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[P]
A Quick Overview of Buddhism

By Ta bu shi da yu in Culture
Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:01:40 PM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

The Buddhist community is one of the largest growing groups of believers in the world today. It is especially gaining interest in the West where people are searching for alternatives to traditional religion.

What proceeds is an attempt at giving a brief overview of Buddhist history and teachings. Please understand that Buddhism is a large and complicated area to research and because there are many different understandings of Buddhism what I've written here may not apply to everyone. Indeed, because this is really an overview I have only really scratched the surface!


Background to Buddhism

Buddhism in it's purest form is essentially a philosophy, not a religion. Man is the highest authority, there is no God (well, not in terms that a Christian or a Muslim would understand or agree with at any rate) and the doctrine itself is fairly malleable and changeable. Indeed it seems that impermanence is a built in feature of Buddhism which some have argued is great because it stops fundamentalism from occurring.


Major types of Buddhism

Though there are many offshoots from Buddhism, there appears to be three main schools of thought in Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhists who from what I can tell are more liberal yet have more scripture, Theravada Buddhists who appear to be more traditional and stricter yet have less scripture to rely on, and Vajarayana Buddhism which is the most popular type of Buddhism in Tibet and which flows from Mahayana Buddhism.

Potted History of Buddhism

Buddhism was started in India by a man called Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha was born in about 566 BC and was the son of a tribal chief of a clan in southern Nepal. He was born a Hindu and as a Kshatriya. When he was born it was prophesied that he would become a king if he stayed at home or a great sage and the saviour of humanity if he left.

Siddhartha's father didn't wish for his son to leave home - he wanted him to be a king and follow in his footsteps so he determined to keep him from religion. Siddhartha grew up surrounded by riches and luxury and knew only pleasure. He bested all suitors for the hand of his beautiful wife. He lived in palaces. He was shielded from any pain or ugliness by his father so that he would not experience human misery and suffering.

But Siddhartha was a clever man and soon became restless with his idle life of luxury. He wondered what else there was to life so he demanded to see the outside world. His father gave in to his demands and allowed him to see the outside world, yet he was cunning and he tried to make it so that only young and healthy people should see him. Unfortunately for his father, this is not what happened.

During his tour of the outside world Siddhartha came across four sights (also known as the "Four Passing Sights") that left a lasting impression on him:

  1. Some old men. He had never seen old and decrepit people and so he was shocked. He went after them to find out more...
  2. Some very ill people. He came across these people when he was trying to find out more about the old men. Needless to say, this was even more shocking as he had never known or seen illness before.
  3. A funeral party by the side of a river. Needless to say this was the most shocking for him!
  4. Finally, he came across a traveling monk who had given up all the pleasures of the flesh. His face was so serene it gave Siddhartha pause and stayed in his thoughts for a long time.

Siddhartha had learned some simple truths which he had been shielded from before: we all get sick, old and die. He decided to abandon his old life and devote himself to working out a way to end suffering. His initial method was to emulate the traveling monk and was extreme: he denied all pleasure and followed a life of extreme asceticism. From what I've read this wretched state nearly killed him. What saved him was that one day he heard someone speak about the strings on a musical instrument: if a string is too tight it will break and be ruined. If it is too loose you cannot make beautiful music. Siddhartha applied this to his own existence and formulated the idea of the Middle Way: do not deny the physical body totally and yet do not live life to indulge the body's every whim.[1]

Siddhartha meditated on this problem for quite some time under a Bodhi tree and eventually came to a full understanding of the concept of reincarnation and enlightenment. After this he became known as "Buddha" or "enlightened one". Eventually he started teaching his philosophy and gained quite a following, as can be seen still to this day.

The Teachings of Buddha

Karma

This is the force that "judges" all people. My limited understanding of this concept is as follows: if you do good then you will receive good back to you. If you do bad then bad things will happen to you. At the end of the day Karma basically follows the principle of cause and effect. The more bad you do, the more bad Karma you accumulate. The more good you do, the more good Karma you accumulate.

What I have learned is that Karma is not the same as fate. Fate cannot be changed but Karma can be changed and influenced by a person. Karma is based entirely on what you think: if you think good thoughts you will do good actions and thus receive good Karma. If you think bad and degrading thoughts then your actions and words will be bad also: again you will receive bad Karma.

The way you receive good Karma (also known as merit) is interesting: you can give a monk some food, act in a moral manner or perform some good deed. Preaching and chanting can also give you merit.

Reincarnation and the Ten Realms of Being

Hang in there, things get tricky hereon!

Reincarnation is the transferral of the soul to another state of being once death occurs to a being. One person I know said this about Buddhism: Buddhism teaches that it is ignorance that leads people to believe the illusive idea there is only one life which will be followed by everlasting paradise or torment.

There are ten states or realms of being. They exist on a scale of importance or desirability:

  1. Buddha

    Buddha is the at the top of the chain. At this stage you are an enlightened one. At this stage you have reached Nirvana.

  2. Bodhisattva

    This is the state of being that Siddhartha Gautama was in before he reached Buddhahood. Beings that reach this realm basically exist on earth in a state where they are enlightened yet remain on earth to teach others and perform great acts of wisdom, generosity, joy and compassion toward other beings.

    A bodhisattva is literally a person who has attained enlightenment, and would enter Nirvana if they wished. The thing is, they don't wish it. They deliberately reincarnate themselves so they can continue to help people achieve enlightenment. In Buddhism they are the ultimate sacrificers.

    This concept was developed by Mahayana Buddhists to explain how Buddha was able to teach enlightenment without actually having gotten to Nirvana.

  3. Pratyekabuddha

    These are those beings who worked hard and managed to achieve enlightenment. They are different from Buddhas, however, as they only worked at this to achieve their own ends and so aren't on the same level as what's commonly known as the "Buddha of Compassion".

    Another way of putting it: these beings achieved self-enlightenment.

  4. Sravka

    These are the direct disciples of Buddha. These people are seeking the truth through learning. Beings at this stage are free from avarice, malice and other corrupting influences of the world.

  5. Heavenly beings

    Beings in this state are in a realm of pleasure and ecstasy. This is only a temporary state, however, as the feeling wears off and goes away as the being progresses through life.

  6. Human beings

    This is the normal state - the state that you and I are currently in. In this state Buddhists learn how to control their environment, have self-control and just generally exist in the world.

  7. Asura

    This is the realm of anger and hostility. Beings in this realm are sometimes called "fighting spirits", "ogres" or "titans". They are enemies of the Gods and are characterised by a desire for control over others.

  8. Beasts

    Beings who reach this realm are governed by instinct. They are sometimes said to exist in a state of "Animality". They have a badly defined sense of right and wrong and they seem to follow the survival of the fittest mentality. They'll take advantage of the weak and stay away from the strong.

  9. Preta

    Also known as "hungry ghosts" and exist in a transitory state between earth and hell. They are called hungry because they have "tiny mouths and huge stomachs". Beings in this realm are consumed by overwhelming desire and are tormented by their unrelenting cravings.

  10. Hell

    This is realm consists of hellish beings or men of depraved minds. These beings are in utter subjugation to despair and have no freedom to exist as anything other than beings of total suffering.

Nirvana

No, this is not the band. This is the state of liberation from the continuous cycle of life and death. Beings that reach this state have reached ultimate enlightenment - in other words they have become a Buddha. They are free from suffering and pain and no longer feel the desire that caused the suffering in the first place.

Dharma

In the context of Buddhism, this refers to the teachings of Buddha. As far as I can tell it's been borrowed from a Hinduism. Dict.org defines Dharma as the basic principles of the cosmos; also: an ancient sage in Hindu mythology worshipped as a god by some lower castes.

The Middle Way

The Middle Way leads to calm and enlightenment and then to Nirvana. As I already said in my potted history of Buddhism it's developed on the principle of balance: you cannot totally deny yourself and yet at the same time you cannot totally indulge in pleasures. The concept of the Middle Way involves the Four Noble Truths which in turn involves the Noble Eight-Fold Path.

The Four Noble Truths

There are four Noble Truths to life that must be understood before a Buddhist can reach Nirvana:

  1. All is suffering
  2. Desire is the cause of suffering
  3. To end suffering you must remove desire
  4. To end desire you must follow the Noble Eight-fold Path

The Noble Eight-fold Path

To remove desire a Buddhist must have the following:

  1. Right Views (samma ditthi)

    The samma ditthi is the learning and understanding of Buddhism. It can be defined as two parts, the saccanulomika-sammaditthi and the saccapativedha-sammaditthi:

    a. saccanulomika-sammaditthi - the correct conceptual understanding of the Dharma by reading the Buddha's teachings

    b. saccapativedha-sammaditthi - understanding gained from from your own experiential insight. It is gained through meditation and experience.

  2. Right Intent (samma sankappo)

    The decision to renounce all desire in order to reach enlightenment.

  3. Right Speech (samma vaca)

    Buddhists believe that they must not lie, slander or talk abusively to others. This really ties in with the concept of Karma - if you abuse others you earn bad karma and this is not a good thing.

  4. Right Action (samma kammanto)

    Through your own efforts one must refrain from doing bad things. Things like harming other living beings, having inappropriate or harmful sexual relations and theft are bad actions. Buddhists refrain from these things.

  5. Right Livelihood (samma ajivo)

    This involves not working in unethical areas. Prostitution, gambling occupations, slaughtering animals and other jobs that are deemed as immoral are not classed as living with a right livelihood.

  6. Right Effort (samma vayamo)

    Right effort is the maintaining of discipline so that the Buddhist doesn't go against right intent, right speech, right action or right livelihood. Buddhists must show their resolve in the face of temptation!

  7. Right Mindfulness (samma sati)

    This involves keeping to the Noble Eight-fold Path. Which is sort of weird as this would be implied anyway so why does it need to be here? It really should be the Noble Seven-fold Path...

  8. Right Concentration (sama samahdi)

    To be able to follow the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight-fold Path a Buddhist must meditate. This allows a Buddhist to have Right Concentration.

Further Information on Buddhism

Though this is not an exhaustive list of links and references for further information, I found them useful when I put this story together.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
ISBN: 0062508342 (Paperback), 0062507931 (Hardcover)

Buddhanet
Google directory on Buddhism
Google directory on Buddhist meditation
Readings in Theravada Buddhism
The Pali Canon
Information on Mahayana Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
The Discourse on Right View
Extract from "The Sects of the Buddhists", Davids. T. W. Rhys, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1891 (pp.409--422)

and last but not least,

Zazen: The Fundamental Meditation of Zen by jjayson!

1. I've also found reference to a girl who went over to Siddhartha Gautama and insisted that he eat some food. At this point he suddenly realised that such extreme self-deprivation wasn't the way.

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Poll
Buddhism
o Wrong 14%
o Immensely complicated and convoluted 11%
o A great framework to live your life by 74%

Votes: 105
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Google
o Kshatriya
o Middle Way
o 1
o Nirvana
o "tiny mouths and huge stomachs"
o band
o basic principles of the cosmos; also: an ancient sage in Hindu mythology worshipped as a god by some lower castes
o potted history of Buddhism
o Four Noble Truths
o Noble Eight-Fold Path
o Noble Eight-fold Path
o Karma
o The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
o Sogyal Rinpoche
o Buddhanet
o Google directory on Buddhism
o Google directory on Buddhist meditation
o Readings in Theravada Buddhism
o The Pali Canon
o Informatio n on Mahayana Buddhism
o Tibetan Buddhism
o The Discourse on Right View
o Extract from "The Sects of the Buddhists"
o Zazen: The Fundamental Meditation of Zen
o jjayson
o Also by Ta bu shi da yu


Display: Sort:
A Quick Overview of Buddhism | 494 comments (478 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Corrections (3.40 / 5) (#1)
by epepke on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:06:22 AM EST

Purist->purest

What's up with this double colon stuff?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Couldn't work out a better way to do headings... (4.00 / 2) (#3)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:11:38 AM EST

Thanks for the feedback though!

Will change that spelling mistake...

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

OK, double-colons removed. (nt) (4.00 / 2) (#4)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:17:30 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
I don't understand... (1.95 / 22) (#2)
by Dinner Is Served on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:06:26 AM EST

This article never even mentions Jesus Christ. Am I missing something?
--
While I appreciate being able to defend against would-be rapists who might suddenly drop in from the sky, I don't appreciate not being able to see the Northern Lights. -- mfk
Jesus Christ is a half wit (1.81 / 11) (#27)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:19:49 AM EST

He died for a bunch of twits that wear felt bowls on their heads and cut of masses of genitalia in ceremonial fashion. He has no place in modern religion other than as a pariah. Not even Vishnu will sit with him at lunch anymore, and we all know how hard-up that guys is for friends.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (5.00 / 3) (#30)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:45:49 AM EST

If you are going to troll, could you at least be accurate?

What is K5 coming to these days?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Kids today. (5.00 / 4) (#108)
by ObviousTroll on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:09:44 PM EST

Why when I was a lad, trolls this bad were taken out back and beaten!

And they liked it!


Somewhere in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
types of buddhism (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by dzimmerm on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:53:38 AM EST

I thought the two main schools of buddism where Mayayana and Hinayana. I leaarned that a long long time ago in elementary school.

That was over 35 years ago so things may have changed or I may have remembered incorrectly.

dzimmerm

Well, there really are three. (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:58:01 AM EST

Vajarayana Buddhism is a form of Tibetan Buddhism. It was established after the Theravada and Mahayana forms of Buddhism. As I said, it really flows from Mahayana Buddhism.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

hinayana (4.66 / 3) (#13)
by dzimmerm on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:48:24 AM EST

A quick search on google assured me I did indeed remember hinayana. Hinayana is the "lesser vehicle" which has only one surviving group which is the Theravadin school you mentioned. My memories of my great religions course are coming back. Mahayana was more of a pomp and ceremony type of buddism while Hinayana was more concerned about Buddah as a man and his teachings. Hinayana was more of a walk the walk and talk the talk rather than a build another temple and worship Buddha as a god that Mahayana leans toward.

From what I recall Buddha did not want godhood. He thought of himself as a man with some good ideas. Were not his last words something along the lines of "Seek your own philosophy". Humans seem to like to have their deities though.

dzimmerm

[ Parent ]

Something I haven't covered in the article... (none / 0) (#16)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:14:02 AM EST

... (as with a lot of other Buddhist related things) is the different sects in the three major schools.

For more info have a look at my links section, in particular "The Sects of the Buddhists".

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

'Hinayana' (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by silk on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:57:18 PM EST

The term 'Hinayana' is actually considered quite offensive.  Early Western scholars thought that it translated more along the lines of 'small vehicle' or 'lesser vehicle.'  In reality, it's something more like 'shitty vehicle' or 'trashy vehicle' or even 'gutter vehicle.'  Please, please, please don't use this term to refer to Theravada.  Indeed, Theravada is just one surviving school of the original form of Buddhism.  There were once 18 distinct philosophical schools, prior to the rise of Mahayana. Eventually, all but Theravada died out.

[ Parent ]
Sorry if I offended anyone but (none / 0) (#128)
by dzimmerm on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:53:21 PM EST

I am only reporting what I was taught and if I change my report to reflect someones idea of political correctness then my report is not as accurate as it could be.

Do you have any links or other information that pertains to the meaning of hinayana?

If viewed from the aspect of the mahayana where appearence is more important I could see mahayana thinking of anything less than their way as being lessor, or gutter or bad.

I would guess the hinayana followers would pity the mahayana followers for their lack of insight.

dzimmerm

[ Parent ]

No offense (5.00 / 1) (#258)
by silk on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:53:24 PM EST

I'm not in any way offended!  I'm just conveying what the professor of my Buddhist Philosophy class said.  Check this for pejorative:  http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinayana

[ Parent ]
Not all humans :-) (none / 0) (#272)
by losthalo on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:51:51 PM EST

"When you speak the name of the Buddha, wash out your mouth."

(Losthalo)

[ Parent ]
Two schools (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:48:03 PM EST

The "three school" view is an invention of the Tibetans to make them feel important.  Most non-Tibetan Buddhists say there are only two schools.  In the two-school view the Tibetans fall in the Mahayana school.

The division between the two schools is clear and rougly as follow:  The Theravadins belong to the school that believes that Buddhahood can only be reached through personal effort.  The Mahayana school believes that good Buddists can pray for the betterment of the whole world.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

four schools actually (5.00 / 1) (#157)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:42:29 AM EST

Actually, in Tibet Mahayana got mixed with the local religion (some form of shamanism) and with some tantric practices (which were imported from India wholesale with the buddhist teachings) that perhaps it is correct to define Vajrayana as a third major current.

And then there's Zen buddhism, active in Japan. For all practical purposes, it looks, walks, flies and quacks like a whole new different school.

So, i'll say there are actually four major currents now in buddhism, with a larger number of smaller divisions.

[ Parent ]

It's all very complicated. (none / 0) (#182)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:22:41 AM EST

Which is why I only wrote a little bit about this in the story. In fact, this is a story all on it's own. It's just waiting to be written by someone...

Now I have a headache. Has someone got an asprin?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Headache cure (none / 0) (#383)
by dzimmerm on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 03:07:40 AM EST

After some searching I found this link which verifies a memory I had about reading this in the original Last Whole Earth Catalog back in the early 1970's.

http://members.tripod.com/keiserb/head.html

Give it a shot if you want, :) .

dzimmerm


[ Parent ]

Two schools (4.80 / 5) (#127)
by epepke on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:46:11 PM EST

One that says that there are two schools of Buddhism, and one that says that there are some other number of schools of Buddhism.

But seriously, if Buddhists can get their knickers in a twist over whether you say that there are two schools or three (or five or pi), it pretty much blasts the snot out of everything else Buddhists say about Buddhism. "I'm detached as as all fuck, buddy, but don't you never be countin' none of those poseur Tibetans as a separate school of Buddhism or I'm gonna get medieval on your ass!"

