial of existence of the self, but rather statement that it is evil, the thing we should abandon.

jeeprs;71238 wrote:
Ask, and you shall receive. Knock, and the door will be opened. But if you spend your whole time saying 'what do you mean, ask? Who asks, and what to ask for? Which door? Why knock? What is going to happen? What is behind the door? Will I like it?' you will get nowhere. Which is maybe what you actually want.

Hahaha. If I met that preacher from Judaea, I should indeed ask him those question, that's for sure. Seriously, though, is it not evident for thee that ALL our misery and suffering comes from the fact that we accept, where we should doubt? Doubt is the father of truth, those who don't have it live the life as if they were sleeping. Is it not evident for thee? -- People spend time in pursuit for money, prestige, sexual intercourses,.. why? Is it not because they have never doubt in things they are taught by society? They actually do that because they have never questioned themselves whether or not these things really lead to happiness. Thus, so as to understand something, we must abandon all our beliefs, otherwise we shall believe in that very worldly things we say we want to abandon. Why do people start worshipping "spiritual teachers": Christ or Buddha, or whomever? Simply because the majority do that, that the begin of our journey is an acknowledgement that majority knows more than we. And this is again old superstition, old belief.
I shall get nowhere? How dost thou know where I am, and how dost thou know I really need to get somewhere?:a-thought:
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:20 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;71166 wrote:

"30. I bow down to Gautama, whose kindness holds one close, who revealed the sublime dharma in order to let go of all views.", as Nagarjuna said. It would be great if the Buddha really taught that, although I doubt this recalling his self-glorifications: "Supreme I am", "I am not your friend Siddhartha anymore. Now I am the Buddha, the father of all beings" etc. This all actually is aimed at establishing spiritual authority which can never lead to truth. His followers, however, made a new belief from his teachings, emphasising differences from other religions (as it was good represented in jeeprs' article).

I'm afraid I don't understand your reasoning here. What self-glorification? Are you suggesting that the Buddha was concerned with establishing a spiritual authority which can never lead to truth? Do you really think you understand Buddhism well enough to launch these wild accusations? I think you know you do not.

Quote:
Yes. And this understanding is what everyone stays in need: what is he, that is what is good for him. And this knowledge is available not through eastern organised meditation, or better say, not only through it but it comes natural, and everyone can understand that without necessary "sitting quietly, doing nothing" as Ch'an masters say. This can actually come at every time, there is no need in an organised practice.

I'm trying to helful here but you're making it difficult. Is there anything you don't know about Buddhism?

Quote:
I don't understand what thou meanst by optimism here. Is it really impossible to become free from sorrows if there are no chances to practice meditation or prayer or whatever? For example, if tomorrow they will execute me, is it impossible to become happy, even though I am unfamiliar with meditation? Is it impossible for paralysed people to become happy? In general, my question is whether time is necessary for attainment happiness.

The transcendence of time would be necessary for the permanent attainment of happiness. Strange as it may seem, even a paralyzed person would be able to be happy. 'Seek and ye shall find,' it is said, not 'do nothing and it shall be presented to you on a plate.'
0 Replies
 
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 12:40 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;71336 wrote:
I saw another thing in LWSleeth's posts. How dost thou understand: "
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."
I don't want to be an interpreter but I understand this words not as denial of existence of the self, but rather statement that it is evil, the thing we should abandon.


[SIZE="3"]The problem seems to be that you demand to be properly convinced, but some of us are saying that is impossible. I'll get back to that at the end of this post, but let me correct your misinterpretation of my words. I didn't say the self is evil; illusion is a better term (but an illusion that can result in evil, if evil means intentionally hurting others).

Some confusion is added to this discussion because participants aren't clearly distinguishing between the traditional idea of "soul," and what the Buddha meant by "self." To treat the two ideas as the same is a big mistake. A soul is traditionally understood as something far more basic and neutral than self, so neutral that most people don't have trouble imagining all our souls are identical, but that can hardly be said of the self.

