Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 08:50 am
My understanding of Buddhist belief is that our earthly life is in essence, bad - our spirits are chained to our bodies and our ultimate aim is to break free and reach Nirvana. My problem with this, and excuse me if I seem remiss about Buddhism in a wider and applied sense, is:

how does procreation fit in with this belief system?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,465 • Replies: 33
No top replies

 
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 12:01 pm
@gentryman,
gentryman;86551 wrote:
My understanding of Buddhist belief is that our earthly life is in essence, bad - our spirits are chained to our bodies and our ultimate aim is to break free and reach Nirvana. My problem with this, and excuse me if I seem remiss about Buddhism in a wider and applied sense, is:


I would refer you to this recent thread about Buddhism and pessimism:

http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/5620-buddhism-nihilistic.html

gentryman;86551 wrote:
how does procreation fit in with this belief system?


Without human procreation, reincarnation would lose the form of life best suited for attaining enlightenment. This human form should be treasured.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 01:47 pm
@gentryman,
gentryman;86551 wrote:
My understanding of Buddhist belief is that our earthly life is in essence, bad - our spirits are chained to our bodies and our ultimate aim is to break free and reach Nirvana. My problem with this, and excuse me if I seem remiss about Buddhism in a wider and applied sense, is:

how does procreation fit in with this belief system?


i know what you mean. it would seem to me that if the whole world were buddhist and they wanted to break the cycle of rebirth all they would have to do is stop having children-then everyone would go to nirvana. but i probably dont understand something right...never studied it in depth.

regarding pessimism, there was a troupe of buddhist monks come to visit where i used to live in america who made those mandalas for whatever occasion they do that, and then destroy them-to emphasize detachment i guess. anyway, they sure were a happy group of fellows. giggled like the maharishi all the time!

that about does it for my knowledge and experience of buddhism. we need to hear from some more experts. jeeprs has written a lot, you could check his posts-and right now vajrasattva is in the middle of a series of blogs about buddhism here on our domain.

---------- Post added 08-30-2009 at 01:18 AM ----------

DT-are you sure they believe in reincarnating as animals too?
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 11:28 pm
@gentryman,
gentryman;86551 wrote:
My understanding of Buddhist belief is that our earthly life is in essence, bad - our spirits are chained to our bodies and our ultimate aim is to break free and reach Nirvana. My problem with this, and excuse me if I seem remiss about Buddhism in a wider and applied sense, is:

how does procreation fit in with this belief system?


Hi,

Yes, these are good questions. Lots of how one understands Buddhism depends upon interpretations of the early writings and teachings - and there are lots of different ones available.

Some interpretations makes more sense to me than others, based upon my years of experience with Eastern Philosophies. So, it may take some time, but I would say that if one is looking for reconciliation of ideas, then it does take a good amount of exploration and finding an interpretation that seems reasonable from one's own perspective. This is what I have done.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 12:04 am
@gentryman,
Quote:
Without human procreation, reincarnation would lose the form of life best suited for attaining enlightenment. This human form should be treasured.


That's just the thing, you misunderstood what was being asked.

Here is an example. What if you are destined for a human birth, yet for some reason no humans want to have sex? Or if all the humans are wiped out. Your karma would allow for you to take a human birth yet there is no option to. Therefore karma is not justified because it can not fulfill the "reward" of obtaining the human birth.

It would be like this. You are convicted of a crime and are sent off to prison. You serve your sentence but the upon your release someone comes to you and says, well there is no place for you in society, so sorry, you have to remain here for ever. Lunch will be served at the usual time, so go back to your cell.

In the case in which gentryman is asking it points out a flaw in the theory of karma.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 01:18 am
@Krumple,
Oh, yeah, Krumple - except for the explanations offered thus far.

Salima - Yes, I am certain of that fact.

There is an old proverb: human life is as rare as a single tortoise poking his head above water every ten thousand years; if he pokes his head inside a single tube,perhaps two feet across, that is the same chance as a being has at having a human life. Assuming that tube floats upon a sea-covered planet the size of earth. In other words, human life is rare.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 01:46 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;86824 wrote:
That's just the thing, you misunderstood what was being asked.