If Buddhists aren't able to get over trivial puerile bickering like this, just what exactly is the point? Even Western rationalist stinky people like me seem to have figured out that dividing things into schools is nothing more than an artifact of expostulation. Two schools, three, eight, or ten--it depends on what kind of differences you're trying to highlight and nothing else. And, in the words of Frank Zappa, ultimately, who gives a fuck anyway?

It's the old adage. No matter how peace-loving and tolerant and open a religion is, people inevitably turn it into a justification for being pisswads. Not to mention hacking each other to bits, which Buddhists have done more than once.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Yes, we need the Buddha in the Middle East! (2.66 / 9) (#7)
by United Fools on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:56:34 AM EST

All the masses in the Middle East need Budda's involvement. When the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims see the Buddha coming, maybe they will finally come together to resist the newcomer.
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Aha. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:01:03 AM EST

Alrighty then!

I knew it would be a mistake to release this on a Sunday. The troll to normal poster ratio is far too high.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

ob. south park quote (4.73 / 15) (#12)
by zephc on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:47:28 AM EST

"You need to spend time alone to find the balance, the middle ground, that's what I always do because I am a Buddhist." - God

Reading recommendation (5.00 / 3) (#14)
by Prominairy on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:49:56 AM EST

    I would like to recommend the following book as a source of information on Tibetan Buddhism and particularly on its views on dying and how that might affect our views on living.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
ISBN: 0062508342 (Paperback), 0062507931 (Hardcover)


-~-~-~-~--~-~-~-~--~-~-~-~--~-~-~-~-
"Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching."

Sir, (none / 0) (#15)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:58:20 AM EST

Consider yourself added!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

+1FP, READING FROM TEH EN TEE POST (1.60 / 10) (#18)
by rliegh on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:45:03 AM EST


This will get attached to your comments. Sigs are typically used for quotations or links.
The Buddhists killed the only son of Allah! (1.63 / 11) (#25)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:07:30 AM EST

I say burn them all!

It tastes sweet.
er... (none / 0) (#26)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:10:20 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Haiku (2.35 / 14) (#34)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:33:30 AM EST

Jesus died for Jews
There is no God but Allah
Buddha is just fat

It tastes sweet.
A Haiku (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:53:43 AM EST

Cold voting queue
Murmur of derision
Front Page


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Haiku (2.87 / 8) (#36)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:58:15 AM EST

I do not like you
Eat a sack of flaming shit
Learn to write Haiku

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
But where is the season? (nt) (none / 0) (#37)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:58:52 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Flaming shit is a season [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:02:12 AM EST

Isn't it?

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
I suppose it depends where you live. (nt) (none / 0) (#39)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:07:32 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
I'm sure it's a season in California (none / 0) (#40)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:09:24 AM EST

It rains from the sky for the better part of a year.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
I'll have to take your word for it. (none / 0) (#41)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:13:08 AM EST

I'm on the other side of the world.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Ah yes, But it's a small world, after all (none / 0) (#42)
by debacle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:13:59 AM EST



It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
Somebody stop me! (none / 0) (#129)
by epepke on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:54:07 PM EST

Disney plastic dolls
Stinky summer corporate cheese
Still smarter than most


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
"It rains from the sky" (1.00 / 1) (#63)
by zephc on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:35:45 PM EST

As opposed to raining from the ground?

Anyway, It's clear and blue out today here in California, and usually doesn't start raining till November or December,

I'm curious as to why everyone seems to derisive towards California?  Are you people stuck in Bumfuck, Iowa just jealous, or what?

[ Parent ]

What's wrong with California: (5.00 / 3) (#74)
by mcgrew on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:29:56 PM EST

Tofu. RIAA. MPAA. Ronald Reagan (also what's wrong with Illinois). No smoking. No walking. Vegans. Hollywood stars. Must I go on?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

What's wrong with California: (none / 0) (#158)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:44:53 AM EST

Geeks. Too many damn geeks.

[ Parent ]
The reason is (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by KnightStalker on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:36:44 PM EST

These days, half the people in Bumfuck, Iowa fled there from California, bought a mansion or a ranch for half what they sold their SF flat for, driving up local property values (and thus taxes for people who had no intention of selling), continued to drive like madmen on roads that are used to seeing a few tractors a day, imported a Starbucks, and spent the rest of the time sneering at the locals.

[ Parent ]
Haiku (none / 0) (#98)
by epepke on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:25:53 PM EST

It rains from the sky
California flaming shit
Almost all the year


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Obligatory reference. (none / 0) (#211)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:32:42 AM EST

The Walrus and the Carpenter!

I owe it all to Kevin Smith.

[ Parent ]
Buddhists will one day rule the world. (3.83 / 6) (#44)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:54:38 AM EST

We'll show you all. With our compassion, tolerance and seeking of enlightenment, we will break your will to serve our needs.

Our meditation techniques will dominate all competitors, even the much overhyped sleep, due out in about 5 minutes. Yawn.

Kharma is on our side.

You want to know the only colour that you'll one day see, which will drive you mad all over the world?

Saffron.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

so true (none / 0) (#47)
by bankind on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:49:34 PM EST

just look at Burma/Myanmar.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Some corrections (4.83 / 6) (#45)
by igny ignoble on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:31:40 PM EST

Buddhists generally don't use the word reincarnation, which is a Hindu concept.  Instead the term rebirth is used.  Specifically, Buddhism makes no mention of a individual soul and one might say the individual self is an illusion, rather that everyone and everything in the universe is one.  Enlightenment then is the realisation of the oneness of everything.

You might look at dictionary.com's version of Dharma which gives a more complete meaning in reference to Buddhism.  Dharma generally refers to a teaching, but has other meanings as well.

Indeed. (none / 0) (#53)
by boelder on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:42:13 PM EST

Soul and Buddhism - never the twain shall meet...  

-b

[ Parent ]

correction to correction (none / 0) (#159)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:54:51 AM EST

You are correct in most of your observations. But:

Enlightenment then is the realisation of the oneness of everything.

That is a quite non-buddhist statement; there are some fairly powerful New Age overtones to it, actually (if you pardon my suspicion).
There cannot be a "oneness" of everything, since everything is impermanent and does not exist by itself, according to buddhism. True, according to some schools (tibetan mostly), you might argue that That Which Is Beyond is the source of everything, hence the "unity". But it's a rather contrived affirmation, and it's not something that's too central to buddhist dogma anyway.

A more accurate version would be: "Enlightenment then is the realisation that Nirvana (illumination) and Samsara (the Universe, the worldly existence) are one and the same." Or at least that's the Vajrayana version of it.
A more Theravadin definition would be: "Enlightenment is the end of suffering."

[ Parent ]

Here's a more detailed explanation of what I mean (none / 0) (#401)
by igny ignoble on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 04:12:35 PM EST

It's not that everything is necessary one.  It's that all things are interdependent and manifestations of cause and effect.  Another way of saying this is that enlightenment is to go beyond cause and effect.

[ Parent ]
Hmm. Nevermind. (2.75 / 4) (#46)
by porkface on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:47:46 PM EST

Buddhist Ethic #7:

To abstain from dancing, singing, music and entertainments as well as refraining from the use of perfumes, ornaments and other items used to adorn or beautify the person
--
Squeal like a pig, boy!

that's for monks (4.75 / 4) (#51)
by jrz on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:36:21 PM EST

if you don't live in a monastery you only have to observe the first 5 precepts.
there is no idea so good that it can't be ruined by a few well-placed idiots.
[ Parent ]
Only the first five are for lay followers (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by igny ignoble on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:38:03 PM EST

You needn't observe precepts for monks unless you wish to become one.

[ Parent ]
Read the rest of the article. (4.50 / 2) (#55)
by Haelo on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:53:51 PM EST

As the other two posters said, half of those rules are for the devout who have chosen to become monks and dedicate their lives to the path and helping others find it. They are not necessary for an ordinary person, and would probably be harmful because without the work and community of the monk's life, they would grow weary and dull.

But you should read the rest of the article as well. It goes on to explain how and why these rules were designed, and how they have changed over the years to accomodate evolving customs and culture. For instance, not taking food after noon was originally followed because the monks were supported by the people of the village for their food. They only collected what they needed to survive, and they did not want to thus hamper the villagers in their work after noon.In today's world it is no longer necessary for them to rely upon the villagers, and so the rule of not eating after noon has been relaxed to mean not eating in between meals, which is sound advice anyway.
A.
[ Parent ]

I see (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by porkface on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:02:53 PM EST

It is refreshing to see a religion that is more flexible than dogmatic. Didn't Buddha also say something akin to: these teachings are not set in stone; if you find a better way, follow it.
--
Squeal like a pig, boy!
[ Parent ]
A five for porkface... (none / 0) (#78)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:55:09 PM EST

... who's decided that he'll actually contribute to Kuro5hin!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Ta (none / 0) (#90)
by porkface on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:33:14 PM EST

I have you to thank. Your article has set me upon a different path. I will be busy reading the articles in the links you provided.
--
Squeal like a pig, boy!
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (none / 0) (#183)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:27:37 AM EST

I'm not sure how to take this. I'm a Christian, not a Buddhist. This means that I just set you on the path to Buddhism!

Oh no!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

yes (none / 0) (#160)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:58:47 AM EST

Buddha went on and even said that the Dharma (the buddhist religion) is something which exists in the world, hence it is an aggregate of causes and effects, hence it is not eternal, hence it will cease to exist one day.

Quite a few people seem to agree that buddhism is the most tolerant religion, and it is to be admired for that. That includes some notorious militant atheists such as the science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke.

[ Parent ]

1 to 5 OK, but this list is controversial (none / 0) (#226)
by Alan Crowe on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:56:38 AM EST

1 to 5 are basic to Buddhism. They are the five precepts that one chants when one chants the refuges and precepts.

Buddhism is full of lists. Listing things is a useful memorisation technique. This particular list of 8 has caught on. It is the one I was taught in school when religion education got to other religions and did a lesson on Buddhism, except that the point about 6,7, and 8 being special behaviour for holy days got lost.

This list of 8 has been criticised for two reasons. First the point about 6,7, and 8 being add-on for holy days is always getting lost. It would make much more sense to expand on the first five, all-the-time precepts, rather plunging in to details of extra rules for holy days. Second, the last three are a later addition. We may speculate that at some point a Buddhist leader got pissed off at holy days turning into carnivals with candy floss and dancing girls, and tacked on some extra rules. It hurts Buddhism to foreground such parochial details.


[ Parent ]

Wish I'd been awake to +1FP this (4.33 / 6) (#48)
by Kasreyn on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 12:54:14 PM EST

Very interesting and well written, good job ta bu shi da yu (can I call you "tabu" for short? :-P).

I've said it before, if I were going to go back to being religious, I think Buddhism would be me only option. As far as I can tell it's the only one that doesn't want to go all-out making me believe in bullshit supernatural entities. Plus the goal of ending suffering is a noble one (though all religions *say* their goals are such noble things).

Mostly, I just like Buddhism because you don't see Buddhist fanatics crashing planes into buildings, or selling "blessings" on TV.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Not really fanatical but... (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:55:01 PM EST

Mostly, I just like Buddhism because you don't see Buddhist fanatics crashing planes into buildings, or selling "blessings" on TV.

Apparently you haven't seen footage of the Viet Namese monks self immolating in the 60's.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

Thought that was political protest? (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by Kasreyn on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:26:47 PM EST

you know, what with white people coming over from thousands of miles away and randomly butchering every "gook" in sight? I never heard it had anything to do with Buddhism. I heard that they were monks, yes. Are monks not allowed to protest politically?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Protest, yes. Be violent, no. (none / 0) (#144)
by thaths on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:14:49 AM EST

Everyone, even monks, can and should protest politically. No doubt about that. If you recall, I was not saying that the GIs were Buddhist. I was saying that some Buddhists were violent. Violence against onself is still violence. And pouring gasoline on oneself and calmly setting fire to oneself is pretty fanatical IMO.

Thaths
PS: BTW, I don't know why you go off on a tangent. And incidentally, the monks were not protesting against the Americans. They were protesting against the South Vietnamese president Diem.

[ Parent ]

Fuck, self immolation's worth a 5 from me (4.00 / 2) (#131)
by Lin Dze on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:08:04 PM EST

Those were some hardcore monks. And if youll notive they didnt light other people on fire. It was a self sacrifice in protest of the religious persecution being carried out by the US backed puppet regime.

Anyways, Self Immolation != {Crusades, Suicide Bomber}

-Lin Dze
"Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley
[ Parent ]

Agree, but... (none / 0) (#146)
by thaths on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:17:08 AM EST

Self Immolation != {Crusades, Suicide Bomber}

True, but....

Self Immolation == Fanatism.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

Also (5.00 / 2) (#147)
by epepke on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:29:46 AM EST

It doesn't mentioned the people who set themselves on fire in India in protest of a beauty pageant. Not because of any indecency on the part of the participants, but because Indians might see clothes on television that they could not afford. That's just a spectacular case of self-imposed eugenics.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Next on Indias Funniest Home Videos... N/T (none / 0) (#366)
by Lin Dze on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:20:03 PM EST



-Lin Dze
"Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley
[ Parent ]
Thanks! (none / 0) (#79)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:56:41 PM EST

I appreciate the sentiments :)

Woohoo! My first FP stroy!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Stroy? (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:12:36 PM EST

I must submit more of them. When I find out what they are!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Not just a FP story (5.00 / 3) (#107)
by localroger on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:08:17 PM EST

This was the distilled essence of good K5 FP story. Researched, reasoned, good length, interesting, on a topic most of us don't think about very much but is relevant and of interest.

I studied Buddhism in college as but your diary reminded me again what it stood for more effectively than several other sources I've run across recently. Next time you get the urge to research something, please share again.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

Thanks!!! (nt) (none / 0) (#196)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:43:12 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
generalization (5.00 / 1) (#123)
by bcrowell on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:56:11 PM EST

Mostly, I just like Buddhism because you don't see Buddhist fanatics crashing planes into buildings, or selling "blessings" on TV.
Not all buddhists are the same. When my stepfather's mother died, he had a huge argument with his family about the funeral. Some people in the family really wanted an expensive, traditional buddhist funeral, which my stepfather thought was superstitious, wasteful, ignorant, and immoral. Seems very similar to "selling blessings." Some buddhists are very hung up on big fancy temples and elaborate ritual -- reminds me of catholicism in the middle ages.

OTOH, I know at least one person who is very quietly, seriously interested in buddhism, but just doesn't pay attention to the mumbo-jumbo.


The Assayer - book reviews for the free-information renaissance
[ Parent ]

more to the point (1.33 / 12) (#50)
by stilch on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:23:49 PM EST

If you're going to troll can you do it without seeming like a freakin' Southern Baptist? Asshat.

WHBT (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by mcgrew on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:25:44 PM EST

...by YOU! It was an insightful article, and seemed well researched. Just because YOU don't like it doesn't make it a troll.

But since you either a) don't believe what you yourself wrote; or b) are an etard, then YOU are the troll.

And since I responded, IHBT. HTH. HAND. moo.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I take this as a compliment, not being a Buddhist. (none / 0) (#80)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:57:57 PM EST

Cheers!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Yeah, now about desire... (4.33 / 3) (#57)
by Vesperto on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 01:56:24 PM EST

Ok, so you cannot totally deny yourself and yet at the same time you cannot totally indulge in pleasures. But desire is a "fundamental" pleasure. Humans without desire are pretty much vegetable-like. Granted desire-overflow is bad (kinda like leads to the 7ds), but totally eliminating it? Doesn't that go against the Middle Way, in a way? Are budhists celibate?

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
Differentiate between needs and wants (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:12:29 PM EST

Humans without desire are pretty much vegetable-like. Granted desire-overflow is bad, but totally eliminating it? Doesn't that go against the Middle Way, in a way?

I agree with you. According to my interpretation of the Buddha's teachings, we must cultivate the ability to distinguish between wants and needs. That is the middle path. The difficult thing is where to draw the line between wants and needs. Is is society/religion/the sangha that dictates where the line is? Or is it up to each one of us to decide where the line lies.

Are budhists celibate?

Not the lay Sangha. The monks are supposed to be.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

And monkhood is not life-long (none / 0) (#61)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:16:58 PM EST

I forgot to mention that monk-hood is not necessarily life-long. Many people in SE Asia enter "temporary" monkhood for at least a couple of years of their lives. In the past, the wats provided the only education that most people got.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

Thanks. (none / 0) (#62)
by Vesperto on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:24:29 PM EST

I can't really express my point coherently, i've tried 3 times.

  • The balance between need/want is a good thing;
  • desire, and others, when balanced, are not necessarily evil;
  • i still can't make my point, it'll all a blur.
>

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
In Thailand (none / 0) (#70)
by mcgrew on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:22:58 PM EST

A young male bhuddist is expected to be a monk for one year. They shave their heads (why?) and wear bright orange robes (again, why?)

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Because... (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:16:31 PM EST

The shaving of the head is supposed to symbolize forsaking vanity.  The bright orange robes (the color varies based on the country.  In Vietnam it is yellow or brown) is supposed to symbolise membership in the sangha and seperation from lay life.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

That makes sense, but is ironic- (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by mcgrew on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:56:45 PM EST

here in the west the youngsters shave their heads because of vanity. It's just the style... they follow the herd. Unlike Bhuddist priests.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Congratulations! (5.00 / 2) (#105)
by tkatchev on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:58:08 PM EST

Sir, you get a cookie.

