< 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›
 
   
 

Was Gautama Buddha Enlightened?

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
25 January 2016 15:16
 
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 12:16 PM

Yeah, I agree on the Drama point.  And I think I will try with the IMS center as well.


Looks like you can do classes with Joseph Goldstein there, I would totally recommend that! Also, if you are looking to do a retreat later on in your practice, looks like you are a short commuter flight away from Spirit Rock, which is supposed to be amazing and also part of the IMS ‘family’ (I’m not clear on the organizational structure of who runs what but you’ll see a lot of the same names / people teaching there).

 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
25 January 2016 17:30
 
Niclynn - 25 January 2016 03:16 PM
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 12:16 PM

Yeah, I agree on the Drama point.  And I think I will try with the IMS center as well.


Looks like you can do classes with Joseph Goldstein there, I would totally recommend that! Also, if you are looking to do a retreat later on in your practice, looks like you are a short commuter flight away from Spirit Rock, which is supposed to be amazing and also part of the IMS ‘family’ (I’m not clear on the organizational structure of who runs what but you’ll see a lot of the same names / people teaching there).

Thank you! I added that to my list.

So far I have these:

http://deerparkmonastery.org/

Metta Forest Monastery
http://www.watmetta.org/

http://insightsd.org/

http://sandiego.shambhala.org/

The Shambhala center I am not too sure about, mostly because I am not at all “Warrior” centric.  I identify more with Wisdom and Compassion, than Courage and Compassion.

Mostly because I think knowledge/education will change hearts better than force of a warrior.

 

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
25 January 2016 18:00
 
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 05:30 PM
Niclynn - 25 January 2016 03:16 PM
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 12:16 PM

Yeah, I agree on the Drama point.  And I think I will try with the IMS center as well.


Looks like you can do classes with Joseph Goldstein there, I would totally recommend that! Also, if you are looking to do a retreat later on in your practice, looks like you are a short commuter flight away from Spirit Rock, which is supposed to be amazing and also part of the IMS ‘family’ (I’m not clear on the organizational structure of who runs what but you’ll see a lot of the same names / people teaching there).

Thank you! I added that to my list.

So far I have these:

http://deerparkmonastery.org/

Metta Forest Monastery
http://www.watmetta.org/

http://insightsd.org/

http://sandiego.shambhala.org/

The Shambhala center I am not too sure about, mostly because I am not at all “Warrior” centric.  I identify more with Wisdom and Compassion, than Courage and Compassion.

Mostly because I think knowledge/education will change hearts better than force of a warrior.


Sounds like you’ve done some research! The other centers I’m not familiar with, but Insight San Diego and Spirit Rock I would recommend. I think the important thing in spiritual practice is just to stay grounded. I remember once, when I first got really into it, some jackass commenter told me to “Hurry up and die”. While I still feell that particular dude should seek professional help, I got his general point. At some point striving for ‘heavenly’ experiences becomes akin to striving for death (in the words of one girl who experienced an NDE that sounds similar to your experience - “Life is for living and the Light is for later”.) I think that “other worldly” orientation is a serious trap - the teacher I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes before a meditation, he would just reach down and touch the ground with his fingertips. I thought that was a good reminder of what kind of mindset to bring into meditation - as my teachers said over and over - “What’s known now?”.

 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
25 January 2016 18:34
 
Niclynn - 25 January 2016 06:00 PM

Sounds like you’ve done some research! The other centers I’m not familiar with, but Insight San Diego and Spirit Rock I would recommend. I think the important thing in spiritual practice is just to stay grounded. I remember once, when I first got really into it, some jackass commenter told me to “Hurry up and die”. While I still feell that particular dude should seek professional help, I got his general point. At some point striving for ‘heavenly’ experiences becomes akin to striving for death (in the words of one girl who experienced an NDE that sounds similar to your experience - “Life is for living and the Light is for later”.) I think that “other worldly” orientation is a serious trap - the teacher I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes before a meditation, he would just reach down and touch the ground with his fingertips. I thought that was a good reminder of what kind of mindset to bring into meditation - as my teachers said over and over - “What’s known now?”.

*nod*  Thank you, that is good advice.

I am also not so interested in the “afterlife”/rebirth/karma idea, etc. (Though I think rebirth could be possible, based on some of the obscure things I have read; even Sam Harris has some “faith” in that.(Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation))  The thing that interests me is that it (the philosophy) closely ties, to what I think, is “good” morality. Meaning I think it (compassion, and no-self) will help humanity in the long run.  (Taking off the stuff we are talking about in the other thread.)

