Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 12:28 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;72122 wrote:
Well, that's only an interpretation, many would disagree with this.

Of course. It's the orthodox view, but you're welcome to adopt another.

Quote:
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?

This is what he spent forty years trying to explain. It's all there in the sutras.

Quote:
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...

It's a risk, yes.

Quote:
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.

The practice is inseperable from the state of being. The practice is the state of being. The state of being is what one is practicing. Arms and legs are not required.

I can never quite see how you reach your conclusions. I agree that staying alive to seek happiness depends on material conditions. How does the rest of your idea follow from this?

Quote:
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!

Clearly this is what you have come to believe. Now all you need to do is develop an argument. I think its best to accept the doctrine as a whole, then examine whether it is systematic and consistent with the known facts, and then make a judgement, in that order.

Shall we agree to differ?

---------- Post added at 07:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:28 PM ----------

richrf;72138 wrote:
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

It would depend on the skill of the practitioner. If it is another Buddha or Arhant then they would know exactly what the Buddha said and meant. If not, then the quality of our interpretation and our understanding will vary, sometimes wildly. On no account, however, under any circumstances, should we take the teachings as fact. Or, we may take them as fact for practical purposes, while remembering that the whole purpose of the practice is to challenge them, as the Buddha encouraged us to do. After all, if we don't know that his teachings are true, then how can we believe they are factual?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 09:29 pm
@Eudaimon,
Hi Rich - re Buddhist Scripture - there is actually a very extensive collection of the Buddha's teachings, in various ancient languages, much of which has now been translated. The story of how these teachings were preserved and assumed their current form is much too extensive to go into here. However they are definitely worth reading. They present the original prototype of 'the civilised discourse' and, while somewhat repetitive in places, are extremely lucid, direct and realistic and are great literature. If you spend some time reading the Suttas (= sayings), you will get a much better understanding of the flavour of Buddhism as it is understood by Buddhists. Try www.accesstoinsight.org for the Pali scriptures.

I should add - the 'Pali' scriptures are those preserved in the Theravada (= 'Doctrine of the Elders') tradition common to Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka. Pali is an early Indian 'vernacular' language. It is nowadays only used in connection with Buddhism. It is a very beautiful tongue.

Subsequently, 'Sanskrit' Buddhism arose in the period from 500-1000 years after the Buddha. Sanskrit is the formal language of the Indian tradition. The Sanskrit 'Sutras' such as Heart Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Lotus Sutra, and so on, are the basis of the Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese forms of Buddhism and the Mahayana schools (= 'Great Tradition'.) Theravadins generally don't recognise Mahayana sutras as actual recorded sayings of the Buddha - they are viewed as philosophical presentations of the inner meaning of the Teaching.

While it is true that the Buddhist tradition is very different to Western religion in that you are invited to 'come and see for yourself', not to rely on rites and rituals, and not to unthinkingly accept dogmas, it is not a matter of what you or I might conjecture. It has a definite meaning and scope and its own methods and style.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 11:20 pm
@jeeprs,
Thanks guys.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2009 02:29 am
@Whoever,
Whoever;72146 wrote:
This is what he spent forty years trying to explain. It's all there in the sutras.
It's a risk, yes.

Why, then, to give any name which is meaningless to others? Is it not better just to speak truth of the world?

Whoever;72146 wrote:
I can never quite see how you reach your conclusions. I agree that staying alive to seek happiness depends on material conditions. How does the rest of your idea follow from this?

Surely, there is difference. To be alive I need some food, shelter etc., and I need to be happy just because I am alive (were I dead, there would be no one to be happy:)). Now, I ask again if I am alive and I stay in those cinditions I have described in my previous post, is the happiness closed to me (in this life!, because I have absolutely no grounds to suppose there will be something after death).

Whoever;72146 wrote:
Clearly this is what you have come to believe. Now all you need to do is develop an argument. I think its best to accept the doctrine as a whole, then examine whether it is systematic and consistent with the known facts, and then make a judgement, in that order.