You figured out why buddhism is total bunk.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Contradictions are the nature of existence. (4.00 / 1) (#136)
by amarodeeps on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:10:24 AM EST

An obsession with consistency is harmful when trying to understand Buddhism. In fact, we can pull a lot out of many religions if we don't slavishly adhere to their tenets, but attempt to see the purpose of the tenets instead--I myself would go so far as to say one can't follow any religion faithfully without this mindset. Buddhism (Zen at least) describes itself as a finger pointing to the moon; it is not the moon. While consistency and sincerity are important in practice, trying to resolve the contradictions in Buddhism are precisely what points you to the path.



[ Parent ]
Failure! (5.00 / 3) (#153)
by RaveX on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:15:54 AM EST

Okay... so we have three premises:
1. One cannot completely indulge in or eliminate all pleasures.
2. One must totally eliminate desire.
3. Desire is a form of pleasure.

And if we accept these premises, we get:
4. One must totally eliminate a form of pleasure (desire).

We then arrive at the conclusion:
1 and 4 are contradictions, so the whole system is bunk.

Great string of reasoning, except for the fact that desire is not pleasure. If desire were equivalent to pleasure, one would need not desire a form of pleasure-- desiring would be pleasure in itself. Further, if you bothered to do your reading before you claimed to have indicated why hundreds of years of thought were "total bunk," you'd have learned that "desire" generally refers only to animalistic desire, not higher forms of it. I'm not going to argue for the total validity of Buddhism, but I must say, a solid refutation of a major world religion is not going to come in the form of a fundamental incompatibility between two major axioms of the religion. Even if a religion isn't valid, the system of thought behind it is going to be a little more developed than that after even a few hundred years.
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]

dear sir (none / 0) (#154)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:20:28 AM EST

You misinterpret Mr. L. D. Bronstein, amateur astronomer. He didn't say those contradict each other, he said Buddhism is bunk based on that post.

Plz learn to read.

[ Parent ]

Dear Sir, please provide posts with content (none / 0) (#163)
by RaveX on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:16:16 AM EST

So I misinterpreted a post which states that Buddhism is bunk based on the parent post?

The parent poster, Mr. Vesperto, indicated a contradiction based upon the lines of reasoning I outlined, and indicated no other potential problems with Buddhism in his post. Mr. L.D. Bronstein (amateur astronomer), stated that the content of Mr. Vesperto's post showed "why Buddhism is total bunk." How, then, are we supposed to interpret Mr. L.D. Bronstein's (amateur astronomer) post?

What did I miss? Enlighten me! I'll learn to read if you'll tell me what it was that I misread, kind mentor!
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]

dear sir (none / 0) (#234)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:58:05 AM EST

You were the first one to bring up a "contradiction".

You are reading too much into Mr. L. D. Bronstein (amateur astronomer)'s post.

Here is my account of the exchange:

Mr. Vesperto: "Buddhism is pure asceticism, and here is an antinomy present in pure asceticism."
Mr. L. D. Bronstein, amateur astronomer: "You have showed why Buddhism is bunk."
Mr. "RaveX" (if that is your real name): "Blah blah contradiction blah."

Here's a hint: pure asceticism, esp. as expressed in Mr. L. D. Bronstein's worldview, is bunk. I don't need to provide content, I only need to point at the moon.

much love,
a sinner

[ Parent ]

Let me make myself clear. (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:08:29 AM EST

Buddhism is based on a few simple principles:
a) Life generally sucks.
b) The universe is an illusion.
Therefore, c) the universe needs to be destroyed. ("Nirvana".)

Now, the reasoning makes sense and is logical, in a way, but it is not really a life philisophy that a normal person would base their life upon.

(Not to mention that there is a contradiction in terms with points a and b -- you cannot really suffer if there isn't really a "you" and there isn't really a "suffer" -- but we'll ignore that for a moment and just assume the two points are axiomatic. "The fundamentally contradictory nature of the world", as a poster below mentioned.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

The universe is not an illusion. (5.00 / 3) (#172)
by RaveX on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:41:29 AM EST

I assume you're not terribly familiar with Buddhism?

Buddhist doctrine does not state that the universe is an illusion. To put it another way, Buddhism is not nihilistic. It's easy to see how one might gain this impression upon a first encounter with Buddhism, due to the great amount of negation one encounters. However, if I may quote from D.T. Suzuki (who speaks specifically about Zen Buddhism, but the following does hold for other forms of Buddhism):

...it may be thought that the critics are justified in chargine Zen with advocating a philosophy of pure negation, but nothing is so far from Zen as this criticism would imply. For Zen always aims at grasping the central fact of life, which can never be brought to the dissecting table of the intellect. To grasp this central fact of life, Zen is forced to propose a series of negations. Mere negation, however, is not the spirit of Zen, but as we are so accustomed to the dualistic way of thinking, this intellectual error must be cut at its root... when the spirit of Zen is grasped in its purity, it will be seen what a real thing that slap is. For here is no negation, no affirmation, but a plain fact, a pure experience, the very foundation of our being and thought.
If you care to note the basic principles of Buddhism, you would start with something like your "a," which is to note that life consists of suffering. This isn't to say that life is only suffering, but that suffering's a big part of life. You'll then find that Buddhism, rather than seeking to destroy the universe, asks its followers to follow the Noble Eight-Fold Path in order to end suffering. The end result of Buddhism is the existence of all beings without suffering-- not the non-existence of the world. I don't know where you got the idea that Nirvana is the destruction of the universe, but that's patently false.
---
The Reconstruction
[ Parent ]
Look here, (3.00 / 2) (#185)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:39:03 AM EST

Everything and nothing are the same thing.

You cannot deny the existence of "souls" without taking it to the logical conclusion of having to destroy the universe.

A person who is "at one with the universe" is a person who doesn't exist.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Ha ha. Thanks for that (none / 0) (#191)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:26:52 AM EST

You do cheer me up with your leaps of reason.

There are several logical steps between the denial of soul and the destruction of the universe. Regular K5 readers may not be totally aware of your reasoning.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

OK. (5.00 / 3) (#202)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:22:53 AM EST

I'm a lazy and stupid person, so I don't like spelling out my reasoning.

However, let me try to explain what I meant.

Point is, the universe can be said to "exist", in any meaningful sense of the word, only through the context of self-awareness and free will. (In other words, when I close my eyes the world really does disappear, or it might as well have disappeared -- with my eyes closed, the world might not exist at all for all I care.)

If you deny self-awareness and free will, then you only have one option left to you -- to claim that the universe and everything in it is a meaningless illusion, a uniform mass of electrons jostling together and producing meaningless interference patterns. A person, a butterfly and a rock are all essentially the same.

This might seem logical, except that it runs totally counter to all our experience, instinct and empirical observation. (One of the very first words that a human baby learns, after all, is "me".)

The way out of this dilemma is to claim that our instincts and senses are simply being deluded by all these utterly meaningless perturbations of the great meaningless sea of electrons we call the universe.

Therefore, the solution is to destroy your instincts and senses, or at least convince yourself that you have.

Then, at last, you will be able to join the great meaningless electron sea as yet another meaningless interference pattern, "at one with the universe", "nirvana".

This, of course, is a perfectly logical philosophy -- only it is also a monumentally stupid way to live your life.

P.S. This, by the way, is the reason why buddhism includes the wacky and uncalled-for doctrine of "reincarnation" -- so that suicide won't be the easy way out towards "nirvana".

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I'll run with this (5.00 / 1) (#224)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:37:16 AM EST

You define existence as synonymous with experience or possibility to be experienced?


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:10:09 AM EST

Because I don't care for things that I cannot experience.

They may be "there", in some meaningless sense of the word "there", but since I don't care about them, they might as well not exist.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Nihilism... (none / 0) (#230)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:14:30 AM EST

Hmm, I got the impression that you did believe in non tangible stuff from conversations previously. E.g. people's souls etc...

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
Problem with your post. (5.00 / 2) (#233)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:41:18 AM EST

I can experience my soul better than I can experience my arm.

So do, in fact, all other people on this planet who haven't been severely brainwashed as kids.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

You can't experience EVERYTHING though! (none / 0) (#236)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:08:48 AM EST

That's simply not possible. You can't experience travel to the very end of the universe, you can't experience existing outside of time, you can't experience the thoughts that I'm thinking right now and you can't experience what it would like to be God.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#239)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:57:52 AM EST

What of it?

[ Parent ]
Good point, I guess. (5.00 / 1) (#259)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:18:33 PM EST

Also, I cannot experience what it is like to be a proton collider or hampster or a geranium plant.

I don't see how that relates to the discussion, though.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

intagible != impossible to experience (none / 0) (#238)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:56:18 AM EST

Just impossible to experience with the sense of touch.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
OK Mr Pedantic (none / 0) (#249)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:45:09 PM EST

This is not always the case, only the etymology of the word, and not quite what I meant in this context.

tkatchev had argued previously about the existence of the supernatural, but in accord with a strong physical realism stance. He believes in empirical science but also in the supernatural.

My argument then was that he'd never experienced atoms, quarks et al, but believed in their existence as well as in the souls of others. He can not have direct experience of these things, only induced knowledge from observed phenomena.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

let's go back to primary sources (none / 0) (#250)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:05:38 PM EST

tkatchev wrote: "...I don't care for things that I cannot experience. They may be "there", in some meaningless sense of the word "there", but since I don't care about them, they might as well not exist."

The easy answer to your objection, from his standpoint, is that atoms, quarks, et al. are at least in theory available to some kind of experience, through instruments or through observing the consistency of experimental results with a theory proposing their existence.

He believes in empirical science but also in the supernatural.

One issue is a physical science issue, the other is a metaphysics issue. Both are, from a certain viewpoint, valid means for gathering information about reality through experiment. Metaphysical experiments are perforce less readily performed in the lab than physical ones, but then, math and sociology aren't laboratory sciences either, without being invalidated as fields of knowledge.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

one more point (none / 0) (#251)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:09:07 PM EST

If something is argued to exist but cannot conceivably interact in any way with our reality, than it cannot be said to exist in any way relevant to us. Perhaps there really is an infinitely thin 2-D universe passing through Earth right now, from some sort of omniscient perspective; but as this object cannot interact with the Earth in any way, from the perspective of human beings, speculation about its existence and nonexistence are simply a waste of time and energy. There's no way that a case could be proved for it or against it, and there's no way that it could make a difference to anybody's life or to any event in the world.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
You'll find little argument from me on this (none / 0) (#257)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:45:22 PM EST

I was attempting to contrast his statements here with a stance that tkatchev had made in other articles (an otherkin story IIRC & a diary about evolution).

His statements are often imprecisely made with overemphasis in order to convey the spirit of what he means. In this case his phrasing suggested a strong nihilistic stance.

Since he can never experience the dark side of the moon directly does he deny it's existence? I doubt it for the reasons you give wrt atoms and quarks.
The answer that he has indirect experience via pictures or other 3rd party communication (and trust in the instruments he uses) leads to the conclusion that he must accept 3rd party anecdotal evidence as long as it is consistent with his world view. This was not crucial for his argument though, but a detour on my part about to pin down his beliefs.

The main weakness I see in his argument is that tkatchev identifies self awareness and free will with the possesion of an immortal soul. Remove the soul and we are automata, following a deterministic path just the same as rocks, butterflies etc. But Buddhists would not (usually) deny free will or self awareness.

---

I see no contradiction (unlike a lot of modern empirical scientists) between using the scientific method and holding religious or metaphysical beliefs as long as you realise that the knowledge being discussed in each case is of a different nature.


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

quibble (none / 0) (#264)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:51:04 PM EST

with your saying immortal soul.

[ Parent ]
quibble? (none / 0) (#267)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:25:47 PM EST

OK, tkatchev does not explicitly state this. Quibble accepted on those grounds.

But if his soul is not immortal then it disappears when his bodily existence ceases, and his atoms rejoin the cosmic mixing pool. He ceases to be just as much as if he had no soul. There's no meaningful difference between that and the Buddhist's stance he seems to be arguing against. 'Oneness' with the universe is regained.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Good point. (5.00 / 2) (#268)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:31:09 PM EST

That's why Christians are pretty sure that the soul is immortal, even though we have no idea what really happens after death.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

well, what I mean... (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:13:05 PM EST

...is that many Christians do not believe the soul is, in itself, immortal. Mr. Tkatchev, however, may believe so. Of course, Christians "look for the resurrection of the dead", so, for practical purposes, they can call it "immortal". But it wasn't created so.

[ Parent ]
Fill me in (none / 0) (#303)
by DrH0ffm4n on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:49:56 AM EST

Is it the soul that Christians believe goes to Heaven or Hell?

What is a soul that differentiates it from simple self awareness and possession of free will?

A chimp is self aware. Does it possess free will?

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Chimps and free will. (none / 0) (#311)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:26:42 AM EST

Probably not. At least, I don't think a chimp would be able to starve itself to death willfully, as a very extreme example.

"Heaven" and "hell" are states of being, not places.

And anyways, if you're really interested in getting a more authoritative and logical viewpoint, you should read a decent catechism.

(Here, for example; beware, though -- there are lots and lots of inadequate and inane catechisms out there.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Free will vs. will power (none / 0) (#317)
by DrH0ffm4n on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:20:46 AM EST

Not sure I could willfully starve myself to death. I like my food too much and believe in nothing enough to die for it. Except for my kids. I might die for my kids. But I'd really rather not.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
But that's the point. (5.00 / 1) (#333)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:37:31 PM EST

People starve themselves to death all the time, some even over bullshit political issues. (Hunger strikes and whatnot.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Is it? (none / 0) (#362)
by DrH0ffm4n on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:03:00 PM EST

Ability to sacrifice oneself implies free will which in turn implies possession of a soul.

Sorry. Not convinced this follows. We'll have to agree to disagree again.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Not necessarily. (none / 0) (#370)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:15:49 PM EST

I'll be damned if you can provide a better explanation.

(And no, the "evolutionary forces made it that way due to the magic powers of evolution" cop-out doesn't qualify as an explanation.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

OK, if we're interested (none / 0) (#387)
by DrH0ffm4n on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 06:35:25 AM EST

I don't hold strong views but am exploring the issues. I find some of these concepts lead to slippery slope arguments & eugenic conclusions though.

I have self awareness. I cannot know if other's self awareness is of the same nature as mine. Phenomenologically though it appears to be. There's no way I can tell if they don't. So I can safely assume they do.

Similarly for free will.

You'd (I think) admit that chimps and other higher primates (orang utans and gorillas) are also capable of self awareness. They can recognise pictures of themselves. They can converse in sign such that they can communicate ideas about themselves.

Free will is a much more difficult and deeper concept. I think this is where we would differ.

Your definition of having a soul is having self awareness and having free will.
Anything that has both has a soul.
Anything that does not meet your criteria for free will or self awareness does not have a soul. So you have to be very careful in specifying your criteria. They have to be measurable, either qualitatively or quantitatively.

Does a Down's child have free will? Does a chimp? Does a chimp foetus? Does a human foetus?

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Actually, good question. (3.00 / 2) (#397)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:44:15 AM EST

There is really no qualified opinion on whether or not animals have souls.

I've heard it both ways -- some say yes, some say no, some say that they have a soul that gets destroyed after death, and some say that they have a soul that is different in quality from the soul of a human being.

I guess it's an academic question that nobody really thought about much.

For the human fetus, though, the official verdict is that they have a fully qualified human soul. (I think this is what people mean when they say that "life begins at conception".)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

you ought to do some reading on the subject (none / 0) (#353)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:34:40 PM EST

Is it the soul that Christians believe goes to Heaven or Hell?

In the Creed, we state that we believe in "the ressurection of the body."

A "spiritual" ressurection sounds like some kind of gnosticism to me.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Common misconception. (5.00 / 2) (#265)
by radical edward on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:04:36 PM EST

"A person who is "at one with the universe" is a person who doesn't exist."

A common misunderstanding, perhaps the most common. You're trying to describe in logical reasoning a thing which cannot be described. Put another way..

You're thinking about it too much.

Buddhism does not deny one in general logical deduction. But seriously, describe to me by scientific and observable means the definition of a soul.

Buddhism, especially Zen, uses negation as a tool. It tries to stop one from lumping things into categories. You're not going to become a zombie who denies there being a difference between a stick and a donkey. You're still going to be hungry. You're still going to want sex. You're not getting rid of your identity. Just the opposite in fact.

Getting rid of self means to stop looking for the path. You'll never find it that way. I'm a firm believer that science can explain every last thing in this universe save one. And that one thing cannot be reached with words or logic. You may call it God. I may call it existence. Taoists may call it the Tao, but even they say "The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao."

Even Martin Luther said, "If one could understand in fulleness a single blade of grass, one would die with wonder." (paraphrasing)

Again, when trying to understand that very essence, you have to stop thinking in terms of yes or no. Or Me and everything else.

Outsiders to Eastern religions may find these ideas nihilistic. I'm by no means an expert on these matters, but I certainly don't see Buddhism that way.

My 2 cents antway.

[ Parent ]

Heh, that's one way out... :)) (5.00 / 1) (#276)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:36:13 PM EST

Just declare logic to be inapplicable. Neat trick, but, really, no thanks. :)

A "soul", put simply, is the "self" that cringes when you see lame puppy dogs being kicked by a bully, for example. (This is different from the rationalizing internal monologue we call the "conscience", although the existence of "conscience" also indirectly proves that souls exist.)

Also, I am afraid you completely missed the point I was making.

When you stop thinking in terms of "me and everything else", you are effectively destroying the universe. It is the worst sort of nihilism there is.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Re: Heh, that's one way out... :)) (none / 0) (#283)
by radical edward on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:41:04 PM EST

"Just declare logic to be inapplicable."

For this, yes. Otherwise, I might as well ask Stephen Hawking the mathmatical formula for God. I love logic and science, but it doesn't apply here.

"A "soul", put simply, is the "self" that cringes when you see lame puppy dogs being kicked by a bully, for example."

I have to respectfully disagree that this is a logical definition of "soul." Even the dictionary can't use terms that are scientifically, and hence, logically sound. It's intangible.