One way to see self is to look at a baby, and then look at the same human years later as an adult. Take all the qualities of a baby, subtract them from the qualities of the adult, and you have left much of what the Buddha meant by "self."

Looking at those "adult" qualities, they are almost entirely conditioning . . . stuff we've learned or "acquired," as the Buddha put it; he actually referred to it as the acquired self, and contrasted that with the "unborn, not made" plane of existence we can come to know through samadhi meditation. Included in what conditions consciousness are our body, parents, cultural influences, purposeful training, and all other experiences that shape our minds, and that includes too the self-concept we carry around about ourself.

Now, take all that away and is there anything left? Yes, the pure consciousness that is similar to the baby (I know, even a baby has some conditioning). What the Buddha taught was a way to escape the conditioned self, and to fully reestablish the pure, unconditioned consciousness. So "no self" actually means no conditioning; and if we had to give a name to that pure aspect so alive in a baby, we could call it "soul."

There is one more important point to this, and that is, when the unconditioned experience is achieved, that naturally, effortlessly results in happiness and peace. So, unlike something you said earlier about being happy despite external conditions, it is really that the goal is achieving the happiness that comes from the pure place inside. Because now we've been conditioned to make our happiness dependent on things being a particular way "out there," that is why you see inner practitioners trying to hold to their inner happiness no matter what is going on in the external world. But to correct your misconception, it isn't that you are just supposed to be happy in miserable conditions, it is just that you learn how to achieve an inner experience that naturally results in happiness.

Finally, I said in my opening sentence you seem to want to be convinced, but that is impossible. I say that because of the kind of convincing you keep demanding. It seems to me you want it to all make total sense, which I think is okay (and it should), but even if it all does you won't be convinced there is "something more." Why?

I'll use an analogy. If have lived in the desert all your life, and I tell you that is possible to feel the presence of the ocean if you live near one, you might ask me to explain how it is possible. I could make sense of it by describing what nerves are, how water molecules affect the skin, and so on until it all made sense. However, you would still not know for yourself if it were possible until you went to the ocean.

Maybe that example is a bit mundane because you have so much experience with feeling moisture in the air, but you have no experience with this inner thing, and so you have to imagine it. One thing the inner experience has in common with the ocean analogy is that the inner way is felt. I don't mean emotions, but the way you reach out with your senses to feel the ocean.

In the inner way, however, one reaches inward with feeling, and not senses-type feeling, but the basic, underlying sensitivity of consciousness. As consciousness becomes more still, it also become more sensitive, and as it become more sensitive, it detects more; as it detects the deeper, pure thing, that in turn makes consciousness more sensitive, and then you can feel even deeper.

So this inner path is a feeling/sensitivity path, not a path of reason (even if it can be made sense of). My point is, people can make sense of it to you for the rest of your life, but "reasons" only will satisfy mentality, not the feeling part of a human being that makes him want to find out if there is something more to this existence. Eventually if you want to know if there is anything to the inner way, you will have open up to learning how to feel it.[/SIZE]
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 07:44 pm
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
Doubt is the father of truth


This is true in some ways, and false in others. IN Zen literature, there is reference to what is called 'The Great Doubt'. That is the sense of a kind of mortal realisation that everything you think you know might be a delusion which plunges you into a very deep enquiry. It is also related to scientific discovery.

But then there is the niggling doubt which is just your own ego who is sceptical in a petty kind of way, mainly to defend yourself against having to change anything.

This is much more common (and likely).
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 11:06 pm
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
Take all the qualities of a baby, subtract them from the qualities of the adult, and you have left much of what the Buddha meant by "self."


Quote from Lao Tzu: 'The sage is a learned baby, the baby an unlearned sage'.
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 11:20 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;71623 wrote:
Quote from Lao Tzu: 'The sage is a learned baby, the baby an unlearned sage'.