And aside from that, No-Self, Samsara, Indra’s Net, Dependent Origination, etc, if all moved into the now, make logical sense when looking at our current understanding of reality.

As I mentioned I am a huge nerd; Knowledge has been my refuge.

Here are some things I think Buddhists would find interesting:

Life’s Rocky Start
Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/life-rocky-start.html

Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a hellish place—a seething chaos of meteorite impacts, volcanoes belching noxious gases, and lightning flashing through a thin, torrid atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. But how? NOVA joins mineralogist Robert Hazen as he journeys around the globe. From an ancient Moroccan market to the Australian Outback, he advances a startling and counterintuitive idea—that the rocks beneath our feet were not only essential to jump-starting life, but that microbial life helped give birth to hundreds of minerals we know and depend on today. It’s a theory of the co-evolution of Earth and life that is reshaping the grand-narrative of our planet’s story.

It shows interconnections between rocks and life. Rocks, and the right environment, spawns simple life, simple life spawn more complex rocks, and more complex rocks spawn more complex life.  In other words, dependent origination in action.

As I mentioned, Indra’s Net is pretty close to how someone might describe quantum physics.  The Dalai Lama agrees:

Quantum Physics & Madhyamika Philosophy-1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUkLLy0TSYw

Samsara: Conformal cyclic cosmology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformal_cyclic_cosmology

No self: The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity
http://www.amazon.com/The-Self-Illusion-Creates-Identity/dp/0199988781

Now, I know this would seem like I am “excited” about it since it seems to be as though I am obsessed, and also a bit free in over sharing; the thing is I work in the science field(Computer Science is my major), so this knowledge is something I have known for a while. (I am not actively seeking it)  I just did not know Buddhism had parallels. That part is exciting, and I am putting that energy into reading/exploring it. wink

[ Edited: 25 January 2016 20:05 by SkyPanther]
 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
26 January 2016 08:29
 
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 06:34 PM

Now, I know this would seem like I am “excited” about it since it seems to be as though I am obsessed


PS… Can’t resist another word of advice on this, since I can have a similar mindset when I am focused on a topic (At a yoga retreat I went to, the teacher talked about how when she was a child, her mother would distract her from toys she wanted at the store by saying “We’ll come back for it later”, and how this is analogous to keeping the mind from getting attached to thoughts. I was like “Hmm. By the time I was about two years old, my mother would have to carry me kicking and screaming away from something if I really wanted it, and she said if she let me out of my stroller even hours later, I immediately knew what direction that thing was in and would go running away from her after it without a glance backwards.) You will hear a lot of talk about “letting go” and “impermanence” in Buddhist circles, which at first glance seems like bad news for a hyper-focused mindset. The trick, I’ve found, is to remember that no teacher will tell you to let go of practice itself. No one will say “Hey, let go, wander out the door, do whatever, take up smoking if that speaks to you, hell, take up heroin, then kind of walk around until you end up somewhere or other.” Like a lot of things in eastern philosophy, it’s paradoxical - let go, but don’t let go of practice. So I think you’ll find that kind of energy will serve you well, but it’s a matter of making sure you channel it in the right direction.

[ Edited: 26 January 2016 08:52 by sojourner]
 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  15844
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
26 January 2016 08:46
 
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 05:30 PM
Niclynn - 25 January 2016 03:16 PM
SkyPanther - 25 January 2016 12:16 PM

Yeah, I agree on the Drama point.  And I think I will try with the IMS center as well.


Looks like you can do classes with Joseph Goldstein there, I would totally recommend that! Also, if you are looking to do a retreat later on in your practice, looks like you are a short commuter flight away from Spirit Rock, which is supposed to be amazing and also part of the IMS ‘family’ (I’m not clear on the organizational structure of who runs what but you’ll see a lot of the same names / people teaching there).

Thank you! I added that to my list.

So far I have these:

http://deerparkmonastery.org/

Metta Forest Monastery
http://www.watmetta.org/

http://insightsd.org/

http://sandiego.shambhala.org/

The Shambhala center I am not too sure about, mostly because I am not at all “Warrior” centric.  I identify more with Wisdom and Compassion, than Courage and Compassion.

Mostly because I think knowledge/education will change hearts better than force of a warrior.