"When you stop thinking in terms of "me and everything else", you are effectively destroying the universe. It is the worst sort of nihilism there is."

Perhaps I should be more specific. In order to "get it" you have remove the tendency humans have to divide things up and explain things. This doesn't mean that I'm going to start calling my alarm clock an illusion when I wake up tommorow, let alone deny my existence. If Buddism were nihilism, there wouldn't be much need for "right thought" or "right living," etc.

I'm not trying to push Buddhism on anyone, just trying to explain that Buddhism is not nihilism by any stretch. If anything, it's a love of existence at its most basic level. Something I think all religions adhere to.

I can certainly understand why people see it that way. It's not an easy concept at first. In fact, all this explanation may be defeating the purpose. :-)

[ Parent ]

Logical definitions are cool... (none / 0) (#307)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:25:56 AM EST

...but they don't define our existence.

I don't have a logical definition of what my arm is, and yet my arm is one of the most "tangible" things there is for me.

Finally, let me just say that there can be no love without a "me" and a "you", and once you start denying that "me" really exists, you start sliding into nihilism.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

control, not suppresion (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:04:51 AM EST

Humans without desire are pretty much vegetable-like.

Actually, the goal in buddhism is to get conscious control over desires and other natural activities in the body and in the lower psyche. The thing is to pour more consciousness and "light" into the being, not to stifle its roots.

[ Parent ]

Psych & Buddhism (none / 0) (#194)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:34:53 AM EST

Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective is an interesting read.

It does exactly what it says on the tin.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

You a white guy tryin' to score with Asian chicks? (3.72 / 11) (#58)
by Fen on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:00:59 PM EST

Obviously Asian chicks are the hottest kind. But taking an Asian name and learning Buddhism isn't gonna help. Try getting lots of money together instead.
--Self.
Most of us are (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by jasonditz on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 03:19:03 PM EST

But can't we try both?

[ Parent ]
You are? (1.00 / 1) (#130)
by Fen on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:58:33 PM EST

You can also try learning Mandarin or Japanese.  But it's probably easier just to get a pile of money together.  Being brutally honest, as a race, black women are the lowest price, and Asians are the highest.  I think it's true for all men.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Yup that too (none / 0) (#142)
by jasonditz on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:46:47 AM EST

Already learned both of them... so far no good :)

[ Parent ]
Yeah right (none / 0) (#248)
by Fen on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:27:07 PM EST

And Korean too I assume?  By the way, there's something to be said for being with a chick who understands little of your language, and you understand none of hers.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Nope no Korean (none / 0) (#254)
by jasonditz on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:35:58 PM EST

I'm not anywhere near fluent in Japanese either, just enough to get by.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* (5.00 / 3) (#82)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:00:14 PM EST

So true...

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

The best part is... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by craigd on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:44:09 PM EST

The "Asian name" is actually a sentence meaning "he/she is not a big fish." Because Mandarin has so many homonyms, there are other possible meanings also; they would be written differently in hanzi but the romanization would be the same.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Lol! You speak well, my son. (none / 0) (#181)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:15:13 AM EST

My name is weird.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

translated (none / 0) (#290)
by shrubbery on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:25:41 AM EST

"Kueih m'hai jek die yu" - for many overseas born Chinese like meself. I must learn Mandarin someday.

[ Parent ]
Okay, then, (none / 0) (#363)
by craigd on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:10:00 PM EST

If I interpreted which bu it is correctly... Since shi is fourth tone, bu changes to second.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Good article, structure could be better (5.00 / 4) (#64)
by truffle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:46:17 PM EST

The history and mysticism of Buddhism is presented first, but probably of most interest to K5ers is the philosophy. The article would have more impact if it started with the four noble truths.

The Four Noble Truths:

  • All is suffering
  • Desire is the cause of suffering
  • To end suffering you must remove desire
  • To end desire you must follow the Noble Eight-fold Path
This is really Budhism in a nutshell, everything else is derived from this. Just think about it, it makes sense.

meow

Cheers (none / 0) (#84)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:05:02 PM EST

I needed to put in the history first so that people could see how the ideas behind Buddhism were developed. I'd heard the concepts before myself, but it didn't really make sense until I'd heard the history of Siddhartha Gautama.

I would agree that the Four Noble Truths is Buddhism in a conceptual nutshell, however without the Noble Eightfold path you can't remove desire and so enter Nirvana. I would say this concept is just as important.

Thanks for you kind comments though!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Buddhist Philosophy v. Cosmoloy (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:26:34 PM EST

This is not meant to be a harsh criticism.  I think you should have elaborated more on the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.  You should also have stopped the article there and not included all the Buddha, Bodhisattva,asura bits.

The message of the four noble truths and the middle path have timeless beauty (like 'Love thy neighbout' and 'Cast not the first stone').  All that stuff about the ten realms is just what passed for cosmology back in those days (like 'Let there be light' and 'Adam began Cain').  All that cosmology is absurd and irrelevant today.  But the simple truths are applicable in any day and age.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

Not really. (1.00 / 1) (#85)
by sakusha on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:08:24 PM EST

Um.. NO. Delusion is the cause of all suffering. Delusion is cause by the Three Evils of Greed, Anger, and Stupidity. Desire has nothing to do with it.

[ Parent ]
The Three Evils? (none / 0) (#180)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:13:22 AM EST

Could you expound further???

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

You sure? (4.00 / 1) (#291)
by kraant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:37:49 AM EST

My grandmother was most definetly Buddhist and she always said it was desire.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Yes, and the 10 realms of being... (none / 0) (#246)
by splitpeasoup on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:16:17 PM EST

...are quite unimportant relative to the rest of the content of the article. I wouldn't bother to enumerate them in a short intro to Buddhism.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

about never harming living things (3.62 / 8) (#65)
by truffle on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:49:26 PM EST

Vegetarianism and buddhism go hand in hand. So yes, the eight-fold path does not lead to McDonalds.

meow

I declare this bullshit. (none / 0) (#209)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:29:51 AM EST

Please tell me why you think that. It's a common misconception in the United States. If you want to be a vegetarian (or, ack, a vegan) become a Jainist. They have all sorts of history. They invented mathematics (it made astrology easier). Be proud. They're also total flakes, in my opinion, what with their brooms and their masks and their unwillingness to pick a fucking apple from a tree to save their life.

[ Parent ]
Beasts (4.66 / 6) (#66)
by zephc on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 02:52:35 PM EST

Beasts  

Beings who reach this realm are governed by instinct. They are sometimes said to exist in a state of "Animality". They have a badly defined sense of right and wrong and they seem to follow the survival of the fittest mentality. They'll take advantage of the weak and stay away from the strong.

Interesting.  In Taoism, animals are held as the most in sync with Nature and therefore with Tao.  Survival of the fittest for other creatures in not a mentality, it's just their nature.  There is not right and wrong for them, as they behave exactly as their nature defines.  Indeed, humans do to, even though we think a lot, we still follow our nature very closely.

Why orange robes are like power-cycling (4.00 / 4) (#68)
by jaapweel on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 03:45:19 PM EST

I have always kinda liked Buddhism, because it more easily lends itself to an abstract and/or individual interpretation. You can fill in your own ideas about "working in unethical areas", "(in)appropriate sexual relations", "karma" and whatnot.

Unfortunately, religions evolve. As aptly demonstrated by the most common religions around the world, they tend to evolve towards being dogmatic and detail-oriented. Somehow, these memes are stronger. And Buddhism has the same inherent danger: groups of people come up with rituals, petty prohibitions and all the outside appearances that define a "religion" as opposed to a "philosophy".

A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on. Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: "You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong." Knight turned the machine off and on. The machine worked.

In other words, you're not going to get enlightenment / salvation / happiness / apatheia / whatever-you-call-it with orange robes / holy water / offerings of cows / whatever-you-prefer. I would like to think that people can just keep that in mind and then benefit from some of the wisdom encapsulated in the various religions, but in practice I am afraid we'd be better off without religion.



Religion? Define religion. (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by mindstrm on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:24:44 PM EST

Belief? A set of values, a personal philosophy?

I haven't "religion" in the mystical sense.. but  I do have a world view that encompasses all the spiritual issues I need to deal with on a daily basis.. why I go to work, why I go home, how I live my life.  

saying the world would be better off without religion, however, is absurd. Whether your religion is personal, like mine, or part of an organised belief system (which is not without merit), or is based on NOT having a religion... either way, you have a belief, a way of dealing with spiritual issues. Or you are a robot.

I'm not going to feed you hogwash about how people need religion to explain the unexplainable... but religion is there to give people some kind of uniformity in their beliefs, in their thoughts. If you think that's bad, imagine a world where nobody could agree on anything.


[ Parent ]

Definitions of religion: (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by gzt on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:25:12 PM EST

From anthropologists, since I just picked up some Durkheim at the used bookstore yesterday:

A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden - beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community . . . , all who adhere to them. Durkheim

Another anthropologist (Geertz):

A religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men [sic] by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic. Geertz

Well, you asked. Though it's not really that relevant.

[ Parent ]

I agree... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by gzt on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:00:50 PM EST

...with this, in a certain sense:

in practice I am afraid we'd be better off without religion...

One recalls a fact distinguishing the mysteriological cults from early Christianity. In the mysteriological cults, adequate performance of the mystery rites was seen as salvific. In a very real sense, Christianity was the death of cult [religion]: the motivation was reversed. Instead of performing the cult ceremony to attain salvation, the eucharistic offering was made because of their salvation. At least, that's my reading of history.

Please, don't mention memes.

[ Parent ]

No, YOU'RE not going to get enlightenment. (4.00 / 2) (#138)
by amarodeeps on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:12:16 AM EST

I'll get whatever I want out of it, thank you very much.

[ Parent ]
I don't get religion (5.00 / 4) (#69)
by niom on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:14:43 PM EST

I've never done. Why do people have to have a religion?

For example, in relation to this article, it's mentioned that Buddhism is "one of the largest growing groups of believers in the world today". I picture a Westerner deciding to convert to Buddhism. Maybe he's been raised as a Christian but has been driven off by the many hardly justifiable "teachings" in the Bible. He learns about Buddhism and finds its principles much more acceptable to his moral.

So far so good. But why does he have to take Buddhism as a whole and call himself a Buddhist, even if he probably does not like all its principles the same? And does he have to start believing in ghosts, spirits and hidden forces because they come with the religion he happens to agree with the most?

I guess what I'm asking is what sense is there in having a traditional, organized system of personal beliefs. This is not like politics where you have to vote for one of a few parties and take the good with the bad. No need to put a tag on your beliefs.

What does it even mean? (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by srn on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:23:57 PM EST

"Largest growing groups"? That could mean it has a lot of people and is growing (at some non-zero rate), or that it's tiny and growing fast, or something else. It's meaningless. Sort of ironic, really. Perhaps it's a Tao.

[ Parent ]
Why do anything organized? (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by ObviousTroll on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:24:01 PM EST

For example, what's up with the whole school thing? Why bother learning from other people? Can't I just learn it myself?


Somewhere, in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#77)
by niom on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:52:14 PM EST

If you're trying to make a point you should be more specific.

However, to answer to what you appear to mean, learning in groups is useful because it allows to optimize the use of valuable resources, such as teachers and teaching materials. I don't see what part of this you might be trying to compare to religion.

[ Parent ]

What prevents you from seeing the connection? (5.00 / 3) (#106)
by ObviousTroll on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:07:53 PM EST

Why is learning in groups good for math but bad for religion?


Somewhere, in America / There's a street named after my dad / And the home we never had.


[ Parent ]
Ha ha. (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by tkatchev on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:16:04 PM EST

Ooh ooh, I know the answer! It's probably due to a pervasive meme!

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

the sad part (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by Battle Troll on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:39:13 PM EST

That guy R. Dawkins has eaten out so long on the concept of 'memes' that he's forced to act as though he believes in them.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I like the original Eliza better (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#255)
by niom on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:39:14 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Well... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:10:47 PM EST

... he doesn't have to call himself a Buddhist. Buddhism, after all, is more a philosophy that deals with life and death than it is a religion. There is absolutely nothing in it that says you must call yourself a Buddhist.

Those who practise Buddhism fully are called Buddhists however. At the end of the day Buddhism is just a word used to define a group of people. I can't see the problem in that.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#137)
by Pseudonym on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:11:02 AM EST

Conversely, if you take the intersection of beliefs of everyone who calls themselves "Buddhist", you'd probably get the null set.

Just goes to show that being Buddhist (i.e. practising the religion as it is usually understood) and calling oneself "Buddhist" are in some sense independent. Not that Buddhism is any different from any other religion in this respect...



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Groucho Marx (5.00 / 3) (#101)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:35:34 PM EST

Generally, I agree with you.  I am reminded of Groucho Marx's famous saying about organized groups: "I do not want to belong to a club that would take someone like me as a member."  My views on organized religion are along the same lines.

People tell me having a personal belief system that noone else shares is very lonely.  Maybe that is why some people gather together and practice larely similar beliefs.  Strength and kinship in numbers.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

What a patently stupid post. (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by tkatchev on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:13:52 PM EST

Because religion is objective truth.

For example, you can't read a physics textbook and just decide to pick and choose which laws you like and which ones you don't. Even though physics is imperfect, rife with special interest, petty lobbying, incompetence, politics and just plain-old idiocy, you cannot decide to not believe in (or to "not agree with") the law of gravity.

The fact that you do not understand the theory behind it, and the fact that Newton was an insane asshole, does not mean you can simply declare gravity to not exist.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Beat me to it. (none / 0) (#141)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:40:56 AM EST

I was going to, somewhere, sometime, write a comment about the dangers of personal opinion and belief, but you beat me to it.  It irks me to see how so many people here can't understand why one could possibly submit oneself to the doctrine and tradition of, say, the Church when religious belief is so obviously a completely personal matter. You win.

[ Parent ]
The map is not the territory. (nt) (none / 0) (#247)
by antizeus on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:24:13 PM EST

I lied about the (nt). There's some text here.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]
Are you Christian? (none / 0) (#253)
by niom on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:34:09 PM EST

If so, aren't you picking and choosing when you decide to ignore John 13:34? "I give you a new commandment-to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."

[ Parent ]
Uhm. (none / 0) (#274)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:24:32 PM EST

Thanks for the ad hominem.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

loving one another (none / 0) (#356)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:38:22 PM EST

If you love someone, should you tell him horrible lies that will definitely hurt him badly?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Likewise (none / 0) (#261)
by An onymous Coward on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:14:30 PM EST

Hehe yeah. And just like science, we should believe it just because we're told to, and we should never experiment to make sure anyone's claims work out. We should also continue in the scientific fashion of refusing to "pick and choose" what works and doesn't work (because we don't know what does and doesn't work, because we don't experiment), so that scientific knowledge can continue as unchanged in the future as it has been unchanged for the last 2500+ years.

"Your voice is irrelevant. Stop embarrassing yourself. Please." -stuaart
[ Parent ]
I like sarcasm too. (none / 0) (#275)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:27:39 PM EST

But still the point stans -- religion is organized because religion is objective truth, like it or not.

What you like or don't like has no bearing on the truthfulness or applicability of religion.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Objective truth (none / 0) (#327)
by rafael on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:18:03 PM EST

There are many religions, their dogmas are incompatible, ergo religion is not objective truth.

[ Parent ]
Uhm, let me see... (none / 0) (#332)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:36:15 PM EST

...there are many contradictory theories in the science of psychology, ergo psychology is not objective truth.

...there are many contradictory theories in the science of cosmology, ergo cosmology is not objective truth.

Look here: logic is a very nice yardstick for finding bullshit, but it doesn't define what exists and what doesn't. Logic is a tool, much like a geiger counter.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

ermm (none / 0) (#439)
by Wah on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:48:42 PM EST

Secondly even if they are all talking about this same thing they can be talking about different facets of the same thing and elaborating on different points.

While it often seems this way to an objective observer, this is not a stated point of most religions, which do, in fact, portray themselves as the One, True, Way™.

Having several One, True, Ways™ all portrayed as the Objective Truth™ is silly.  tkcatev is trolling, it would seem.

Thirdly there is very little way you are going to disprove a philosophical statement.

Heck, you could have stopped right there and brevity wouldn't have been a sin, but a boon. :-)
--
kewpie
[ Parent ]

Physics faith (none / 0) (#324)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:44:50 AM EST

How can you compare religion to physics? Physics is testable. In my physics class they told us that objects accelerated toward the center of the Earth at 9.8 m/s2, we wrote it down in our notebooks and then we went into the lab and measured it. When was the last time anyone did an experiment in church?

If you want to compare religion with another field of knowledge one is asked to blindly swallow, try something like history. Even though the first thing my history teacher told us was that history was written by the winners and that it's completely biased. Never heard a preacher say that!

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
So is religion. (none / 0) (#331)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:34:04 PM EST

If religion wasn't testable, there wouldn't be monastic orders.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Example? (3.00 / 1) (#339)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:20:57 PM EST

What's the religious equivalent to dropping a ball out the third story window of the physics department?

"19 out of 20 people who accepted Jesus as their savior felt better afterwards."

????

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Exactly right. (none / 0) (#349)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:29:40 PM EST

You know, when you really start feeling better, you honestly don't much care whether or not mathematical formulas were involved in getting that result.

"Feeling better" is a very real, very tangible and very convincing result.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

it also has (none / 0) (#438)
by Wah on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 12:40:33 PM EST

scientifically proven benefits in the areas of health, wealth, and sexual drive.

"it" of course being "feeling better".  People use any number of techniques to do that.  Not having to worry about unanswerable questions anymore does it for some folks.
--
kewpie
[ Parent ]

Science and religion (none / 0) (#359)
by bigpianist on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:00:41 PM EST

I disagree with you.