Good one, I don't recall seeing that before.
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 05:06 am
@Eudaimon,
As for the self, how can it be evil if it does not exist? The Dalai Lama remarks that the self need not be abandoned since it did not exist in the first place. It is a concept that is not to be abandoned because it is evil, but because there is nothing real that corresponds to it.
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 09:28 am
@Whoever,
Whoever;71668 wrote:
As for the self, how can it be evil if it does not exist? The Dalai Lama remarks that the self need not be abandoned since it did not exist in the first place. It is a concept that is not to be abandoned because it is evil, but because there is nothing real that corresponds to it.


[SIZE="3"]I understand his point, though it isn't exactly how the Buddha taught it. Our self beliefs might be illusory, but illusions are real (in the sense that they exist). And if there is evil (the intentional harm of others), then something is the source of it.

Self must exist, if as nothing else, as a belief and concept. What it means to say that self is illusory isn't that it doesn't exist, it refers to our illusion that the conceptual self is a permanent thing, a lasting and singular identity. It's an illusion to believe what has been created by conditioning from a variety of sources identifies what we really are, to believe it is permanence when it is actually impermanence. (Of course, if we listen to consciousness theorists like Dennett, he insists all we are is mind and those conditioned influences, and so would agree it is impermanent and not singular).

My experience is that people cling to it like a life jacket. An experienced meditator once said to a few of us who were listening that it undermines one's practice to pray for deliverance from the dark forest, but at the same time to cling to a tree with all our might. The illusion is so convincing because we are born into it, and then our dependence on the biologically-conditioning aspects are made immediately and rather dramatically apparent. Biology is focused outward, away from the interior being, and from day one we are trained by parents and everyone else to focus on all that is away from our interior core.

When we look at ourselves it is in a mirror, and there we see a body with some color eyes and hair, some body shape etc. we say "that's how I look, that's me." And as we grow we learn to like chocolate and hate okra, and say "I like this and I don't like that." The tastes and revulsions of that "I" become part of what we accept as self. By the time we are adults we've identified so strongly with this collection of influences it is pretty much all we know.

Yet unlike the neuronal theorists, the Buddha taught there is more to us than that "acquired" self. What more is there? Well, the Buddha taught that you can only find the permanent "plane" by going behind all that mind and conditioning to a place inside that is still resides as original existence and then merging/uniting with it. That is exactly what the experience of samadhi is, union with the "unborn" plane. It is an experience of oneness, not a belief or concept about anything whatsoever.

A follower of the Buddha wasn't allowed to call that plane something like "true self" or "soul" because the Buddha knew how tricky the mind is. The next thing you know, students would find a way to accept acquired self as "true" self (such as today when people say they are "spiritual," but really they have just made their acquired self behave in ways that corresponds to what they think spiritual is). He tried to talk about the interior place a neutrally as possible (e.g. as a "plane") so no one could twist his concepts into self-serving philosophy.

Regarding evil, we know humans can at times purposely hurt others. What causes that? The pure thing or the conditioned thing? The part of us that is one with existence, or the part of us that has identified with physical stuff, our desires, our dislikes, etc.? To the extent the self exists (even as an illusion), and that people intentionally cause harm, it seems to me the illusory self is behind whatever evil there is in this world.[/SIZE]
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 11:40 am
@Eudaimon,
Very nicely put. You seem to have just explained why for Buddhist there is no sin, only ignorance. (I'm very sure that the Dalai Lama did not intend to say that self does not exist at all, which is obviously not the case).
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 05:37 pm
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
http://www.diamond-sutra.com/pix/spacer.gif Diamond Sutra

Chapter 3.