 

An addition: http://ipst.dragontrainings.com/

 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
26 January 2016 09:02
 
Niclynn - 26 January 2016 08:29 AM

I’m not 100% following you on your general point here (You’re excited about the parallels between science and Buddhism and want to see what that could mean about the nature of reality, I guess?), but either way, I am a believer in the idea that you should sort of utilize whatever aspects are motivating to you personally in practice - they will help you through the times when it gets dull, tedious, difficult, etc. If the more academic side of such topics speaks to you, btw, this is an awesome conference you might consider checking out: http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu

Yes, the bolded is exactly right, the meaning of it, is only made interesting to me because it is not “out there” (as in, not new agey, not that I fault other people for finding meaning in that).  But I have always been scientific/trial and error, etc, minded.  So discovering that there is a religion/philosophy that is on the same wavelength, is the exciting part.

The Buddha said a few times that people should temper faith with wisdom, and to test out all the things he is talking about.  That idea is rare in religions. A lot of them are purely faith based.  So seeing things like this:

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”  - Dalai Lama

Is really, really meaningful to me.

The consciousness conference (and the research/hypothesis of it, namely by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose) is something I have been following for a few years (about the time I got my “OMG” moment).  But I was doing it for a very different reason.  I was researching Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning neural networks (how the current AI’s learn).

I think Orch OR is a really interesting/promising hypothesis. And, interestingly, there was a recent discovery that lends it credence:

Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116085105.htm

But I do get your point, I should have a more equanimous state of mind in general, when I am learning. I do tend to go overboard with that.

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
26 January 2016 11:09
 
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 09:02 AM

But I do get your point, I should have a more equanimous state of mind in general, when I am learning. I do tend to go overboard with that.


What I was talking about was more the fact that if you don’t summarize, I’m not sure what your intent or general point is in listing a group of links (i.e., “Look at X, Y, and Z, I think these are interesting because...”)

 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
26 January 2016 11:22
 
Niclynn - 26 January 2016 11:09 AM
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 09:02 AM

But I do get your point, I should have a more equanimous state of mind in general, when I am learning. I do tend to go overboard with that.


What I was talking about was more the fact that if you don’t summarize, I’m not sure what your intent or general point is in listing a group of links (i.e., “Look at X, Y, and Z, I think these are interesting because...”)

Ahh, ok;  Yeah, they were just links from scientific journals/sites that have some relevance to core Buddhist concepts.

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
26 January 2016 12:42
 
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 11:22 AM
Niclynn - 26 January 2016 11:09 AM
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 09:02 AM

But I do get your point, I should have a more equanimous state of mind in general, when I am learning. I do tend to go overboard with that.


What I was talking about was more the fact that if you don’t summarize, I’m not sure what your intent or general point is in listing a group of links (i.e., “Look at X, Y, and Z, I think these are interesting because...”)

Ahh, ok;  Yeah, they were just links from scientific journals/sites that have some relevance to core Buddhist concepts.


Oh, ok, gotcha. I think Buddhist psychology was extremely advanced for the time it was created; I don’t think they developed other scientific concepts per se (could be wrong on that), although the general philosophy and way of looking at data in Buddhism is, as I understand it, more compatible with things like quantum physics than some more traditional paradigms.

 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
26 January 2016 12:50
 
Niclynn - 26 January 2016 12:42 PM
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 11:22 AM
Niclynn - 26 January 2016 11:09 AM
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 09:02 AM

But I do get your point, I should have a more equanimous state of mind in general, when I am learning. I do tend to go overboard with that.


What I was talking about was more the fact that if you don’t summarize, I’m not sure what your intent or general point is in listing a group of links (i.e., “Look at X, Y, and Z, I think these are interesting because...”)

Ahh, ok;  Yeah, they were just links from scientific journals/sites that have some relevance to core Buddhist concepts.


Oh, ok, gotcha. I think Buddhist psychology was extremely advanced for the time it was created; I don’t think they developed other scientific concepts per se (could be wrong on that), although the general philosophy and way of looking at data in Buddhism is, as I understand it, more compatible with things like quantum physics than some more traditional paradigms.

*nod*... I think Buddha’s way of seeing the world, and the similarities of Indra’s Net and Quantum Physics, is really appealing to a scientific mind, I think this is why Sam Harris is pretty much (more or less) a Buddhist in all but name, and why he wants to “Kill the Buddha”.