Physics, and all science, is not testable in the sense that you can verify the truth of a hypothetical physical law or quantity. I think you may have confused verification (to establish the truth, accuracy, or reality of) with falsification (to prove unsound by experience).

In this way, science has no more truth than religion. All propositions in science, no matter how many times they have passed the experimental falsification test, are still in an undecided state: they are neither true nor false. If a hypothesis is falsified, science has only shown is that its negation is true. This does not assist in determining actual universal truths.

Even if we put aside the fantastic notion that we will ever really know truths, practicing science forces to accept the axiom that scientific knowledge, the set of remaining hypothetical statements describing the universe, will converge towards, though never necessarily reach, a single truth which is unchanging and immutable. If we do not grant this, it is impossible to infer any information about future events from past experiments and all physical laws are hopelessly useless.

You could measure the acceleration of various objects falling in a vacuum towards the center of the earth a thousand times, each time measuring the value to be precisely 9.78039m/s^2 at zero latitude. But you would not have proven that "the acceleration of a falling object in a vacuum on the surface of the earth at zero latitude is 9.78039m/s^2" only that those specific objects, when you dropped them and only when you dropped them, fell with an acceleration equal to 9.78039m/s^2. This tells us nothing of what will happen in the future when you drop other objects or even the same ones you used in your experiment for a one-thousand-and-first time.

In order for science to work, we must accept, on faith, that a causal link between experiments does exist -- that a there exists a universal truth that is unchanging and immutable.

Preposterous and entire anecdotal.

In fact, just as preposterous as asking someone to accept the immaculate conception, reincarnation or that little green men live on an invisible planet beyond Pluto, all without proof. What is truly bizarre is that our quasi-skeptical materialist culture holds a premium on scientific knowledge, elevating it beyond its shaky logical foundations because, although it may not be correct, it is useful. But arguably religion is useful too.* Religion does a lot of good to ethically containing a culture and give many people hope despite its many other faults.

Perhaps we need to introduce a truth value to complement true and false: "useful," maybe?


(*For the record, I am an atheist.)

[ Parent ]
Agreed, but... (3.00 / 1) (#364)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:16:44 PM EST

I understand that gravity is just a theory and that nothing is really true in physics. It's all just hypotheses that experiments appear to follow.

But if you don't let the apparent following of the hypotheses guide your life, you'd be surprised every time you got out of bed and were pulled to the floor.

Just like the hypothesis that in order to get pregnant you need to have sex (or have sperm involved somehow). You just don't see a lot of exceptions...so, based on an account in a historic text, I should believe that immaculate conception happened once? With no more proof than a single account?1

So then I hear stories, many accounts, of UFOs flying around and picking people up and probing them. It goes against everything I've seen about the universe around me, but what I know about the universe are just hypotheses anyway, right? So should I believe in UFOs? Sure, the number of believers is smaller than the number of believers in the immaculate conception (I'm just guessing here), but IC is still a single account, versus many accounts of UFOs. I just don't know what to believe!

Why don't I just stick to what I can see and test even though I cannot test it to the level of proof.


1I know that very little is known about Jesus' childhood and that the person that wrote that part of the story probably had rumors, at best, to go on, but we're talking about what Christianity asks its followers to have faith in. On a more human level, how many completely sexless marriages are there that aren't for immigration purposes? "Oh, you're pregnant, honey? But we didn't...you know... Oh, sometimes it happens this way? Yay, what a miracle!" I mean, c'mon!

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Re: Agreed, but... (none / 0) (#368)
by bigpianist on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:31:53 PM EST

But if you don't let the apparent following of the hypotheses guide your life, you'd be surprised every time you got out of bed and were pulled to the floor.
I cannot see how surprise follows from "gravitational skepticism." Instead what does follow IMO is a complete lack of surprise. If I doubt all of my assumptions, I am expecting literally anything to happen when I step out of bed. Therefore I won't be surprised when anything happens. Of course, here we approach nihilism...
Why don't I just stick to what I can see and test even though I cannot test it to the level of proof.
I don't think you caught the jist of my post -- I was refuting just this sort of "see and test" science. It is completely baseless. If you don't use hard proof and a robust, consistent logical foundation, then it is all vapor until you admit a set of axioms that allow you to proceed scientifically. That's why I introduced the notion of usefulness: what science lacks in truth, it makes up in utility. Let's say we do allow for a set of axioms for science which qualify a thus far undecided hypothesis on an absolute scale by its usefulness. Okay. But when exactly does a hypothesis transistion from being undecidedly truthful to "useful"?

When is it "useful" enough to make critical decisions and calculations with?

If I've missed the point of science, then please, inform me. The only to possible objectives I can see are 1) to explain the workings of the universe (which case we need truth), or 2) to create useful applications of scientific knowledge (in which case, "if it works now, I'm happy", a scary thought for engineers who need to apply immutable laws to designs).

[ Parent ]
Truth, Gravity, and Reincarnation (none / 0) (#386)
by Rasman on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 04:52:26 AM EST

"I cannot see how surprise follows from 'gravitational skepticism.'"
You're right, "surprise" was the wrong word. Something like insecurity or fear was what I meant. "Gravitational skepticism" would lead to something absurd such as "a fear of jumping". Anyway, that's a little off-topic, I think...

The problem with our discussion is that it's taken a turn down the path of "what is truth anyway?" I don't want to talk about whether or not the universe disappears when I close my eyes or whether or not this computer I'm typing on really exists or is just nerve stimuli in my brain. Let's take a step back to an everyday, lay person's definition of "truth".

I believe in gravity. Almost very object I've ever seen has fallen to the ground. Those that don't, such as birds, airplanes, clouds, balloons, and the moon, have been explained to me in a way that makes sense, even though I have not personally measured the air pressure above and below an airfoil. To me, gravity exists; it is true. Until I see an example of gravity being false, it will remain as a truth. What gravity has in its favor is an overwhelming supply of evidence.

Religion on the other hand, has very little evidence. Why should I believe in reincarnation? Give me one reason, other than that it might make me feel better about the continuation of my existence.

Back to the origin of this discussion: the claim that both physics and religion are both based on blind faith. I just don't buy it.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
If not truth, then... (none / 0) (#460)
by bigpianist on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 11:36:26 AM EST

You're points are strong but the topic continues to interest me.

If this evidence does not make truth (in the absolute sense of the word), then what does it make? I would say that it makes a strong sense of belief.

"Religion, on the other hand, has very little evidence."
I agree. It has none, to me and perhaps to you as well. But nevertheless, I would alter that statement slightly. I would say that: Religion has very little evidence for those who do not religious. The Christian sees evidence of the work of God everywhere just as you see evidence of gravity. So what's the essential difference here? You believe you have the lay truth, that gravity exists, and so does the Christian.



[ Parent ]
God's work is not repeatable (none / 0) (#462)
by Rasman on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 12:52:12 PM EST

"The Christian sees evidence of the work of God everywhere just as you see evidence of gravity."
The important difference here is that the Christian sees God's work in retrospect. I can guarantee you that when I throw a ball up in the air, it will come down. Whereas a Christian can't guarantee me that if a disabled man prays, he will be able to walk. (Bad example, but insert any other example of "God's work".) But when the Christian sees a disabled man drop his crutches and pace around, guess who gets the credit!?

And don't argue the meaning of "guarantee". I think you know what I mean.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
Actually (5.00 / 6) (#117)
by Sciamachy on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:21:11 PM EST

all that stuff about ghosts and whatnot is just extra cruft tacked on by people other than Siddharta Gautama - you don't need to believe in that at all, and many buddhists don't - myself included. The point made about deities is actually inaccurate - whether God/gods exist or not isn't accepted per se or refuted by Buddhism - it's just not that relevant! I think the quote from Gautama Buddha when asked if there was a God, was along the lines of "If I concerned myself with that I'd be dead before I could ever achieve enlightenment!"

Which also means that say a Christian decides Buddhism's a sensible way to live. He/she can carry on worshipping Yahweh and Christ as before - it doesn't make a difference as far as Buddhist doctrine is concerned.
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

"Doesn't make a difference". (4.66 / 3) (#164)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:17:32 AM EST

Well, except for having your brain split apart because of the massive cognitive dissonance.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Maybe (4.33 / 3) (#197)
by Sciamachy on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:47:08 AM EST

if you set huge store by literal biblical cosmology, yes. If mythical cosmologies are the big sticking point for you, yes, it's pretty hard to reconcile the linear, eschatological universe Christianity believes in, but if you take the core values of either as being thus:

Christianity - there's one God, who loves us all, and wants you not to lie, steal, covet, or kill anyone, and to keep his name sacred. Jesus was his son, made incarnate on earth to die for our sins and make a new covenant of forgiveness with Yahweh

Buddhism - Not concerned with God(s) but forbids lying, stealing, attachment to material things, or killing, and decrees that you should give due respect to the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dharma. Teaches meditation as a way to wake up and realise the emptiness of existence, and that merit is gained by alleviating suffering.

These two are pretty much compatible IMHO. Granted, if you let the rest of what's accepted by many as Christianity despite being all Old Testament and therefore superceded or added on after the fact by St Paul, and the folkloric cruft of local buddhist sects interfere with them, then you have problems. Examine the Gospels and the Dhammapada, and you'll see there are no conflicts.

--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

It's funny you know. (4.00 / 1) (#201)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:16:26 AM EST

The emptiness of existence without God is what convinced me that Christianity was the way for me.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Uh no. (3.50 / 2) (#203)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:26:55 AM EST

One of the first axioms of Christianity, even before you get into things like the Bible and Jesus Christ, is the idea that the universe has been created by an all-powerful God that is aware and has a will.

One of the first axioms of buddhism is the idea that there is no such thing as a "will".

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I'd say (none / 0) (#223)
by Sciamachy on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:24:18 AM EST

that if you're studying Christianity, study Christ's teachings first and foremost, then look at the rest later. If Christ didn't say it, ask yourself, "where did it come from?" For example, the underlying cosmology is Jewish, heavily influenced by Babylonian thought (it's the Zoroastrian influence that turned Lucifer/Satan from being a monitor of humanity, reporting back to God, to being the Enemy of God), and filtered through Greek thought. It's the Greeks iirc who give us the idea of paradise. Much of what's regarded as de facto Christian dogma and law was added on afterwards by St Paul - who up until a "miraculous conversion" on the road to Damascus, was the biggest persecutor of Christians ever. Might he not have simply been trying to subvert Christianity to remake it in his own image?

It's amazing how many people call themselves "Fundamentalists", yet who avoid the fundamentals, and go straight for the obsolete or the dubious.

Hell, even the Gospels have inconsistencies - it's hard enough without clouding things further by introducing anything extra.

Buddhism afaik does allow for the will of the individual - it's quite central to it; without personal will, how can you ever hope to meditate, and quieten the chattering monkeys of the mind? It doesn't deny the existence of a God with a will either - it just doesn't come into the picture. How can you have attachment to transient things if you don't have will?
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

Re: (4.50 / 2) (#229)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:13:08 AM EST

Buddhism claims that the "will" you experience is nothing but a clever illusion, a diffraction pattern that randomly appears when electrons start colliding with each other.

Also, God cannot "not come into the picture" -- He created the world, after all.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Paradoxes abound (none / 0) (#491)
by Steeltoe on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 07:12:38 PM EST

<i>Buddhism claims that the "will" you experience is nothing but a clever illusion, a diffraction pattern that randomly appears when electrons start colliding with each other. </i>

Even though everything is predestined at some level, that doesn't mean we're supposed to figure that one out. ;-)

I am not a Buddhist, but every religion I've heard of is full of paradoxes. It is a path to surrender, where you can leave your logic and thoughts and become one with reality.

Don't worry about it. This simply means, it's time to stop thinking and start living.

Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]

you don't get it (none / 0) (#240)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:03:53 PM EST

Christianity is not about the ethical teaching. It's a guide to action, but Christianity holds as an axiom that for a human being to 'fulfil the law' (a subset of behaving perfectly) is absolutely impossible. All small-o orthodox Christians are taught that only through submission to Christ can we receive the divine aid necessary for us to attain to heaven.

One reason that Christians teach the transcendence and absolute majesty of God - apart from that it's the truth - is that believing that makes you disinclined to trust absolutely in your own moral impulses. Rather, you have to submit to God.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Thomas Merton... (5.00 / 1) (#323)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:43:57 AM EST

...had little trouble in reconciling the two.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Interestingly enough (4.00 / 1) (#213)
by kesuari on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:40:06 AM EST

I was born and raised a Christian (baptised a Catholic, went to a Catholic primary school and to a Catholic secondary school for two years, but went to both Catholic and Baptist churches). I'm not practising. The existence or lack thereof of a god is a topic I can't draw any conclusions on from the teachings I've been provided with, and thus I won't.

The more I learn about Buddhism, the more sensible it seems. Maybe I would live my life as a Buddhist, but there's no way I suddenly decide to be a Buddhist. To me, the concept of changing religion like that doesn't make sense. or doesn't seem sensible, or something.

[ Parent ]

It depends on the religion (none / 0) (#256)
by pyro9 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:42:37 PM EST

The many religions differ in their tolerance for divergant beliefs. This goes everywhere from 'believe this word for word, exactly like this or you don't belong here' to 'believe there is some sort of omnipresant intellect out there'? GOOD! You're in!

I'm guessing that the former isn't a good fit for you :-)

In Buddhism, there is the central philosophy as covered in the article, then there are the various traditional beliefs that surround it such as 'ghosts, spirits, and hidden forces'. While those are not much of a leap once reincarnation is accepted, they do not really define who is or is not a Buddhist.

I suppose that adherants to a similar central philosophy tend to identify themselves with a group primarily since those are the people who share a common understanding and 'language' for discussion. You won't get a very good discussion on the nature of the supreme being amongst Atheists for example.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Good answer. Thanks (n/t). (none / 0) (#262)
by niom on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:25:05 PM EST



[ Parent ]
There is if you feel the need for validation [NT] (none / 0) (#298)
by enderwiggin99 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:28:35 AM EST



__Ender__
Reverse-engineering the Universe from life until Zen.
[ Parent ]
Thailand again (4.66 / 3) (#76)
by mcgrew on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:36:55 PM EST

Prostitution, gambling occupations, slaughtering animals and other jobs that are deemed as immoral are not classed as living with a right livelihood.

Please explain- when I was in Thailand, everyone I met there were bhuddists, and devout bhuddists, too. Including the prostitutes, cooks, bartenders, etc. In fact, the prostitute was revered there, and Led Zepplin was banished for saying something bad about the hookers.

I also met no vegans, or even vegitarians there.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Isn't that beautiful (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by thaths on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:42:43 PM EST

when I was in Thailand, everyone I met there were bhuddists, and devout bhuddists, too. Including the prostitutes, cooks, bartenders, etc.

Isn'tit beautiful for Buddhism to not get on its high horse and pass judgements left right and centre? I believe the comments that you quoted prohibiting various things was the OP's editorialising.

In fact, the prostitute was revered there, and Led Zepplin was banished for saying something bad about the hookers.

I think it is an exaggeration to say that prostitutes are actually revered in Thailand. I would say they are accepted and not condemned/judged.

I also met no vegans, or even vegitarians there.

Dietary restrictions for the lay sangha is lax. The clergy, on the other hand, are strict vegetarians.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

It was a beautiful country (none / 0) (#135)
by mcgrew on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:03:02 AM EST

Isn'tit beautiful for Buddhism to not get on its high horse

Yes, but that doesn't answer my honest question. A'm asking, not arguing.

exaggeration to say that prostitutes are actually revered

I don't know about 21st century Thailand, but "revered" was a fitting description in 1974. They had a list of reasons as long as your arm why the hookers provided a much needed service to their culture. (I wish I could think of some, but as I said it was a long time ago)

Dietary restrictions for the lay sangha is lax.

Thx, I did not know any priests well, at least while they were doing their year. However, a whole lot of anglo Bhuddists in America are vegans/vegetarians.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Buddhism is not uniform (2.00 / 1) (#148)
by thaths on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:43:20 AM EST

doesn't answer my honest question. A'm asking, not arguing.
Buddhism has some seemingly contradictory teachings. On the one hand it says things like "prostituion is a sin" and on the other it says "don't judge / condemn a prostitute".

They had a list of reasons as long as your arm why the hookers provided a much needed service to their culture.

Ummm... from what I have read, prostituion existed in Thailand before the conflict in SE Asia. It just reached ghastly proportions during the Viet Nam war thanks to (comparatively) rich horny young GIs entering the country in the thousands. In other words, hookers might have provided a much needed service in the past. Beginning with the Viet Nam war hookers were providing a much more needed thing for their families - money.

Thaths
PS: I should note here that I am not a Buddhist.

[ Parent ]

Silly non-Buddhist (3.50 / 2) (#149)
by goatherd on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:53:23 AM EST

On the one hand it says things like "prostituion is a sin" and on the other it says "don't judge / condemn a prostitute".

These aren't seemingly contradictory, one finds a similar thought in Christianity [which, obviously, has no contradictions]. Saying something is wrong does not mean one must judge/condemn one who does wrong. My saying that doesn't make it obviously so, but you have many reasons to trust my opinion.
---
Loud was the voice of the lonely goatherd
Folks in a town that was quite remote, heard
Lusty and clear from the goatherd's throat heard...

[ Parent ]

That's true. (none / 0) (#367)
by mcgrew on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 06:28:45 PM EST

"Love the sinner, but hate the sin."