"All living beings, whether born from eggs, from the womb, from moisture, or spontaneously; whether they have form or do not have form; whether they are aware or unaware, whether they are not aware or not unaware, all living beings will eventually be led by me to the final Nirvana, the final ending of the cycle of birth and death. And when this unfathomable, infinite number of living beings have all been liberated, in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated." "Why Subhuti? Because if a disciple still clings to the arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, or a universal self existing eternally, then that person is not an authentic disciple."
(Emphasis added).
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:24 am
@LWSleeth,
Whoever;71345 wrote:
I'm afraid I don't understand your reasoning here. What self-glorification? Are you suggesting that the Buddha was concerned with establishing a spiritual authority which can never lead to truth? Do you really think you understand Buddhism well enough to launch these wild accusations? I think you know you do not.

Well, I think none of us can know exactly what he meant, I see, what I see, if I am wrong, correct me. What's the point of saying such words: I am supreme, Buddha, etc., etc. If one knows truth, let him expound that and we shall, whether or not it is true. Nobody can say of himself that he is higher than others.

Whoever;71345 wrote:
The transcendence of time would be necessary for the permanent attainment of happiness. Strange as it may seem, even a paralyzed person would be able to be happy. 'Seek and ye shall find,' it is said, not 'do nothing and it shall be presented to you on a plate.'

I agree. But it is not necessary to follow any teaching, any practrice. In this case, our happiness is indeed dependant on external conditions. What if I there is no guru in my land to teach me meditation, what if there are no appropriate books -- is the way to happiness closed to me forever? What if a certain man, say, Hitler decided to destroy physically all "gurus"? Would it be then impossible to achieve happiness? Will this be a catastrophe, if some aliens or evil G-men erase our memory of Christ, Buddha and all the teachings. See how miserable is it to put happiness in dependance of material conditions like time and space.
Btw. that book I've mentioned above says exactly that we need not put our happiness in dependance of meditation, that it may sometimes be helpful (sometimes harmful also) in development one's mind, yet it is ansolutely not necessary.

LWSleeth;71427 wrote:
Some confusion is added to this discussion because participants aren't clearly distinguishing between the traditional idea of "soul," and what the Buddha meant by "self." To treat the two ideas as the same is a big mistake. A soul is traditionally understood as something far more basic and neutral than self, so neutral that most people don't have trouble imagining all our souls are identical, but that can hardly be said of the self.

To me it is obvious that we are different souls or selves. Thou sayst thou hast practised samadhi 30+ years, whereas I haven't; and thou (not I) hast gained a certain result. Now is it not evident that we are different entities? If I am happy, that does not mean that others are happy also...

[QUOTE=LWSleeth;71427]
Now, take all that away and is there anything left? Yes, the pure consciousness that is similar to the baby (I know, even a baby has some conditioning). What the Buddha taught was a way to escape the conditioned self, and to fully reestablish the pure, unconditioned consciousness. So "no self" actually means no conditioning; and if we had to give a name to that pure aspect so alive in a baby, we could call it "soul." [/quote]
Well, that's the thing that's always baffled me. A baby is a little animal without any difference from kids of other animals. The only difference is that it has some seeds of reason that can be developed. Now, I imagine what would be if we really got back to new-born state, that is become guided by our instincts: we should steal every thing that seems to be pleasurable for us, or rape every pretty girl we meet. Ah such a spiritual life!...
[QUOTE=LWSleeth;71427] There is one more important point to this, and that is, when the unconditioned experience is achieved, that naturally, effortlessly results in happiness and peace. So, unlike something you said earlier about being happy despite external conditions, it is really that the goal is achieving the happiness that comes from the pure place inside. Because now we've been conditioned to make our happiness dependent on things being a particular way "out there," that is why you see inner practitioners trying to hold to their inner happiness no matter what is going on in the external world. But to correct your misconception, it isn't that you are just supposed to be happy in miserable conditions, it is just that you learn how to achieve an inner experience that naturally results in happiness. [/quote]
If I understood the futility and unsatisfactoriness (duhkha) of external things, I do not have desire to have them anymore. That is I become free and happy (which are synonyms). What is more?