For instance, this is from a finding published recently:

Solving hard quantum problems—everything is connected
http://phys.org/news/2016-01-hard-quantum-problemseverything.html


And I agree, I think the psychological understanding was way ahead of its time. It was/is more of a cosmic worldview, instead of a self-centered one.

[ Edited: 26 January 2016 13:03 by SkyPanther]
 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
27 January 2016 19:52
 
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 12:50 PM

*nod*... I think Buddha’s way of seeing the world, and the similarities of Indra’s Net and Quantum Physics, is really appealing to a scientific mind, I think this is why Sam Harris is pretty much (more or less) a Buddhist in all but name, and why he wants to “Kill the Buddha”.

For instance, this is from a finding published recently:

Solving hard quantum problems—everything is connected
http://phys.org/news/2016-01-hard-quantum-problemseverything.html


And I agree, I think the psychological understanding was way ahead of its time. It was/is more of a cosmic worldview, instead of a self-centered one.


I looked up Indra’s net - it’s a cool analogy for consciousness, although I think you have to be careful in extrapolating too much from those kinds of metaphors (there are similar ones in other traditions, like shamanic traditions, I think). One can, using reason alone, make inferences about how the world might or even probably work given the observable conditions (A pet peeve of mine is that Western thinking tends to come back to “something from nothing”, brush the dust off its hands and say “Whell, makes sense to me. Moving on.” Eastern thinking tends to resolve this by positing that the world is sort of real, akin to virtual reality.) But a kind of symbolic folklore based on deduction and the intricacies of science are quite different, so I think it’s easy to read those things like horoscopes or Rorschach tests and see them as superbly aligned when they may represent more of a basic paradigm. Sorry, don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm, just my thoughts.


I did like the theme of connection in Indra’s Net, though. I have been thinking about this recently, as there is a lot of emphasis on emptiness and impermanence in Buddhism. I feel kind of guilty admitting it (like Buddhist blasphemy, ha ha,) but a part of me hears that and goes “So… everything is fleeting and intangible and is going to dissolve in the universal equivalent of .0000001 seconds anyways, including me? Um… yay I guess? Is that supposed to be a yay? I’m not feeling the yay, but I want to be a team player here. Yaaaaaaaay.” (Waves pom pom really half-heartedly).


Anyways, with a lot of things in spirituality, I kind of tuck it away in the back of my mind and say, “It’ll make sense to me when it makes sense to me”. So after this last retreat I went to, I had the ending scene from the movie “Mama” stuck in my head (Don’t laugh - the plot reads like it was written by an angsty tween, but the cinematography is beautiful.) One sister dissolves a ghost with The Power Of Love, but in the process she gets all dissipated and turned into purple butterflies (I told you the script was tween-ish). The other finds herself tethered to her adoptive mother, who is holding on to the belt of her robe with almost her last breath, and then uses all her strength to hold her feet to the ground as they watch the other two disappear into thin air. I couldn’t exactly put to words what this represents to me, but in general I get it - it can’t all be about impermanence, about watching fleeing emotions, sensations, and actions dissipate into fragments that fly away. There is a flip side to every coin in Buddhism, and I think there’s a flip side to impermanence as well - maybe that would be connectivity and interdependence. I like the Indra’s Net metaphor because even if the ‘jewels’ are meant to be conceptual and not literal constructs, it creates an image of something that is solid through interconnectedness, while always changing. Without some nihilism, this connectivity would never be possible because every ‘bad’ thing would be real in some ultimate way. Without the connectivity, the nihilism would be unbearable.

 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
28 January 2016 09:37
 
Niclynn - 27 January 2016 07:52 PM
SkyPanther - 26 January 2016 12:50 PM

*nod*... I think Buddha’s way of seeing the world, and the similarities of Indra’s Net and Quantum Physics, is really appealing to a scientific mind, I think this is why Sam Harris is pretty much (more or less) a Buddhist in all but name, and why he wants to “Kill the Buddha”.

For instance, this is from a finding published recently:

Solving hard quantum problems—everything is connected
http://phys.org/news/2016-01-hard-quantum-problemseverything.html


And I agree, I think the psychological understanding was way ahead of its time. It was/is more of a cosmic worldview, instead of a self-centered one.