I used to like this doctrine of reincarnation until I studied the history of India and its caste system, the part of forming of which was that teaching. So don't think I am rationalising my belief.

Whoever;72146 wrote:
Shall we agree to differ?

We may agree to differ in our preferences to food, or colour etc. When we are speaking about truth, we must abandon all our personal opinions.

Whoever;72146 wrote:
If it is another Buddha or Arhant then they would know exactly what the Buddha said and meant.

Will they know all what said and meant man Siddhartha Gautama? How will they know they are in that state, in which he was? Those sutras were written surely not by Siddhartha himself, nor by other "buddhas" and "arhats" and they reflect the view of their authors and not of the Buddha, who had never written anything. That is why they include miracles which are aimed at establishing new belief.
We cannot know anything exactly about others.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2009 04:30 am
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
That is why they include miracles which are aimed at establishing new belief.


Name one! You will find there are no accounts of miracles in the Pali cannon nor in the Mahayana sutras. Challenge you to prove me wrong.
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2009 04:59 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;72396 wrote:
Why, then, to give any name which is meaningless to others? Is it not better just to speak truth of the world?

Most people know that Buddha means 'Awake One' or 'Enlightened One'. It is an honorific, and not too difficult to understand the gist of the intended meaning.

When I started to research mysticism I had the same question. Why, if the doctrine is true, can't people just come straight out and say what it is, without the ambiguous, opaque and paradoxical language. I now know there is no other option. Mysticism uses a language of contradictory complementarity because of the dual-aspect nature of reality. It's nobody's fault that this is difficult to explain.

Quote:
Surely, there is difference. To be alive I need some food, shelter etc., and I need to be happy just because I am alive (were I dead, there would be no one to be happy:)). Now, I ask again if I am alive and I stay in those cinditions I have described in my previous post, is the happiness closed to me (in this life!,

Happiness would be closed to nobody. Full stop.

Quote:

I used to like this doctrine of reincarnation until I studied the history of India and its caste system, the part of forming of which was that teaching. So don't think I am rationalising my belief.

The Buddha didn't like the caste system much either. Not sure what bearing it has on reincarnation though.

Quote:
Will they know all what said and meant man Siddhartha Gautama?

They'll know what he meant, yes. That's the purpose of the practice, to find out what he meant. The idea is to become a Buddha.

Quote:
How will they know they are in that state, in which he was?

One cannot be fully enlightened and not know it. Although, perhaps in a certain sense one can. This is outside my competence.

Quote:
Those sutras were written surely not by Siddhartha himself, nor by other "buddhas" and "arhats" and they reflect the view of their authors and not of the Buddha, who had never written anything. That is why they include miracles which are aimed at establishing new belief.

Who cares who wrote them? I don't. What matters is whether they are true or false, bring us insight etc. Which miracles did you have in mind?

Maybe something to remember here is that Buddhist doctrine has not yet been falsified, so it does not fall easily to casual objections.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 12:03 pm
@Whoever,
jeeprs;72413 wrote:
Name one! You will find there are no accounts of miracles in the Pali cannon nor in the Mahayana sutras. Challenge you to prove me wrong.

Hast thou never heard about an elephant that made Siddhartha's mother pregnant, or 32 or so signs of saint (including the size and horm of ears:)) he had. Or preditction of yogins... Take, for example, this book(it is a compilation of what is "known" of Buddha's life)

Whoever;72415 wrote:
Happiness would be closed to nobody. Full stop.

Thus any established practice is not necessary for it.

Whoever;72415 wrote:
The Buddha didn't like the caste system much either. Not sure what bearing it has on reincarnation though.

Well, I suppose it is very easy to understand. What is the best way to prevent people from fighting for their rights? To proclaim that's to be immoral. Yet the ruling classes went even further: they said: "In this life you should suffer injustice, which was caused by your bad deeds in previous lives. But if you dare to rise against us, you will be reborn in hell!" (How could our "Christian" preaches overlook this opportunity to keep people in obedience?!). That was very sophisticated explanation and that was the reason why India actually did not know civil wars throught its history. The Buddha was raised in that atmosphere and he could indeed reject the caste system, but this groundless belief in reincarnation was retained (so as to instill fear in followers -- the best way to keep civil order!)