[QUOTE=LWSleeth;71427] I'll use an analogy. If have lived in the desert all your life, and I tell you that is possible to feel the presence of the ocean if you live near one, you might ask me to explain how it is possible. [/QUOTE]
Well, I agree with thee when thou art speaking of feelings. To know that something is pleasurable or npt we should indeed try it. Yet I am speaking not about pleasures/ feelings...
[QUOTE=LWSleeth;71754]IRegarding evil, we know humans can at times purposely hurt others. What causes that? The pure thing or the conditioned thing? The part of us that is one with existence, or the part of us that has identified with physical stuff, our desires, our dislikes, etc.? To the extent the self exists (even as an illusion), and that people intentionally cause harm, it seems to me the illusory self is behind whatever evil there is in this world.[/QUOTE]
When we hurt others, do we make them evil?
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 04:57 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;72042 wrote:
Well, I think none of us can know exactly what he meant, I see, what I see, if I am wrong, correct me.

I'm trying.

Quote:
What's the point of saying such words: I am supreme, Buddha, etc., etc. If one knows truth, let him expound that and we shall, whether or not it is true. Nobody can say of himself that he is higher than others.

He did not say he was 'higher' than others, he said that all sentient beings are intrinsically Buddhas. That includes you.

Quote:
I agree. But it is not necessary to follow any teaching, any practice.

Wow. Even easier than golf then.

Quote:
What if I there is no guru in my land to teach me meditation, what if there are no appropriate books -- is the way to happiness closed to me forever?

Not according to Buddhists.

Quote:
What if a certain man, say, Hitler decided to destroy physically all "gurus"? Would it be then impossible to achieve happiness?

Not according to Buddhists.

Quote:
See how miserable is it to put happiness in dependance of material conditions like time and space.

Yes, it's a very bad idea indeed. The Buddha spent forty years or more saying the same thing.

Quote:
Btw. that book I've mentioned above says exactly that we need not put our happiness in dependance of meditation, that it may sometimes be helpful (sometimes harmful also) in development one's mind, yet it is absolutely not necessary.

Necessary to what?
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 10:03 am
@Whoever,
Whoever;72053 wrote:
He did not say he was 'higher' than others, he said that all sentient beings are intrinsically Buddhas. That includes you.

Well, that's only an interpretation, many would disagree with this. Yet even if this is his real view, this doesn't change anything. When someone says: I am Buddha, does it clarify anything to others? How can they know what means to be buddha? Having heard that, they will only ascribe to the teacher some supreme state and worship him, as if he is superior to them, that is found spiritual authority, which is exactly what they did with all buddhas, christs, mohammeds...

Whoever;72053 wrote:
Not according to Buddhists.
Not according to Buddhists
Yes, it's a very bad idea indeed. The Buddha spent forty years or more saying the same thing.
Necessary to what?

Well, look: do I understand thee aright, that spiritual practice like meditation is necessary for attainment happiness, that is inner peace, that is freedom of desire. If yes, I suppose I've shown that this practice, any practice, is dependant on material conditions, and therefore for some people, like those paralysed, or Negroes in Africa, that have never heard of it, or me, who is living very far from those teachers, or for sentenced to death, it is impossible to be happy. I think that seeing that buddhists or even earlier Brahmins in India made up the doctrine of reincarnation, which is very hipocritical, it actually says: "That's not nothing that thy life is so bad and miserable, believe us that sometime after death, if thou art fidel to us, thou wilt attain what thou wilt". And this deceit make people sacrifice their lives, real lives and and ability of being really happy for the sake of these cunning fictions!
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 12:10 pm
@Eudaimon,
Hi,

Quick question. I have seen Buddha referenced many times. When Buddhists reference Buddha, is it implicit and acknowledged that it is an opinion of what Buddha said (e.g. something that has been translated and filtered down through the ages via oral and written transmission), or do Buddhists believe that was is taken as Buddha's teachings are absolutely fact and are recognized universally by all Buddhists?

Thanks.

Rich
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