I looked up Indra’s net - it’s a cool analogy for consciousness, although I think you have to be careful in extrapolating too much from those kinds of metaphors (there are similar ones in other traditions, like shamanic traditions, I think). One can, using reason alone, make inferences about how the world might or even probably work given the observable conditions (A pet peeve of mine is that Western thinking tends to come back to “something from nothing”, brush the dust off its hands and say “Whell, makes sense to me. Moving on.” Eastern thinking tends to resolve this by positing that the world is sort of real, akin to virtual reality.) But a kind of symbolic folklore based on deduction and the intricacies of science are quite different, so I think it’s easy to read those things like horoscopes or Rorschach tests and see them as superbly aligned when they may represent more of a basic paradigm. Sorry, don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm, just my thoughts.


I did like the theme of connection in Indra’s Net, though. I have been thinking about this recently, as there is a lot of emphasis on emptiness and impermanence in Buddhism. I feel kind of guilty admitting it (like Buddhist blasphemy, ha ha,) but a part of me hears that and goes “So… everything is fleeting and intangible and is going to dissolve in the universal equivalent of .0000001 seconds anyways, including me? Um… yay I guess? Is that supposed to be a yay? I’m not feeling the yay, but I want to be a team player here. Yaaaaaaaay.” (Waves pom pom really half-heartedly).


Anyways, with a lot of things in spirituality, I kind of tuck it away in the back of my mind and say, “It’ll make sense to me when it makes sense to me”. So after this last retreat I went to, I had the ending scene from the movie “Mama” stuck in my head (Don’t laugh - the plot reads like it was written by an angsty tween, but the cinematography is beautiful.) One sister dissolves a ghost with The Power Of Love, but in the process she gets all dissipated and turned into purple butterflies (I told you the script was tween-ish). The other finds herself tethered to her adoptive mother, who is holding on to the belt of her robe with almost her last breath, and then uses all her strength to hold her feet to the ground as they watch the other two disappear into thin air. I couldn’t exactly put to words what this represents to me, but in general I get it - it can’t all be about impermanence, about watching fleeing emotions, sensations, and actions dissipate into fragments that fly away. There is a flip side to every coin in Buddhism, and I think there’s a flip side to impermanence as well - maybe that would be connectivity and interdependence. I like the Indra’s Net metaphor because even if the ‘jewels’ are meant to be conceptual and not literal constructs, it creates an image of something that is solid through interconnectedness, while always changing. Without some nihilism, this connectivity would never be possible because every ‘bad’ thing would be real in some ultimate way. Without the connectivity, the nihilism would be unbearable.

Interesting, I saw Mama a while ago, was a pretty freaky movie… hehe…

As for Indra’s Net, and modern science, I agree, It could totally just be seeing things that aren’t there. But it is fun to think about.

As for nihilism and eternalism, Buddha had this to say:

(3) Held by Two Kinds of Views

“Monks, held by two kinds of views, some devas and human beings hold back and some overreach; only those with vision see. “And how, monks, do some hold back? Devas and human beings delight in existence, are delighted with existence, rejoice in existence. When the Dhamma is taught to them for the cessation of existence, their minds do not enter into it, acquire confidence in it, settle upon it, or resolve upon it. Thus, monks, do some hold back. “And how, monks, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same existence and they rejoice in nonexistence, saying, ‘In as much as this self, good sirs, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is just so!’ Thus, monks, do some overreach. “And how, monks do those with vision see? Here, a monk sees what has come to be as having come to be. Having seen it thus, he practices the course for disenchantment, for dispassion, for the cessation of what has come to be. Thus, monks, do those with vision see.”

The Dalai Lama; Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2005-08-10). In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) (pp. 215-216). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

So neither is “true”.  From my point of view, I see “emptiness”, a bit different, in Western thought empty has a negative connotation. Joseph Goldstein had an interesting talk about it:
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/9071/

To me, empty means no self. Events are “empty” in that they are not intrinsically meaningful, unless we give them meaning.  But, we, ourselves are also intrinsically “empty of self”.  As for the concept of nirvana, which is “end of suffering”, it is both eternal, and not eternal.

So long as your mind-stream does not desire existence, it will remain in nirvana. But, also, “will not come back in this round of samsara” is interesting, it could mean that when this round of existence is over, and the next one starts, “you” (a mind-stream) would come back again, to start it all over again. (tying it in with modern science, I would say this could be inferring Conformal cyclic cosmology, or other theories of a universal cycle).