REAL Christians love rapists and murderers.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#461)
by Battle Troll on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 12:17:52 PM EST

You're not commanded to love them in their capacity as rapists, but fallen human beings who are beloved of God, and who are forgiven if they repent.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
WTF (2.40 / 5) (#166)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:19:21 AM EST

Hookers don't have families. (Unless you mean their pimp??)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

fwiw (none / 0) (#241)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:05:07 PM EST

Hookers in Thailand are more 'understood' than in Europe and North America.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
comment on a monk's dietary rules (none / 0) (#426)
by CodeBhikkhu on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 05:44:50 PM EST

Monk's are absolutely NOT strict vegetarians by order of the Buddha himself. Theravada monks are mendicants who receive alms for their meal. They are directed to eat anything they are offered though they are allowed to chose amongst what is offered to them. This means that if the only offering is a Thai red-ant curry or boiled frog then they'll eat it. The only prohibition against eating meat given to the monk sangha, as far as I know was the direction from the buddha that a monk may not eat any meat that was killed specifically for the monks. Meaning, no turkey dinner if you killed it just for the monk.

If you are in the U.S. and are going to give food to a monk don't give them meat unless it happens to be what you have when you happen to offer the monk a meal. Since most people in the U.S. have the means to prepare something specially for the monks rather than what their family is eating, it would border on the edge of the rule against killing an animal for the monks meal if you were to give them meat here.

There are several other rules regarding their meals as well, but you can research those if you like.

Ajahn Brahmavamso on monks, the Buddha, and eating meat.

Metta,
Coda


"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
I suppose... (5.00 / 2) (#178)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:09:41 AM EST

... that as with all philosophies and religions there is a great deal of difference between what is taught and what is practiced.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Specific prohibitions (none / 0) (#222)
by Alan Crowe on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:11:40 AM EST

Five trades are specifically prohibiting to Buddhists: Trading in arms, in living beings, in flesh, in intoxicating drinks and in poison.

Also sexual misconduct, for lay Buddists, is traditionally defined as abduction, rape, and adultery. Marriage is not a sacrement, so adultery is understood according  to local customs. No prohibition of same sex relationships.

So prostitution, whether hetero-sexual or homo-sexual, is not specifically prohibited, while butcher and bartender are specifically prohibited.

[ Parent ]

For those who prefer lighter reading... (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by jd on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 04:59:30 PM EST

...but still want to know a bit about the subject, I suggest taking a look at "Journey To West", or the abbridged version titled simply "Monkey"

This is a story, based on an actual journey to bring Buddhism to India, turned into a series of short instructional stories, describing the Buddhist way of life.

The books were turned into an excellent (for the time!) martial arts TV series.

Ah monkay! (none / 0) (#94)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:45:04 PM EST

I used to love this show. Monkey's staff was cool... but I could never work out if the monk was a man or a woman!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

monkey (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by nimms on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:12:06 PM EST

the monk,trippitaka, was supposed to be a boy, but in reality was played by a former japanese cosmetics model...i forget her name though

[ Parent ]
It's... (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by Pseudonym on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:20:41 AM EST

Masako Natsume.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
fucked up many a generation (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by QuantumG on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:08:25 AM EST

of australian men.
I know tripataka is a boy but he's so sexy!


Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
so true (none / 0) (#380)
by nimms on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:49:24 PM EST

haha so true...spun me out when i first saw what the actress looked like in real life...

[ Parent ]
Nononono! (none / 0) (#292)
by kraant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:39:20 AM EST

Not bring Buddhism to India. To bring Buddhist scriptures to China from India.

Buddhism started in the subcontinent.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

Many factual errors (2.71 / 7) (#83)
by sakusha on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:04:24 PM EST

Wow, this article reminds me of why my buddhist sect prohibits advertising and electronic proslyetizing, they think it spreads misconceptions and drives people away. I just love an article that starts with an error like, "the Buddhist community is one of the largest growing groups of believers in the world today." FYI, Buddhism is THE LARGEST religion today. Then the author launches into another huge error, that there are 3 branches of buddhism. No, there is just mahayana and hinayana, the tibetan and other sects he listed are just subsidiary sects. And then he says there are no buddhist fundamentalists. I guess the author is not a buddhist, or else he would have seen the continual arguments about which sect is the most orthodox. Then he lists the Ten Worlds like it's the Ten Commandments, without ever referring to the really important (and difficult) doctrines like "mutual posession of 10 worlds" that are the whole reason the Ten Worlds are significant. But of course these errors are outmatched by the comments. I especially laughed when some random vegan nutcase says buddhism means vegetarianism. There are no prohibitions against eating meat in buddhism. Let me relay a story told to me about 10 years ago by my buddhist priest. There was a sect of buddhists that had an absolute prohibition on harming living things. They ate no meat, only fruit that fell from the trees, so as not to harm the plants. They carried brooms to sweep their path so as to avoid stepping on ants. The sect is unknown today because all the priests starved to death. So why don't you start that article all over again? Maybe actually talk to real buddhists about their philosophies? Maybe even start with something significant, like the Six Paramitas? Most people haven't got a clue when you tell them that attaining enlightenment will lead them to Nirvana. But if you tell them Generousity (towards the poor, disadvantaged, etc) will give them good karma and a happy life, maybe you'd actually reach someone.

Response (5.00 / 3) (#91)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:38:08 PM EST

I appreciate your feedback, and its true that I'm not a Buddhist. I wrote this as an outsider looking in, so yeah, there problem is some inaccuracies in this story. That said, I think a lot of what you've picked me up on is actually not right:
Wow, this article reminds me of why my buddhist sect prohibits advertising and electronic proslyetizing, they think it spreads misconceptions and drives people away.
I'm sorry to hear this. How do they gain membership?
I just love an article that starts with an error like, "the Buddhist community is one of the largest growing groups of believers in the world today. FYI, Buddhism is THE LARGEST religion today."
The Buddhist community is one of the fastest growing groups of believers in the world today! In no way does this statement deny the fact that Buddhism is the largest "religion" (if you can call it this) in the world today.
Then the author launches into another huge error, that there are 3 branches of buddhism. No, there is just mahayana and hinayana, the tibetan and other sects he listed are just subsidiary sects.
Uh... I'm not a Buddhist, but I understood that Mahayana Buddhism flowed from Theravada Buddhism, and Vajarayana Buddhism flowed from Mahayan Buddhism. Hinayana is one of the "lesser vehicles" and I probably should have put it in, even if it seems to be followed by one school (the Theravadin sect) today... This being said, Buddhism today has many different sects. These seemed to me to be the main ones.
And then he says there are no buddhist fundamentalists. I guess the author is not a buddhist, or else he would have seen the continual arguments about which sect is the most orthodox.
Maybe you should read the story again: "Indeed it seems that impermanence is a built in feature of Buddhism which some have argued is great because it stops fundamentalism from occurring." I said that some have argued it's great because of this... and I was more commenting on Buddhism's built in malleability or impermanence! I never said that there wasn't such a thing as a fundamentalist Buddhist.
Then he lists the Ten Worlds like it's the Ten Commandments, without ever referring to the really important (and difficult) doctrines like "mutual posession of 10 worlds".
Only because I wasn't really aware of it. I wrote up about the 10 realms of being not as if they were the 10 commandments (they are very different), I wrote about them to explain them to non-Buddhists!

Maybe you would like to explain the concept of the "mutual posession of 10 worlds"?

I especially laughed when some random vegan nutcase says buddhism means vegetarianism. There are no prohibitions against eating meat in buddhism. Let me relay a story told to me about 10 years ago by my buddhist priest. There was a sect of buddhists that had an absolute prohibition on harming living things. They ate no meat, only fruit that fell from the trees, so as not to harm the plants. They carried brooms to sweep their path so as to avoid stepping on ants. The sect is unknown today because all the priests starved to death. So why don't you start that article all over again?
No, I don't think I will. I can't speak for the commenters, and I'm not going to start all over again. How about you write up a followup article pointing out where I (and all the other posters) are wrong.
Maybe actually talk to real buddhists about their philosophies?
I have. I talked to my cousin, who is a "real Buddhist".
Maybe even start with something significant, like the Six Paramitas? Most people haven't got a clue when you tell them that attaining enlightenment will lead them to Nirvana. But if you tell them Generousity (towards the poor, disadvantaged, etc) will give them good karma and a happy life, maybe you'd actually reach someone.
I'm sorry, I thought I had said that.

Look, I'm not trying to attack you - some of your criticism is fair enough - but it seems you've gotten the wrong end of the stick on some of the things I've written! I suppose that some people get upset when they see wrong things written... like I said before, I encourage you to write a rebuttal, submit it to the queue and get it to front page.

Just remember samma vaca.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Anyway, it isn't (5.00 / 3) (#102)
by epepke on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:36:33 PM EST

These sites and others and the New York Times Almanac only put the incidence of Buddhism at about 6% of the world's population.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Response (none / 0) (#122)
by sakusha on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:54:37 PM EST

I'll skip the complex quoting and just dash off some quick responses.

1. My sect prohibits proselytizing except person-to-person, face to face. This is why I will not mention my sect by name, I'm not here to proselytize, just to correct errors.

2. Yes, buddhism has many sects, buddhist scriptures often refer to "the 80,000 teachings" but they all are classifiable into Hinayana or Mahayana. There are a few exceptions like Zen (which is not really buddhist at all, but that's a long story). There is far more to buddhism than the Dalai Lama, that isn't even the predominant sect.

3. Impermanence isn't the distinguishing doctrine of buddhism. There are a significant number of divisive clashes between sects about who is the true orthodox buddhist sect, I don't see what doctrines about impermanence could do to alleviate this, I don't even see how someone could argue this to be true.

4. The Ten Worlds are a description of peoples' life-states, not a doctrine. The Mutual Posession of Ten Worlds doctrine says that each of the 10 worlds is present in each of the others. Thus if one is in a lower world/life-state, all the 10 worlds exist within that low state. If you can reach towards that state of buddhahood even within the worlds of anger, animality, and hell, then you are moving towards enlightenment. If you can make all worlds, even the "six lower worlds" work towards buddhahood, then you are enlightened. Even saints have bad days, even the most despicable criminal has moments of enlightenment. This is a complex doctrine, I've barely scratched the surface.

And no, I won't write an article, as I said, my sect doesn't believe in promoting its doctrines this way, I'm merely correcting some errors here. But I'd be glad to talk your ear off, if you ever meet me in person.

[ Parent ]

My Buddhism is the right Buddhism! (5.00 / 6) (#140)
by amarodeeps on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:22:47 AM EST

Wah!

[ Parent ]
Response: Part III of the Saga (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:07:04 AM EST

1. Why does your sect forbid proselytizing except through person-to-person? This seems a bit odd to me - you can't even discuss this on a messageboard? How odd. Isn't your attempt to correct my errors a form of prostelyizing?

2. I'm well aware of this. This is why I wrote
Please understand that Buddhism is a large and complicated area to research and because there are many different understandings of Buddhism what I've written here may not apply to everyone.
I was only trying to show a very, very broad view of Buddhism.

3. Not according to this poster. You'd know better than me - is this really what Buddha said?

4. Wow, complex! I was not aware of this doctrine... though I have to ask what someone who is well on their way to enlightenment is doing in anger, animality or hell! Surely if they are close to Buddhahood then the chances of them being in these states would be fairly slim.
And no, I won't write an article, as I said, my sect doesn't believe in promoting its doctrines this way, I'm merely correcting some errors here. But I'd be glad to talk your ear off, if you ever meet me in person.
As would I! :) It would make an interesting meeting.

Yours humbly,
Ta b sh d y

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
mroe response (none / 0) (#287)
by sakusha on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:37:11 PM EST

The nonproselytizing thing, I'd call it more of a dogma than a doctrine, that's just the way we do things. It's supposed to be part of a tradition of transmitting buddhism person to person. Yes, I'm treading a fine line by posting here.
The Dhammapada quote is interesting, but I don't see it as relating to impermanence. I read that passage more as an admonition similar to one I heard often, that if something just doesn't make sense, it isn't buddhism, even if someone claims it under some sense of orthodox authority. Of course there are plenty of people arguing their doctrines are the only True Buddhism and many of them have legitimate claims, and their teachings do make sense. Don't worry, we'll get it straightened out in a few aeons or so.
Yeah, that mutual posession of ten worlds doctrine was one of the things that really grabbed me about buddhism. I'll give you an example about Anger leading to enlightenment. Let's say you see someone beating a dog. It makes you really angry. But you reach for the boddhisatva world within anger by stopping the beating, saving the dog, and maybe donating some money to the local animal shelter. Your anger has turned into something positive, leading you (and other lower beings) into a higher state of being.
Now just be glad I didn't hit you with the next doctrine after the mutual posession of 10 worlds, it's called "30,000 life-conditions in a single moment." Ever seen those mandalas with thousands of buddhas inside cocentric rings? It's like that, except in 4 dimensions.

[ Parent ]
Don't respond..he's a troll (none / 0) (#399)
by JohnnyCannuk on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:50:51 AM EST

Ta b sh d y ,

Don't bother with this guy. Although he shows some knowledge of Buddhism, he is, unfortunately, not treading the 8-Fold Path. His posts are filled with anger and insults (hinyhana? not used for many, many years - an insult for Thervadin). He is clearly not using Right Thought and Right Speech.

If you want an excellent introduction to Buddhist teachings try Walpola Rahula's Classic What the Buddha Taught or The Beginners Guid to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path by Jean Smith.

Thanks
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Hey, dude.... (5.00 / 1) (#293)
by kraant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:41:11 AM EST

You sure sound remarkably stressed for a Buddhist.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Some corrections, if I may (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:23:51 AM EST

Uh... I'm not a Buddhist, but I understood that Mahayana Buddhism flowed from Theravada Buddhism, and Vajarayana Buddhism flowed from Mahayan Buddhism. Hinayana is one of the "lesser vehicles" and I probably should have put it in, even if it seems to be followed by one school (the Theravadin sect) today... This being said, Buddhism today has many different sects. These seemed to me to be the main ones.

You've got this all discombobulated. Let me interject some sanity.

Hinayana is an obsolete term in Buddhism. The term literally means "lesser vehicle", however the connotation makes it really mean "despicable vehicle". I can clearly deduce that sakusha is a Mahayanan from the choice of words. Or at least has read a lot of Mahayana texts and relatively little pre-Mahayana texts. Many people who don't know better use Hinayana and Theravada interchangeably. Don't. To use the term "Hinayana" in that way is insulting to a Theravadin. In fact, don't ever write or utter the word Hinayana again. No reason to. There is no sect today that identifies itself as such. The term appears in sutras in reference to the long-gone Sarvastivada school.

Vajrayana Buddhism does not "flow from" Mahayana Buddhism. It's a sub-sect of it, not an off-shoot. It would be like saying that Jesuits "flow from" Catholicism.

[ Parent ]
Anger (5.00 / 3) (#92)
by igny ignoble on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:42:06 PM EST

There seems to be a lot of anger in your words. Terms like "vegan nutcase" are hateful. Vegetarianism is a big part of Zen, and although you may not practise it, it doesn't make it any less a part of contemporary Buddhism.

According to most statistics I've seen, Buddhism is ranked about 4th or 5th in world religions. In the west it's usually considered the fastest growing religion.

[ Parent ]

Anger is good. Gets the juices flowing. (none / 0) (#204)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:04:33 AM EST

Vegetarianism is not a big part of any Buddhist sect I know of. Siddhartha specifically refused to demand vegetarianism when Devadatta suggested it (that's a nice way of putting it, anyway). Zen is neither vegetarian nor really even Buddhism so much as it's Taoism. It's kind of an overlapping philosophical sect.

As far as whether Buddhism is or is not the largest religion... all the statistics that are popular now specifically dropped a great number of Buddhists and Shintoists (and probably other eastern beliefs) on the basis that these people were not "really" Buddhists or Shintoists, but they were just saying so because lots of people in Asia have more than one such belief system they profess to follow. I daresay it was an intentional move to make Christianity appear at the top of the list, since I'm pretty sure they did not similarly discount all nonpracticing Christians.

[ Parent ]
Anger, Vegetarianism, and Buddhism (none / 0) (#220)
by igny ignoble on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:07:27 AM EST

In reply to the subject line, I feel absolutely horrible when I'm angry. My stomach ties up in knots and I make poor choices that are always ego-centric. My own experience tells me that making actions while angry is never helpful. I find it much better to diffuse my anger with love before taking any action.

At every Zen institution I've known of, all meals were vegetarian. In Japan, all the meals are vegan. I guess the importance you place on meals would determine the importance you place on vegetarianism in Zen. :)

The Mahayana and Theravada (my original tradition) differ in their canons as to whether the Buddha was vegetarian and asked his followers to be vegetarians. I'm willing to say that the Buddha wasn't a vegetarian (although even Theravadan traditions do not allow monks to eat meat that was specifically prepared for them).

The importance of Buddhist practise in my opinion is causing the least amount of harm. When we look at the results of eating meat, we see that by doing so we support wrong livelihoods (such as butchers and the fishermen). Again, even the Theravadan tradition agrees that these livelihoods shouldn't be practised because they do not lead a person to become more loving and compassionate.

As to whether Zen is more Taoism or Buddhism, I cannot say. I can only compare it to my previous (Thai forest/Theravadan) tradition. The main difference I see is that Zen focuses more on concentration practise than Vipassana (meaning insight meditation--a misnomer, but that's another issue). Zen also has more developed pracitises like koans (that attempt to short circuit the discursive mind and get down to business). Finally, I found Zen to be much less sexiest (and much closer to the Buddha's teachings), since Zen has kept its lineage of nuns.

Zen and Thervada disagree on the goals of Buddhism. In Zen, the goal is to become a Buddha. In Thervada, the goal is to become enlightened. Both are superb goals and one needn't discuss which is better.

I honestly don't know anything about Taoism, so if you could identify the parts of Zen that are Tao, I would be greatful.

I'm willing to concede world statistics are biased.

[ Parent ]

There are two kinds of anger. (5.00 / 1) (#227)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:09:07 AM EST

The kind that you control, and the kind that controls you. Cold anger and hot anger, if you like.