Whoever;72415 wrote:
Who cares who wrote them? I don't. What matters is whether they are true or false, bring us insight etc.
That's the purpose of the practice, to find out what he meant. The idea is to become a Buddha.
One cannot be fully enlightened and not know it. Although, perhaps in a certain sense one can. This is outside my competence.

... yet in compentence of those who wrote Pali canon. Was it written by the Buddha? Of course not. It was started many years after his death and weitten not in the language the Buddha spoke. That was written not by enlightened, but by mere mortals, and it was only Theravada was only one tend of olden times that survived. This does not implies, however, that it was true. Thus what is written in its suttas is nothing but a representation of what the Buddha taught by some part of his followers. That is not truer than gosples "accounts" of Christ's life. Thus, to think that ideas expounded surely not by the Buddha. And to think that these are words of the "Enlightened" and teach us the true path I think is impossible supposition.

Whoever;72415 wrote:
Most people know that Buddha means 'Awake One' or 'Enlightened One'. It is an honorific, and not too difficult to understand the gist of the intended meaning.

When I started to research mysticism I had the same question. Why, if the doctrine is true, can't people just come straight out and say what it is, without the ambiguous, opaque and paradoxical language. I now know there is no other option. Mysticism uses a language of contradictory complementarity because of the dual-aspect nature of reality. It's nobody's fault that this is difficult to explain.

How dost thou understand the saying: "If thou meetest the Buddha, kill the Buddha, if thou meetest a patriarch, kill the patriarch"?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:28 pm
@Eudaimon,
Folk traditions are not canonical. Of course people worship images of Buddha in temples, with incense, and pray for the deliverance of their ancestors. This is human nature. None of it is essential to the meaning of the teaching, in my view.

---------- Post added at 01:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:28 PM ----------

Quote:
If thou meetest the Buddha, kill the Buddha,

My understanding of this is to prevent institutionalising the practise, creating images or idols and believing in them, none of which is helpful or germane to the real teaching.
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:33 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;73078 wrote:
Thus any established practice is not necessary for it.

Can't follow your logic here. How do you figure this out?

I'll ignore all the idiotic nonsense. I'd recommend some research.

Quote:
How dost thou understand the saying: "If thou meetest the Buddha, kill the Buddha, if thou meetest a patriarch, kill the patriarch"?

I'm afraid I've never felt qualified to get to the bottom of this one. On a superficial level perhaps it reminds us that we are not different to the Buddha or the Patriarchs. And what Jeeprs said.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:50 am
@Whoever,
jeeprs;73243 wrote:
Folk traditions are not canonical. Of course people worship images of Buddha in temples, with incense, and pray for the deliverance of their ancestors. This is human nature. None of it is essential to the meaning of the teaching, in my view.

Canonical or not canonical it does not matter. The fact is present (I wonder whether thou readst that book), and it means that Buddhists have never rejected any way of propagation of their teaching. If thou thinkst that it was unlike Christianity spreading non-violently, remember how Tibet adopted it when "monks" proclaimed its tyrant and depraver to be the 40th reincarnation of Shakyamuni! Is it not enough to understand that those saints were concerned with establishment of spiritual (and sometimes worldly like in Tibet again) authority. Why didn't monks destroy those myths, why didn't tell people: "Ye are deluded, where there is worshipping, there is no truth!"

jeeprs;73243 wrote:
My understanding of this is to prevent institutionalising the practise, creating images or idols and believing in them, none of which is helpful or germane to the real teaching.

This saying as I see it, is the most precious in all Buddhism. It is even valuable that all what the Buddha taught: all four noble truth and characteristics of reality are little stone compared to this diamond. It actually teaches that we should seek truth only, and take only what is true, regardless of who is speaking. The Buddha said many true things and people made an idol out of his personality and teaching. They started believing that if so much insights are ascribed to him, they should believe in ALL he taught just because he is buddha or patriarch. Therefore the truth is dismissed by authority of whatever kind. We should forget about the Buddha, about Christ or whomever because people pay reverence to THEM not to what they taught. Now, none of those who is taking part in this discussion cannot prove that for example meditation is right. Tell me: dost thou not believe that just because it was taught (let us better say: supposed to be) by the Buddha? Just because he has much authority, more people worship him, is it not?