Here is an example. What if you are destined for a human birth, yet for some reason no humans want to have sex? Or if all the humans are wiped out. Your karma would allow for you to take a human birth yet there is no option to. Therefore karma is not justified because it can not fulfill the "reward" of obtaining the human birth.

It would be like this. You are convicted of a crime and are sent off to prison. You serve your sentence but the upon your release someone comes to you and says, well there is no place for you in society, so sorry, you have to remain here for ever. Lunch will be served at the usual time, so go back to your cell.

In the case in which gentryman is asking it points out a flaw in the theory of karma.


isnt the reward supposed to be nirvana rather than human life? human life is only valued as a means to an end. why not take the shortcut?

oh...i get it now, so if you havent been enlightened during your lifetime when you die you dont get nurvana. somehow i didnt see it that way, maybe my understanding was wrong. i thought eventually everyone was going to reach nirvana regardless of their experiences on earth or anywhere else.

also, i always felt that karma was not a system of rewards and punishments, but rather a case of cause and effect. consequences have to be faced for one's actions, but there need not be any judgment about whether any sense of morality exists. maybe i am also wrong in my understanding of that. but seen in that light there would be no flaw in the scheme, would there? like for instance in your example, maybe in the case of the prisoner above, jail would then have to be made into a paradise since he had to stay there. in other words, he gets to have whatever he wants, all he can imagine, including the illusion that he is free.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 03:21 am
@gentryman,
Quote:
Oh, yeah, Krumple - except for the explanations offered thus far
I'm not sure what you meant here, unless you mean to say the theory of karma as we currently have it is good enough because we don't have anything better? Hmm so the concept wins by matter of default? Correct me if I'm off.

Quote:
isnt the reward supposed to be nirvana rather than human life? human life is only valued as a means to an end. why not take the shortcut?
I would agree with you, but that is not what DT even says, nor do I think most whom support the idea of karma and rebirth would say is possible. It is why DT says that human life should be "treasured" because it is the only way in which we can "obtain" or "reach" nirvana. If you could by any other realm of existence then being a dog in your next life isn't such a bad thing because you could still reach nirvana. I have never seen this claim ever made within the Buddhist circles. It is only a human birth which allows a being the opportunity for enlightenment.

So if you can not obtain a human birth, then you can never escape the rounds of Samara. No humans, no human birth? Or would you spontaneously spring into being? Would you take a human form but as the offspring of some primate parents?
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 09:05 am
@gentryman,
it's been a long time since I studied these things, but as I recall buddhism may be adhering to what is called the 'transmigration of souls' and that allows incarnation as an animal.
reincarnation also is central in the hindu religion, but I am pretty sure they believe they will be reincarnated as only a human being in better circumstances if they have been righteous and worse circumstances if they have been sinful. this has kept most of the population at bay for centuries, because they dont believe there is any hope of changing their circumstances in the present lifetime. this, along with the misrepresentation of the theory of caste, has allowed a certain segment of the population to retain power, wealth, political control over the majority. and I dont mean to hurt anyone's feelings here, in six years I have not met anyone who actually takes advantage of this-it is a select group of VIP's.
from what I read in the original vedantic texts and also certain interpretations of them, karma is simply the rule of action having ramifications. and what I can remember from buddhism is that ceasing all action, desire, etc is the only thing that will stop the cycle of rebirth. stopping good deeds as well as bad, good thoughts as well as bad-sounds impossible, doesnt it?
I think most of these things have been mistranslated and corrupted both deliberately and through ignorance and negligence, just as the bible has, probably infinitely moreso, and we are really left to try and make sense out of them in the light of logic as best we can.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Aug, 2009 05:31 pm
@gentryman,
Quote:
I think most of these things have been mistranslated and corrupted both deliberately and through ignorance and negligence, just as the bible has