At every Zen institution I've known of, all meals were vegetarian. In Japan, all the meals are vegan. I guess the importance you place on meals would determine the importance you place on vegetarianism in Zen. :)

Where are all of these Zen institutions? That's important to consider. In Japan, all the meals are vegan because that's what Japanese spiritualists are into. I just meant that there is no written or unwritten rule about vegetarianism and any sect of Buddhism I know of. Sure, you can be a vegetarian and still be a Buddhist. Strictly speaking, you can be a child molester and still be a Buddhist, too.

The Mahayana and Theravada (my original tradition) differ in their canons as to whether the Buddha was vegetarian and asked his followers to be vegetarians. I'm willing to say that the Buddha wasn't a vegetarian (although even Theravadan traditions do not allow monks to eat meat that was specifically prepared for them).

This is a very hairy area. Lots of differing opinions. It's beyond the scope of the k5 comments, I think. Instead, I'll point you here. Lots of disagreement about who did or did not say what, when they did or did not say it, whether it was in Sanskrit or Pali when it was or wasn't said, and stuff like that. In short: yes, lots of schools prefer that interpretation. I'm of the persuasion that it wasn't the express wish of Gotama-Buddha to be a vegetarian. Why can't people eat meat when other animals do? If we're not supposed to eat them, why are they even made of meat in the first place? Why would the Buddha sign off on the wholesale slaughter and consumption of innocent and mostly defenseless plants if he forbade the wholesale slaughter and consumption of less innocent and much less defenseless animals? The question is academic for me. I'm gonna eat steak and not feel bad about it, either way.

Zen and Thervada disagree on the goals of Buddhism. In Zen, the goal is to become a Buddha. In Thervada, the goal is to become enlightened. Both are superb goals and one needn't discuss which is better.

It seems to me that it's more correct to say that in Zen the goal is to become enlightened and in Theravada the goal is to become an arahant. But you'd be the higher authority on the goal of Theravada than I.

I honestly don't know anything about Taoism, so if you could identify the parts of Zen that are Tao, I would be greatful.

All of it, really. But that's no answer. It's hard to find any satisfactory way to define or describe Zen or Taoism in any amount of completeness in the first place.... Let me see what I can do.

Zen (as I see it) differs from other schools of Buddhism in that Zen ultimately tries to convey that there is no winning formula to achieveing enlightenment. It won't come with the help of dietary habits (like eating no meat), it won't come with the help of meditation, it won't come with the help of reading or trying to emulate the dharmas. Zen Buddhists do a lot of these things as a matter of self-discipline only. Not because it's any step of the process. All this totally agrees with Taoist principles. There's no reason to do weird shit to be closer to the Way of things because it's ridiculous to believe you were ever removed from the Way in the first place. Zen is just a process that helps people to realize that. And since everyone needs something different to realize that, maybe it will involve vegetarianism, or meditation, or the dharmas. Or maybe it will involve something entirely different. Zen doesn't claim to be the right way for anyone, and doesn't offer any perks to people who sign up except a potential entire lifetime of not finding what you're looking for. People don't need to be Zen Buddhists to achieve the goals of Zen Buddhism. They do not hold any monopoly on the process of finding what they're after. A person who is an arahant or a bodhisattva will certainly know they are such. It is a goal they have specifically set out for. By the Zen definition of "enlightenment", you don't need to know you're enlightened, or even know what enlightenment is to achieve it. It's not a constant state, and after you get it, you can lose it. I'm talking about mushin, of course.

Mushin is identical to what Taoists refer to as wu-wei. There's no really easy way to explain what it is, so I'll have to satisfy you that it's something like effortlessness combined with no clear ego-self. It's what you do when you're sleeping. It's what every other animal except people have no problem doing. It's not like becoming a buddha or a bodhisattva or an arahant. Those things are all distinct from each other and are just names that people give to relatively simple concepts that are hard to word. Because words are inadequate.

I'm at a loss to explain anything more than that, either in relation to Zen or in relation to Taoism. The first statement in the Tao Te Ching is "The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao".

The koans are a good idea that no Taoist would ever have thought of, because we don't generally recognize a need to make people understand the concept. It's possible to "get it" without realizing that you get it.

[ Parent ]
Mu (5.00 / 1) (#395)
by igny ignoble on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:22:45 AM EST

The kind that you control, and the kind that controls you. Cold anger and hot anger, if you like.

In my experience, cool anger is just me fooling myself into believing I'm not really anger. :)

Where are all of these Zen institutions? That's important to consider. In Japan, all the meals are vegan because that's what Japanese spiritualists are into. I just meant that there is no written or unwritten rule about vegetarianism and any sect of Buddhism I know of. Sure, you can be a vegetarian and still be a Buddhist. Strictly speaking, you can be a child molester and still be a Buddhist, too.

In the link you have below there are written rules about vegetarianism.

This is a very hairy area. Lots of differing opinions. It's beyond the scope of the k5 comments, I think. Instead, I'll point you here. Lots of disagreement about who did or did not say what, when they did or did not say it, whether it was in Sanskrit or Pali when it was or wasn't said, and stuff like that. In short: yes, lots of schools prefer that interpretation. I'm of the persuasion that it wasn't the express wish of Gotama-Buddha to be a vegetarian. Why can't people eat meat when other animals do? If we're not supposed to eat them, why are they even made of meat in the first place? Why would the Buddha sign off on the wholesale slaughter and consumption of innocent and mostly defenseless plants if he forbade the wholesale slaughter and consumption of less innocent and much less defenseless animals? The question is academic for me. I'm gonna eat steak and not feel bad about it, either way.

Plants are not sentient beings according to Buddhist doctrine. I'm not asking you to feel bad for eating meat, only consider the indirect result of such action. To me, it's a bit like saying prostiution is a bad occupation, but then periodically buying sex. Surely, you can understand that if there wasn't a need for meat, animals would not be killed and no one would need to break the precept of non-killing.

It seems to me that it's more correct to say that in Zen the goal is to become enlightened and in Theravada the goal is to become an arahant. But you'd be the higher authority on the goal of Theravada than I.

Arahat means an enlightened disciple in this context.

All of it, really. But that's no answer. It's hard to find any satisfactory way to define or describe Zen or Taoism in any amount of completeness in the first place.... Let me see what I can do.

Zen (as I see it) differs from other schools of Buddhism in that Zen ultimately tries to convey that there is no winning formula to achieveing enlightenment.

I have to disagree. In my experience, Zen is tailored to each student with the Roshi assigning a practise most suited to the individual. The goal is satori. Don't become confused by the intrinsic paradoxes (like one is already enlightened so there is no enlightenment to gain) that exist in enlightenment. The logical mind cannot process such things. It is enough to say that the Buddhist practise leads to enlightenment and that is all.

It won't come with the help of dietary habits (like eating no meat), it won't come with the help of meditation, it won't come with the help of reading or trying to emulate the dharmas.

I disagree. Compassion is part and parcel of Buddhist practise. Vegetarianism to my mind is the realisation of compassion. Meditation, observing precepts, etc. all lead one toward enlightenment.

Zen Buddhists do a lot of these things as a matter of self-discipline only. Not because it's any step of the process. All this totally agrees with Taoist principles.

Again, I must disagree. For instance in concentration one must progress from counting the breathes, to watching the breathes, to concentrating on a koan or concentrating without an object of meditation.

There's no reason to do weird shit to be closer to the Way of things because it's ridiculous to believe you were ever removed from the Way in the first place. Zen is just a process that helps people to realize that.

Aha, so there is a process and a practise. :) This is that intristic paradox I was talking about earlier, don't become too obsessed with these things.

And since everyone needs something different to realize that, maybe it will involve vegetarianism, or meditation, or the dharmas. Or maybe it will involve something entirely different. Zen doesn't claim to be the right way for anyone,

I should mention at this point, that neither does any other sect of Buddhism. The Buddha's Path is only for people with little dust in their eyes to see the way.

...and doesn't offer any perks to people who sign up except a potential entire lifetime of not finding what you're looking for. People don't need to be Zen Buddhists to achieve the goals of Zen Buddhism.

I don't really follow this. Buddhism in all forms is essentially a toolkit to help one get to one's destination. If one didn't need the toolkit, there would be no Buddhism.

Enlightenment in Zen is not different than enlightment in other sects of Buddhism, or perhaps it is completely different. A mind that wish to see large difference will see them, a mind that doesn't won't see any differences at all.

They do not hold any monopoly on the process of finding what they're after. A person who is an arahant or a bodhisattva will certainly know they are such. It is a goal they have specifically set out for. By the Zen definition of "enlightenment", you don't need to know you're enlightened,

An enlightened Roshi must confirm enlightenment in Zen.

...or even know what enlightenment is to achieve it. It's not a constant state, and after you get it, you can lose it. I'm talking about mushin, of course.

Mushin is not satori.

Mushin is identical to what Taoists refer to as wu-wei. There's no really easy way to explain what it is, so I'll have to satisfy you that it's something like effortlessness combined with no clear ego-self. It's what you do when you're sleeping. It's what every other animal except people have no problem doing. It's not like becoming a buddha or a bodhisattva or an arahant. Those things are all distinct from each other and are just names that people give to relatively simple concepts that are hard to word. Because words are inadequate.

It seems like your saying animals are more self-realised or something. I really don't follow. It's doubtful further discussion would help. From my prospective, I don't understand Tao and you don't understand Zen. From your prospective, I don't understand that I'm secretly practising Taoism. :)

[ Parent ]

Just my $.02... (5.00 / 1) (#423)
by Pihkal on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:32:32 PM EST

I studied Zen in college and practice it now in a zendo. My understanding of the history of ch'an (called zen in nipponese) is that it was a form of buddhism that originated when Indian buddhists entered China and started teaching. There, they found a receptive audience, who saw many similarities between taoism and buddhism. The resulting buddhism was heavily influenced by taoist ideas.

If a non-zen buddhist wishes to call zen taoist, that's his business, but he should understand that we think of ourselves as buddhist, not taoist. And  he's mistaken about the buddhist numbers, too. Buddhism is only ranked 5th for total numbers on adherents.com. There are indeed valid concerns about the data collection methods in determining this, but they are probably not big enough effects to explain a difference of 1.7 billion (350 mil buddhists / 2.1 bil Christians).

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]

You are an Asura (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by CoolName on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:49:58 PM EST


"What does your conscience say? -- 'You shall become the person you are.'" Friedrich Nietzsche


[ Parent ]

Jainism (none / 0) (#114)
by Sciamachy on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:04:05 PM EST

Jains vow not to harm any living being, and their priests and nuns carry brooms to sweep away bugs so as to avoid stepping on them, and they also wear facemasks to avoid breathing in insects. They live on windfall fruit, too. Might you have been thinking of Jainism? They're still very much in existence though.

Also, what are Tantrayana and Vajnayana?
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

Jains (none / 0) (#119)
by sakusha on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:25:45 PM EST

No, this was specifically a Japanese buddhist sect, I looked them up and apparently the story was true. Alas it was so long ago, I forgot the name of the sect. I remember this issue of vegetarianism coming up again and again in my buddhist discussion groups. The priests continually said that Life is built on Death. There is no karmic difference between killing plants and killing animals for food, all life feeds on other life. Thus, we all have innately bad karma, that's the level playing field we live on. What matters is what you do about your bad karma. Giving up eating living beings is not an option.

[ Parent ]
Good point! (none / 0) (#193)
by Sciamachy on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:30:52 AM EST

...though I daresay limiting the range of what you consume has some merit? Then again, I suppose if all we ate was rice, we'd be responsible for eating millions of organisms - maybe eating one elephant over a period of a month has less karma attached, or does the karma increase with the degree of evolution of the consumed organism? Or is it all pretty much the same? Hmm... You've got me thinking deep thoughts again - eek! *goes away to meditate*
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]
I scoff at your "deep thoughts" (none / 0) (#309)
by auraslip on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:45:50 AM EST

if you want to place a value on life, just compare them to why we value human lives
___-___
[ Parent ]
ew. a dogmatic Buddhist. (n/t) (5.00 / 2) (#271)
by kwertii on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:42:07 PM EST




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Speaking of "Factual Errors" (none / 0) (#334)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:56:37 PM EST

"Buddhism is THE LARGEST religion today" .... survey says... errrrr!  Wrong, not even close.

1) Christianity - 2 Billion (gotta love those Jesuits)

2) Islam - 1.3 Billion (gotta love those Janissaries)

3) Hinduism - 900 million (Holy Cow!)

4) Secular/Agnostic/Atheiest - 850 Million (not sure if these should be lumped together)

5) Buddhisim -  360 Million (Obviously math is NOT part of the doctrine).

Statistics can be found at: http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

[ Parent ]

So what you are saying is.... (none / 0) (#375)
by sunyata on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:24:32 PM EST

All you slanty eyed gooks. Our lovely world has been "blessed" by 2 billion racist, inbreed, non-tolerant, holier than thou assholes like yourself. Fun.

[ Parent ]
Some notes (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by omghax on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 05:12:25 PM EST

Karma and related concepts are borrowed and adapted from Hinduism, as is the idea of reincarnation ("Buddha" was probably a Hindu originally).

Zen Buddhism is cool because it leaves out most of that - it's very distilled.

Here here! (none / 0) (#118)
by Sciamachy on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:22:52 PM EST

That's what I love about Zen - less cruft, strips it down to the essentials.
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]
I already responded to this ... (4.66 / 3) (#100)
by me0w on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 06:35:13 PM EST

When it was in the diaries, but I'll link it here anyway.


Desire nothing for yourself, which you do not desire for others. - Spinoza

Gnosticism and Buddhism in The Matrix (1.25 / 4) (#111)
by simpleman on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:31:12 PM EST

Couple of more movies like Matrix .......

Enlightenment - How does one tell? (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by CoolName on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 07:49:41 PM EST

All kinds of lowlifes claim to be enlightened, but then one will discover that the 'enlightened being' had a plan to poison the local town. People are always going through various experiences. How is one to tell whether a particular experience is even close. (This, of course, for those who might be close.) Language is supposedly inadequate to describe the experience. I would have loved to see the Buddha just to know whether an enlightened being radiates some force which discloses the enlightened state. Perhaps the dynamics of conversation might disclose whether someone is enlightend but this almost implies only another enlightened being is able to recognize another as an enlightened being. To checkout whether someone has reached a certain state one must be able to 'climb the mountain' too to be with the individual in question in order verify the mountain was climbed. Unless, of course, one is the Buddha when the fact of enlightement is fairly obvious.

"What does your conscience say? -- 'You shall become the person you are.'" Friedrich Nietzsche


what does it... (none / 0) (#195)
by raukea on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:35:38 AM EST

... matter what an enlightened person looks like. The point each and everyone's own salvation, right? I mean, if someone gets his kicks out of claiming to be enlightened then that's his problem.
Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Missing the point. (4.00 / 1) (#221)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:09:06 AM EST

There is no reason to devise a system to identify a buddha as opposed to anyone else. Use your own judgment. If a person is saying stuff that is reasonable and useful to you, do they have to be enlightened for you to take good advice? If the person is saying things that seem unreasonable and are not useful to you, would you follow that advice anyway if you somehow later determined that person to be enlightened?

Bruce Lee said it best in Enter the Dragon, I think. "It's like a finger pointing to the Moon. DON'T CONCENTRATE ON THE FINGER or you will miss all that heavenly glory!"

Enlightenment is not some esoteric state of being. True enlightenment only comes after you realize that there is no reason to STRIVE to be enlightened. There is no mysterious truth that you must learn. There is no metaphysical plane of existence that you must visit. Someone who is enlightened will not typically go around trying to fix people. People are not broken by design. Gotama-Buddha didn't go around fixing people's problems. People came to him. He did what he could. Some people didn't like it. Others did. If you're expecting some shining halo or voice from the sky or eyes that contain the universe in their gaze as a proper identification for a buddha you're in for a disappointment.

[ Parent ]
Lot of enlightened people on earth (none / 0) (#266)
by CoolName on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:18:22 PM EST

George Bush for example must be enlightened. Surely George Bush is in no way striving for enlightenment. I think it is very good policy to judge issues on the merits rather than on authority. Nowhere in the comment was there any suggestion one just do what the enlightened say. I do think just to cease striving for enlightenment or just to cease desiring is no guarantee of enlightenment. With the cessation of desire new forces must come into play otherwise one just sits there and expires. Perhaps the cessation of desire swings one into a new orbit so to speak. The question is what path does this new orbit take, what are the forces shaping this new path.

"What does your conscience say? -- 'You shall become the person you are.'" Friedrich Nietzsche


[ Parent ]

Now you're getting it (none / 0) (#295)
by phybre187 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:34:12 AM EST

With the cessation of desire new forces must come into play otherwise one just sits there and expires.

Precisely. You do nothing, and yet nothing is left undone. Besides, expiration was a foregone conclusion. Being enlightened does not make you any more immortal than other people.

[ Parent ]
I am sorry to say I still must be off track (none / 0) (#374)
by CoolName on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:49:13 PM EST

I think enlightnenment is a extremely rare phenomenon. I believe there have been less than 100 enlightnements in the history of the earth. I think an enlightenment must be to save all living beings. This rules out for example just sitting in the zen garden and gazing at the sand and rock. How just do nothing results in saving all living beings I find incomphrehensible. Via magic perhaps. Unforunately I suppose, I am very far away from the 'do nothing' enlightnment.

"What does your conscience say? -- 'You shall become the person you are.'" Friedrich Nietzsche


[ Parent ]

Good Quote... (none / 0) (#396)
by JohnnyCannuk on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:35:35 AM EST

..except Bruce Lee was actually quoting the Buddha. How ironic, eh?
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]
Zen Master Dogen said.. (none / 0) (#270)
by kwertii on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:38:56 PM EST

"Don't assume that you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment."