 

[ Edited: 28 January 2016 10:10 by SkyPanther]
 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
28 January 2016 18:09
 
SkyPanther - 28 January 2016 09:37 AM

As for Indra’s Net, and modern science, I agree, It could totally just be seeing things that aren’t there. But it is fun to think about.


I didn’t mean to imply it’s an either-or dichotomy where it’s true or it’s not - just that even if there are many elements of truth in it, it’s easy to go overboard in how much truth, or how specific a truth there is. I find myself going down that path sometimes, where I see Buddhist philosophy as ‘just so wise’ and think “Ok, well, they had the ‘four elements’ instead of modern chemistry, but maybe those will sort of symbolically line up with types of quarks or something… and the geography doesn’t match actual geography now that we have more or less mapped the globe, but it might be more a geography of something like the form world that’s symbolic of consciousness…” It’s easy to get out over your skis there. The thing is, whatever awareness the Buddha had, he didn’t write scientifically prophetic tomes on chemistry, biology, evolution, etc., and I think that’s actually important one way or the other (i.e., maybe it shows the limits of knowledge but maybe, more importantly, it shows what topic, specifically, Buddhist philosophy sets out to teach about).

 

As for nihilism and eternalism, Buddha had this to say:

(3) Held by Two Kinds of Views

“Monks, held by two kinds of views, some devas and human beings hold back and some overreach; only those with vision see. “And how, monks, do some hold back? Devas and human beings delight in existence, are delighted with existence, rejoice in existence. When the Dhamma is taught to them for the cessation of existence, their minds do not enter into it, acquire confidence in it, settle upon it, or resolve upon it. Thus, monks, do some hold back. “And how, monks, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same existence and they rejoice in nonexistence, saying, ‘In as much as this self, good sirs, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is just so!’ Thus, monks, do some overreach. “And how, monks do those with vision see? Here, a monk sees what has come to be as having come to be. Having seen it thus, he practices the course for disenchantment, for dispassion, for the cessation of what has come to be. Thus, monks, do those with vision see.”

The Dalai Lama; Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2005-08-10). In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) (pp. 215-216). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.


Oh gawd Gautama, really?! It’s like he was the anti-Lakoff of his time, coming up with the dullest and most blah vocabulary possible in order to drive away any potential thrill seekers. Geez louise, disenchanted dispassionate and cessation, is it any wonder Christianity started eating up religious market share a few hundred years later? On the other hand, I just started reading the biography of Ramakrishna, and I must say, seeing as how he seems kind of like the Elton John of spirituality, perhaps this was the environment the Buddha was operating in (at an earlier time). No one can accuse Ramakrishna of being boringly stoic, he was jumping around like a monkey slapping people whilst meditating on Hanuman and having fits of rapture like all the time. So perhaps this tradition was more the norm and Buddha was going “All right, all right, you know what people, just calm the frick down and let’s meditate for a minute, ok? Less about the visions and more about the nature of reality, ok?”.

 

So neither is “true”.  From my point of view, I see “emptiness”, a bit different, in Western thought empty has a negative connotation. Joseph Goldstein had an interesting talk about it:
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/9071/

To me, empty means no self. Events are “empty” in that they are not intrinsically meaningful, unless we give them meaning.  But, we, ourselves are also intrinsically “empty of self”.  As for the concept of nirvana, which is “end of suffering”, it is both eternal, and not eternal.

So long as your mind-stream does not desire existence, it will remain in nirvana. But, also, “will not come back in this round of samsara” is interesting, it could mean that when this round of existence is over, and the next one starts, “you” (a mind-stream) would come back again, to start it all over again. (tying it in with modern science, I would say this could be inferring Conformal cyclic cosmology, or other theories of a universal cycle).


I’m never clear on what the Buddha’s sort of endpoint was (or if it’s an anti-endpoint - you always hear the “everyone’s already enlightened” saying around Buddhism). If you do not desire anything, after all, you don’t desire existence but you also don’t desire non-existence, so what the resulting outlook would be there I’m not sure. And to say that “I” won’t come back into samsara is also an egocentric view, presupposing an “I” that is like “See ya suckers! Have fun suffering, I’m outta here!”, so presumably he didn’t mean you get to jet set off to some timeshare vacation realm either, a la the idea of (at least a more literalistic) ‘heaven’. The paradox is that there’s such a focus on spreading awareness ‘outwards’ away from the self in Buddhism, so that the question of what ‘enlightenment’ is has very different answers depending on who you suppose that concept applies to.