Yes, I am skeptical of just how pure the teachings within Buddhism are. That is why I ask the question, how many Buddhas are there a live today. Because if the teachings lead to enlightenment, then by all means there should be Buddhas. The Buddha didn't have any problem proclaiming his enlightenment but so far everyone else who is asked, rejects the notion. Which seems silly to me. I understand they want to be humble or they don't want a student to become attached to them as a person. If you have achieved, I don't see any problem with giving yourself the label. It just leads me to believe that there really are no living Buddhas.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 01:43 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;86995 wrote:
Yes, I am skeptical of just how pure the teachings within Buddhism are. That is why I ask the question, how many Buddhas are there a live today. Because if the teachings lead to enlightenment, then by all means there should be Buddhas. The Buddha didn't have any problem proclaiming his enlightenment but so far everyone else who is asked, rejects the notion. Which seems silly to me. I understand they want to be humble or they don't want a student to become attached to them as a person. If you have achieved, I don't see any problem with giving yourself the label. It just leads me to believe that there really are no living Buddhas.


i guess the first buddha was ready to die for the sake of telling the truth. he was an innovator, bringing a new light to the world. now it is already here-one has only to follow the way towards it.

i think if anyone is a living buddha today he would not want to disclose that because of what would happen to him if he did. his life would in fact be over and he would have less effect on being able to help anyone or humanity after his true state became known. not to mention that some nut would kill him.

this label has deeper connotations than carpenter or songwriter, and it is almost claiming god-ness... also they would know that having reached that state doesnt entitle them to anything, not praise or fame or money or friends.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 02:09 am
@gentryman,
Quote:
i think if anyone is a living buddha today he would not want to disclose that because of what would happen to him if he did. his life would in fact be over and he would have less effect on being able to help anyone or humanity after his true state became known. not to mention that some nut would kill him.


Well there are many stories dealing with the Buddha and people trying to kill him. One was even his close cousin I believe. But he was always able to persuade them to change their mind, and I assume that all Buddhas would have the same capability.

Regardless I would think the risk is worth it if what Buddhism teaches to be true. What better compassion than to risk one's own life to rescue even one being from the grip of Samara?
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 02:18 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;87059 wrote:
Well there are many stories dealing with the Buddha and people trying to kill him. One was even his close cousin I believe. But he was always able to persuade them to change their mind, and I assume that all Buddhas would have the same capability.

Regardless I would think the risk is worth it if what Buddhism teaches to be true. What better compassion than to risk one's own life to rescue even one being from the grip of Samara?


might have worked in the old days-but today we have high powered rifles.

thanks, i didnt know about the attempts on the buddha's life. i saw what is supposed to be his birthplace in nepal by the way-and even though it can be contested, i can say it sure was an awesome place for some reason or other.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 02:37 am
@gentryman,
Quote:
might have worked in the old days-but today we have high powered rifles.


Alright, well come to think of it, why hasn't the Dali Lama been shot then? He doesn't actually say he is enlightened but many people say that he is just being humble. But even so, he has a huge Buddhist following, surely there would have been someone to do as you theorize? Or does this support my theory? Since he hasn't been attacked.

Quote:
i saw what is supposed to be his birthplace in nepal


I have been there as well, but I didn't get the same impression. At the time of his birth there wasn't a city around, from the sutras it says he was born in the woods of a bamboo grove. But this city claims to be the birth place of the Buddha, and that is all we have to go on. But I didn't feel any nostalgia or metaphysical connection to any of the locations I visited.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 02:56 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;87061 wrote:
Alright, well come to think of it, why hasn't the Dali Lama been shot then? He doesn't actually say he is enlightened but many people say that he is just being humble. But even so, he has a huge Buddhist following, surely there would have been someone to do as you theorize? Or does this support my theory? Since he hasn't been attacked.