Whoever;73331 wrote:
Can't follow your logic here. How do you figure this out?

Because if we need established practice for some one who will be executed tomorrow, there is no way to become happy. He just doesn't have time to study that.
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 04:56 pm
@Eudaimon,
I wonder what the moderators here will make of the above post. It seems to me that if this sort of ignorant, arrogant and unrigorous post is allowed then no sensible conversation will be possible.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:14 pm
@Eudaimon,
When you stop window shopping and tyre kicking and actually get in the car and drive somewhere, get back to us then. You might see something new.
0 Replies
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 01:35 pm
@Eudaimon,
I found this thread to be very informative and well debated. What may have been lacking is definitions. One doubt raises many doubts.
The quest should be to relieve oneself from doubts. And Lo, what do you get?
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 02:08 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;97450 wrote:
I found this thread to be very informative and well debated. What may have been lacking is definitions. One doubt raises many doubts.
The quest should be to relieve oneself from doubts. And Lo, what do you get?

The problem with that thread was that we were discussing things on different levels. Some people here are believed to possess mystical power and super-consciousness, therefore any discussion between me, pardon me, I am mere mortal, and them was impossible from its very beginning. They just have another logic, another method which doesn't give place to discourse.
"Believe us or be cursed".
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 11:49 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon;100440 wrote:
The problem with that thread was that we were discussing things on different levels. Some people here are believed to possess mystical power and super-consciousness, therefore any discussion between me, pardon me, I am mere mortal, and them was impossible from its very beginning. They just have another logic, another method which doesn't give place to discourse.
"Believe us or be cursed".


Hi Eud

Its not necessary to judge anyone here. One should accept the fact that logic is a very controversial tool of the human intellect. It is the trouble maker. It takes people into different plains or levels as you put it. It is but possible, just possible that you may not have reached their level or vice versa. :bigsmile:
0 Replies
 
Whoever
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 03:13 pm
@Eudaimon,
I suppose I shouldn't have invoked the moderator. But I couldn't figure out how to reply politely, let alone helpfully, to the post in question. Clearly the writer has no interest in the topics, and I should have bitten my tongue.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2009 05:18 am
@Eudaimon,
Ananda Sutta: To Ananda (SN 44.10)

SN 44.10 PTS: S iv 400
CDB ii 1393

Ananda Sutta: To Ananda
(On Self, No Self, and Not-self)
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"
When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.
"Then is there no self?"
A second time, the Blessed One was silent.
Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.
Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"
"Ananda, if I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self - were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self - were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those priests & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self - were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"
"No, lord."
"And if I - being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self - were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2009 05:42 am
@Eudaimon,
I see now that so-called spiritual teachers have totally deviated from the truth expressed in Buddha's silence to the metaphysical questions. I think that any answer of his would have demanded a big deal of faith. The truth of what God is, of what the self is may only be understood when one has direct experience (even though I don't like that word because many mystics play with it) of what truth is. The Buddha, as I understood him, taught of how the things are. What happens when one understands that is absolutely unimportant for those how doesn't and can be a source of establishing new belief system, new set of deslusions. So his answer is: "Observe the reality, thy actions, and watch what will happen then".
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 01:10 am
@Eudaimon,
But it is nevertheless the case that he founded a spiritual movement, with rules, goals, practises, observance, teachings, and so on, which persists to this day. Is it not?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2009 06:26 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;104231 wrote:
But it is nevertheless the case that he founded a spiritual movement, with rules, goals, practises, observance, teachings, and so on, which persists to this day. Is it not?
Actually it seems like several different spiritual movements.
The Buddha scoffed at metaphysical musings did he not?
The man shot with the arrow?
0 Replies
 
 

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