[ Edited: 28 January 2016 18:18 by sojourner]
 
 
SkyPanther
 
Avatar
 
 
SkyPanther
Total Posts:  91
Joined  20-01-2016
 
 
 
28 January 2016 18:50
 
Niclynn - 28 January 2016 06:09 PM

Oh gawd Gautama, really?! It’s like he was the anti-Lakoff of his time, coming up with the dullest and most blah vocabulary possible in order to drive away any potential thrill seekers. Geez louise, disenchanted dispassionate and cessation, is it any wonder Christianity started eating up religious market share a few hundred years later? On the other hand, I just started reading the biography of Ramakrishna, and I must say, seeing as how he seems kind of like the Elton John of spirituality, perhaps this was the environment the Buddha was operating in (at an earlier time). No one can accuse Ramakrishna of being boringly stoic, he was jumping around like a monkey slapping people whilst meditating on Hanuman and having fits of rapture like all the time. So perhaps this tradition was more the norm and Buddha was going “All right, all right, you know what people, just calm the frick down and let’s meditate for a minute, ok? Less about the visions and more about the nature of reality, ok?”.

LOL… I know what you mean, but I actually like Buddhism *because* it is so dispassionate. There is a calm understanding of things as they are.  And likewise, you care for people that are suffering, calmly.

It is interesting, I had a thought recently, the three main western religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)  seem to be about cultivating desire for life, or wanting to go to an “afterlife” which is still a desire for existence. While the three Eastern faiths, (Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism), is about no desire, no returning, etc…

So the west comes out looking more materialistic, and the east more spiritual.  Not that I think either is “better”, but sort of an interesting duality/interdependence.

Niclynn - 28 January 2016 06:09 PM

I’m never clear on what the Buddha’s sort of endpoint was (or if it’s an anti-endpoint - you always hear the “everyone’s already enlightened” saying around Buddhism). If you do not desire anything, after all, you don’t desire existence but you also don’t desire non-existence, so what the resulting outlook would be there I’m not sure. And to say that “I” won’t come back into samsara is also an egocentric view, presupposing an “I” that is like “See ya suckers! Have fun suffering, I’m outta here!”, so presumably he didn’t mean you get to jet set off to some timeshare vacation realm either, a la the idea of (at least a more literalistic) ‘heaven’. The paradox is that there’s such a focus on spreading awareness ‘outwards’ away from the self in Buddhism, so that the question of what ‘enlightenment’ is has very different answers depending on who you suppose that concept applies to.

This is an interesting question. And I think depends on who you ask, because he spoke about both aspects.

On the one hand, in Theravada, the ultimate end goal is to reach nirvana, and escape existence in samsara. (This is what all the Monks, and Arhats try to reach).  We all have Buddha nature, but our “wrong views” cloud us from realizing it. So his teachings are meant to dispel the wrong view, and change it to “right view”.

Enlightenment is the goal because living in Samsara is ultimately unsatisfactory. 

When Buddha gained enlightenment he said he did what had to be done, and he did it for all living things; but then he realized that most living things would not “get it”, so he was thinking about not teaching his discovery, until a Deva (and this could just be symbolic) asked him to, saying that while most may not understand it, some have “little dust” in their eyes.

Now, Mahayana came into the picture, and changed the “goal” a bit, In Mahayana Buddhism the Bodhisattva is the ideal. The ultimate goal is not only of one’s own liberation in Buddhahood, but the liberation of all living beings.  They believe that once you “awaken”, or win stream-entry, every rebirth you will either realize what is true again, or essentially be a “good” person, and make existance better for all living things.  They believe that when you take the vow, and follow it, you are a Bodhisattva in all other lives.

There is a book that I think you might like also, I am also reading it in conjunction with the Pali Canon:

For the Benefit of All Beings: A Commentary on the “Way of the Bodhisattva”, by H.H. the Dalai Lama
http://www.amazon.com/Benefit-All-Beings-Commentary-Bodhisattva/dp/1590306937

Which is actually from:
The Way of the Bodhisattva: (Bodhicaryavatara)
http://www.amazon.com/Way-Bodhisattva-Bodhicaryavatara-Shambhala-Classics/dp/1590303881

.... which was written by Shantideva, an 8th century Indian Monk.

[ Edited: 28 January 2016 18:53 by SkyPanther]
 
 < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›