I have been there as well, but I didn't get the same impression. At the time of his birth there wasn't a city around, from the sutras it says he was born in the woods of a bamboo grove. But this city claims to be the birth place of the Buddha, and that is all we have to go on. But I didn't feel any nostalgia or metaphysical connection to any of the locations I visited.


maybe he isnt enlightened. i would have thought a lot of people would want to kill him for political reasons, but then again maybe a lot of people want him not to be killed for political reasons. maybe he is being protected? and maybe not enough people care any more. maybe if jesus christ was to come to earth today nobody would crucify him-nobody would listen to him at all.

i also read accounts of someone visiting lumini and not being impressed. i dont know why. maybe something was there the day i was that wasnt there when other people were. i went there without any expectation, thinking it was just something to do while i was waiting to go back home, but i really got a shock when i was there, some really great vibrations.

did you know the authenticity of the place was contested before you went?

but wait a minute, there isnt any city there-just the ruins of the old palace, a big old tree...a huge bath place etc. what city do you mean? what i read later is that certain other places claim he was born there, and it is disputed.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 03:05 am
@gentryman,
Quote:
did you know the authenticity of the place was contested before you went?

but wait a minute, there isnt any city there-just the ruins of the old palace, a big old tree...a huge bath place etc. what city do you mean? what i read later is that certain other places claim he was born there, and it is disputed.


I went in 01 at the peak of studying Buddhism and a completion of a course I was taking at the time. I went with a few friends and a girlfriend who was strongly interested in Buddhism. I don't think anyone actually lived in the city but there were street like areas and buildings and some parts were in ruin but I didn't think it was completely abandoned either. There were quite a few people touring the spot with sprinkled Theravada monks. It was definitely a tourist trap though because nearby were portable shops selling all kinds of Buddhist paraphernalia.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 10:57 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;87063 wrote:
I went in 01 at the peak of studying Buddhism and a completion of a course I was taking at the time. I went with a few friends and a girlfriend who was strongly interested in Buddhism. I don't think anyone actually lived in the city but there were street like areas and buildings and some parts were in ruin but I didn't think it was completely abandoned either. There were quite a few people touring the spot with sprinkled Theravada monks. It was definitely a tourist trap though because nearby were portable shops selling all kinds of Buddhist paraphernalia.


you were definitely in the wrong place then. what i saw was a place that was absolutely peaceful, not a single beggar or hawker. i got photos if you are interested. there is a small imprint in the soil that is covered with a glass case that is supposed to be where the baby buddha was laid though it seems strange to me how anyone would know that. but there was this huge manmade pond like what you see in movies of old time egyptian baths, as huge as the biggest swimming pool, where they said was the family bathing place. and only a bit of the foundation of the palace here and there, with a structure built around it to protect it. renovation is ongoing to keep it from completely decaying. but the minute i stepped into the place it just blew me away.

i was there maybe in 2004 or 5. it is a couple hours drive from the border rown of sonauli, which is every bit as horrible as the internet accounts of it. in fact i got bit by bedbugs in the 'guest house'. nepal itself was a joprrible experience, but for this little side trip i almost didnt make.
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 11:36 am
@gentryman,
If you look at vajrayana buddhism sex is a way to enlighthenment. Hence tantra. Anuttara yoga tantra is the highest path in the vajrayana way. And sex i looked at a way to find the ultimate truth in one lifetime.

Vajrayana is primarly tibetan and that and zen are the most used ways of today.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 12:20 pm
@gentryman,
Quote:
If you look at vajrayana buddhism sex is a way to enlighthenment. Hence tantra.


As much as I would like this to be true, I have always heard that this is a misrepresentation of vajrayana. And the word tantra just means "secret" but not in the sense of it being hidden or kept separate. Instead the word means more like "method" or "way". In other words the secret to riding a bike, is balance. Tantra doesn't mean sex or intercourse or anything sexual for that matter. It is a perversion of the teachings in my opinion. Despite that I would be more than happy to accept enlightenment through sexual gratification but if it were actually true, there would be a LOT more Buddhas than we currently have.
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 08:30 am
@gentryman,
No Guru padmashabhava had a few consorts and sex was and is used as a for of meditation to the end of enlightenment. The idea behind tantra was the idea that worldly pleasures can lead to enlightenment.

Hence all of the deities being in union with their consorts in all of the mandalas

Frankly the fear of talking about sex in religion is a little off puting I dont get it procreation is a beautiful and spiritual thing. Why we feel we cant talk about it i dont know.

but thanks

Vajrasattva
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » A Buddhism quandary
Copyright © 2018 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/18/2018 at 09:42:19