----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
neat (none / 0) (#458)
by jrz on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 02:01:09 AM EST

"I gained nothing at all from Supreme Enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called Supreme Enlightenment." -- Gotama Buddha
there is no idea so good that it can't be ruined by a few well-placed idiots.
[ Parent ]
Not sure (5.00 / 5) (#115)
by Sciamachy on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:13:42 PM EST

...about your explanation of karma. As I understand it, karma is roughly equivalent to "action". Dukkha, (suffering or disappointment) is everywhere and unavoidable, and it's caused by cravings, attachments, and karma. You do anything that has any bad consequences, that karma has been created. It's not like a debt necessarily in some little book of accounts kept for you; it's more like ripples on a pond, or heat introduced into a fluid - this action causes more actions further and further out away from you. Some of it will get back to you, sure, but the bigger point is that you'll have concentrated to the general suffering in the world. Merit is gained mainly by alleviating suffering - helping people and suchlike. Dukkha can be mitigated by meditation - gain control of your thoughts and as Marcus Aurelius said, you can deny what happens your displeasure.

Wherever Buddhism has taken root, people have somehow ended up plastering it over with local folklore and customs, which is why Tibetan buddhism appears different from that of Thailand, and that of Japan - but if you want to know Buddhism's core values, just read the Dhammapada.
--
Fides Non Timet

karma (5.00 / 1) (#192)
by raukea on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:30:37 AM EST

Hmm... the point of reaching for Nirvana is that it is a release from samsara and all things involved, including karma.
Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Absolutely (none / 0) (#219)
by Sciamachy on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:01:25 AM EST

- the idea being that once you've attained full enlightenment, you won't end up reincarnating after you die. Zen, on the other hand, places more stress on what goes on in this life, here & now.

I'm reminded of something I read in an ISKCON book on reincarnation - the Hare Krishna sect are basically Hindus, and they believe that whatever you have on your mind when you die, that's what you'll end up as in your next life. There's a story of a saintly, wise old man who takes a deer as a pet, which he's rescued from some danger or other. He grows to love the deer, and when he dies of old age, his last thought is "Who will feed my deer?" - so he ends up as a deer himself! I guess, coming from that background of Hinduism, the obvious way to be nothing in your next incarnation, i.e. escape the process, is to think of absolutely nothing as you die.

the thing that gets me hung up occasionally is the idea that you can experience Satori, and it's (predictably) a fleeting moment at best (as everything's impermanent anyway) - with it so fleeting, in order to really be a buddha, do you have to experience satori after satori in never-ceasing waves, or what? :-)

I'm sure I'm probably making a huge mistake somewhere - I'm just a beginner at the whole Zen/Buddhism thing, really.
--
Fides Non Timet
[ Parent ]

mistakes... (none / 0) (#345)
by raukea on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 02:03:43 PM EST

...are what make us human, I guess. And I don't think that even if we could describe and explain Nirvana in a perfect way. It wouldn't really matter either. I mean, I can say to myself: I believe that there's a release to all the pain...etc. and I can say, yes I think I understand the method and the state called Nirvana. But blind faith doesn't really help in any way, and knowledge does not help either.

Just think of the heroin addict who knows that heroine is bad and it isn't really smart to use it, but can't really do anything about it because he can't control himself anymore. The goal is to have first hand experience of it.

Yeah, sounds cool, I really don't know either. But as it comes to this Zen thingie, I recollect that in Hui Neng's Sutra (which I can't quote straight here) the point was to stop the the chain of thinking and just focus on the reality as it happens. Don't really know if this kind of state can be kept going to all eternity... but hey, fundamental answers never seem to work anyways.

Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
Karma? (3.66 / 3) (#116)
by bdesham on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:18:59 PM EST

I tried to figure out what my karma would be as a number, but all it said was "Excellent". Oh well.

--
"Scattered showers my ass." -- Noah
Groan! (nt) (none / 0) (#174)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:45:51 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
A Favorite Buddhist Quote (5.00 / 15) (#120)
by jsonic on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:40:08 PM EST

A quote attributed to Buddha, from the Dhammapada, an important Buddhist document:

Do not believe in anything (simply)
because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they
have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe in anything because it is
spoken and rumoured by many.
Do not believe in anything (simply) because
it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority
of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis,
when you find anything that agrees with reason
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all
then accept it and live up to it.
-- Buddha

Wow, that is so incredibly profound. (2.33 / 6) (#167)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:23:54 AM EST

Actually, no it isn't.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

the significance of this quote... (4.00 / 5) (#269)
by kwertii on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:36:17 PM EST

.. does not lie in its inherent profundity.

Rather, it's that these common sense, seemingly so-obvious-as-to-be-self-evident words are the explicit teaching of a major world religion, and moreover they're pretty much the exact opposite of what almost every other major religion says to do - especially the Abrahamic ones popular in the West.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all revealed religions. They teach you that some special group of elite people (prophets) had a direct connection to the big guy who runs the universe, somehow, and so we should just accept what they heard from Him and then wrote down for us as immutable dogma, and that we should take the word of the clerics of (insert favorite sect) here on matters of interpretation, because they've studied these holy books extensively and are thus far more qualified to interpret than us ordinary peons.

This quote is good because it emphasizes just the opposite. Don't just take the word of religious leaders and holy books and your elders; examine these matters for yourself and only accept the teachings if you agree.




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Dude, (2.00 / 5) (#273)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:53:23 PM EST

Everthing you just said is totally disconnected with reality.

Just wanted to let you know.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Dude, (none / 0) (#294)
by crulx on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:21:06 AM EST

While your last statement has a certain truth to it, you can equally apply it to everything you have said, only you do not recognize it. *smile*

Good luck!
---
Jt
"This will get attached to your comments. Sigs are typically used for quotations or links." - Kuro5hin
[ Parent ]

pls (2.50 / 2) (#305)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:20:52 AM EST

pls read books k thx.

come back when you're done so we can discuss something worthwhile.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

hey troll (5.00 / 1) (#296)
by circletimessquare on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:23:31 AM EST

anytime you want to play around in the troll big leagues, drop me a line, and i'll smack you around until you forget yourself

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

wtf are you? (2.50 / 2) (#306)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:21:41 AM EST

don' teach your grammammy to suck eggs, dumbass.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

lol (none / 0) (#357)
by circletimessquare on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:48:20 PM EST

now we're talking

tell me when you are ready to take this out of the second grade level insults


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

believe it. (2.50 / 2) (#369)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:13:10 PM EST

I still got a bigger member.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

then enjoy your giant dong (none / 0) (#372)
by circletimessquare on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:40:52 PM EST

and get back to me when your mentality escapes the teenage years

true trolling involves an adult skillset, not stupid preteen level drivel spewing you only seem capable of

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

yo (2.50 / 2) (#373)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:49:50 PM EST

get back to me when your girlfriend cries for more of the sweet stuff only I can provide.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

starting at 8th grade, going 7th grade, 6th next.. (none / 0) (#381)
by circletimessquare on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 12:09:56 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
heh (5.00 / 1) (#394)
by Battle Troll on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 10:39:05 AM EST

"You're so immature!"
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Hey man. (2.00 / 3) (#398)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:48:47 AM EST

I think I'm beating you like a little baby in the idiocy contest.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

good job! now fifth... (nt) (none / 0) (#409)
by circletimessquare on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:59:18 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
bah (none / 0) (#279)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:11:55 PM EST

we should take the word of the clerics of (insert favorite sect) here on matters of interpretation, because they've studied these holy books extensively and are thus far more qualified to interpret than us ordinary peons.

I'd like to see you convince a bunch of 4th-century Albanian tribesmen of the Eight Noble Truths. Oops, too late, they cut out your heart.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

The passage is more meaningful... (4.00 / 1) (#218)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:59:18 AM EST

If you consider it as referring TO Buddhism, rather than ABOUT Buddhism. Especially now that it's such a Western fad to be a Buddhist.

[ Parent ]
Buddhism and Science (none / 0) (#288)
by rgwk on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:13:10 AM EST

Buddhism and Science have more in common than one might think. Most researchers are poor and do what they do for the love of it and for the benefit of others whom their research affects. just a short note..
Its one damned thing before another! Dick Bird 1999
[ Parent ]
What bunk! (none / 0) (#312)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:28:53 AM EST

Name me one buddhist scientist, and I'll name you Descartes and Pascal.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Einstein... (none / 0) (#322)
by radghast on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:41:32 AM EST

...was most likely a Buddhist in all but name.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
"In all but name" (1.00 / 2) (#329)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:32:26 PM EST

doesn't count, sorry.

Please stop trolling.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

A koan for you (none / 0) (#346)
by radghast on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 02:25:46 PM EST

One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river. "Look at the fish swimming about," said Chuang Tzu, "They are really enjoying themselves." "You are not a fish," replied the friend, "So you can't truly know that they are enjoying themselves." "You are not me," said Chuang Tzu. "So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?"
"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
Koans are cool. (2.50 / 2) (#347)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:26:01 PM EST

But lying isn't.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Sure it's fun. (none / 0) (#354)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:34:55 PM EST

But it's not the nice way to play.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Karma (4.12 / 8) (#121)
by beep on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 08:47:49 PM EST

About Karma - the word itself means "choice". It's all about what you chose to do or chose not to do, and the implications of your choices.

Deceptive statement. (none / 0) (#217)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:57:02 AM EST

That would suggest that karma is like Judaism in that it doesn't matter WHY you do "the right thing" so long as you do it. This as opposed to the Christian belief that "it's the thought that counts".

The Buddhist concept of karma (not quite identical with the Hindu concept of karma) is halfway between, I think. It's important to act for the right reason (or, indeed, for NO reason?), but ultimately you're supposed to reach a state where there is no need to STRIVE to do what is right, or to question your own reasons for doing it. At that point, "the right thing" has no meaning, and you just "do".

[ Parent ]
Why has an absolutely erroneous statement... (4.00 / 1) (#245)
by splitpeasoup on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:13:51 PM EST

...been 5'd by 6 different individuals?

Please do not rate a statement of fact up or down if you have no clue whether the statement is correct or not.

'Karma' is simply a Sanskrit word. It does not mean 'choice'. It does not mean anything like choice. It means work, or action.

For a basic intro to karma philosophy, go here.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

Siddhartha... & some thoughts (4.85 / 7) (#124)
by SaintPort on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 09:00:48 PM EST

'suprised no one mentioned Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

(none of the following relates to book mentioned above).

On karma...
I find that this is a parallel to the 'Law of the Harvest'... You reap what you sow.  If you sow love, you reap love.  If you plant discord, you receive discord.  I have recently realized the nuts and bolts of this law in relation to character development.  A man of good character does good without sticks or carrots, for the sake of good and the sake of his character.  Because he proves his character before others, they love him and bless him.

Regarding...
One person I know said this about Buddhism: Buddhism teaches that it is ignorance that leads people to believe the illusive idea there is only one life which will be followed by everlasting paradise or torment.

Indeed, I know some Shinto/Buddhists who are uncomfortable with reincarnation & heaven/hell & becomming one with the infinite.

I have thought a great deal on this myself.  The human soul has a hunger for justice & mercy & hope & eternal life as a 'self'(...at least those souls I have discussed this topic with).

Also, I guess every religion has a few realists in it's ranks who believe that the soul=the wet  machine... when the body dies, the soul dies, because they are one.  In this case spiritual maturity would be the peaceful acceptance of mortality.

As most of you know, I like the way Christianity has a God that makes it His business to herd all this spirtual energy around to provide mercy, justice and eternal life as an individual.  And I personally feel many Chrisitans could learn a few things about grace and karma from the Buddhists.

Ta bu shi da yu,  great article.  Thank you for enhancing K5.

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

*blush* - stop it! you'll make my head swell! :-) (5.00 / 1) (#173)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:44:30 AM EST

As a Christian myself (somewhat hidden in the comments I post to K5 I must admit) I'm not sure that Buddhism sits comfortably with me.

The way I, as a Christian, go about things is very different to the way a Buddhist goes about things. A Buddhist works to reach enlightenment and does this through the discipline of self and by following moral codes of conduct. As a Christian I follow moral codes of conduct and show love because of my response to Christ's great mercy in save me from sin and entering into a relationship with me.

You can see that the Buddhist and the Christian have similar goals (morality and compassion) yet they do it for completely different reasons. This is my take on things anyway.

I greatly appreciate your kind words! Buddhism is definitely fascinating and it's good to see people found my story useful.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

not at all (5.00 / 2) (#179)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:10:52 AM EST

You'll be surprised to see how a buddhist thinks, one belonging to the most devotional kinds of buddhism. Quite close to christianity, in many ways.

Also, do read "The Mystical Theology" by the christian philosopher Dionysius the Areopagite, and do compare it to the buddhist dogma related to Nirvana. I promise you, there are some surprises waiting for you there. ;-)

[ Parent ]

Not really. (none / 0) (#263)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:42:15 PM EST

The mystical theology of Pseudo-Dionysius and Buddha are quite far apart. The similarity is fairly superficial. For an in-depth discussion of Pseudo-Dionysius in the context of the mystical theological tradition of Christianity, see Lossky's Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. It gave me a strong whack to the back of my head.

[ Parent ]
Hooray! (none / 0) (#492)
by Steeltoe on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 09:21:17 PM EST

The mystical theology of Pseudo-Dionysius and Buddha are quite far apart. The similarity is fairly superficial. For an in-depth discussion of Pseudo-Dionysius in the context of the mystical theological tradition of Christianity, see Lossky's Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. It gave me a strong whack to the back of my head.

Hooray for separation!

It's not like anything can fit together into a harmonic unity anymore. Everything must be dissected, tore down to bits and "understood".

Yes, I'm being sarcastic ;-)
Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
my thoughts (none / 0) (#382)
by banffbug on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 01:41:55 AM EST

Why did God, the creator of all, bring life to the devil?
Why do they both have human faces?
A creator stands aside and admires his work; God's hand is in all, and he resides nowhere else.
Satan is merely a fallen angel, part of the oneness of god, yet christianity gives him equal footing against God.
satan welcomes this unwarranted celebrity with greedy eyes

why worship the masculine, while spiting on the feminine?

[ Parent ]

satan stuff (none / 0) (#442)
by SaintPort on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 11:04:04 PM EST

Satan is merely a fallen angel, part of the oneness of god, yet christianity gives him equal footing against God.

Maybe in some tradition, but definitely not in the Bible.  Lucifer is set as on parallel footing to Michael the ArchAngel.  But since Satan does lead the opposition party, he seems to be paralleled to God by default I suppose.

satan welcomes this unwarranted celebrity with greedy eyes

I like this, is it a quote?  source?

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

[ Parent ]

hard to explain (none / 0) (#457)
by banffbug on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 02:00:40 AM EST

not a quote, it's poetry I guess

[ Parent ]
yours? (none / 0) (#459)
by SaintPort on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 05:30:33 AM EST

If so, it is good.

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

[ Parent ]
Quick answers (none / 0) (#493)
by Steeltoe on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 09:32:31 PM EST

Why did God, the creator of all, bring life to the devil?

What makes you believe the devil exists?

Why do they both have human faces?

Your mind tells you so.

A creator stands aside and admires his work; God's hand is in all, and he resides nowhere else.

What God does and doesn't do depends on the definition on God. Contemplate on that first.

Satan is merely a fallen angel, part of the oneness of god, yet christianity gives him equal footing against God.

Without the bad guy, there can be no hero to save the day. Without darkness, how can you tell light for light? Without sadness, you would never know happiness.


Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]
A funny thing happened on my way through life (4.80 / 5) (#126)
by X-Nc on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 10:29:49 PM EST

I had always been interested in Buddhism but didn't really learn or understand much about it till last year. In the spring of 2002 I found some Thai Buddhist Temples and started talking with and befriending some of the monks. How this came about is a long story, with most of it written up in my diary.

Anyway, after some very good exchanges with a couple of the monks and some interesting Dharma talk, one of the monks told me something that took me a bit by surprize. He said that, while I might not be a Buddhist, I lived my life as a better Buddhist than most of the people he knew in Thailand who were Buddhists. I took this as a great compliment.

Tomorrow (Monday) my son and I are going up to visit the Temple (Wat Bpa Nanachart - which translates to "The International Temple in the Forrest"). We haven't been there since April so we're long overdue. My chinese lady friend and her daughter want to come, too. That should make for an enjoyable time.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

In Thailand? (none / 0) (#425)
by CodeBhikkhu on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 05:23:21 PM EST

Do you mean "Wat Pah Nanachat"? Are you in Thailand? Metta, Coda
"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
In Virginia (none / 0) (#453)
by X-Nc on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 02:17:16 PM EST

I'm in VA, USA. The temple is in Aldie VA. I visited Thailand (Chaing Mai for about a week with a day in Chaing Rai) back in Feb 2002. Fell in love with the country, the people, the food... Everything. I hope to go back again.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]
Damned keyboard (none / 0) (#497)
by X-Nc on Wed Oct 08, 2003 at 02:48:27 PM EST

I just noticed that the city names are spelled wrong. It should be Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai. Someone must have switched the keys on my laptop.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]
I give up! (none / 0) (#498)
by X-Nc on Sun Oct 12, 2003 at 09:51:07 AM EST

That's Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

You know it's bad when you're having a conversation with yourself and you spend more time correcting things than actually saying ahything.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

I would have to recommend... (5.00 / 3) (#133)
by hangareighteen on Sun Aug 31, 2003 at 11:56:09 PM EST

Buddhism Plain And Simple,  by Steve Hagen.  It has been
my best aid in understanding Buddhism,  and attempts to avoid
the "scripture" aspects that a lot of people seem to get caught
up in.  It was lent to me by my roommates practicing Buddhist
father.  I'd link to the book or write more but my left hand
is broken.

Another recommendation. (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by nr0mx on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:25:23 AM EST

The Feeling Buddha, by David Brazier. An unconventional interpretation of the Buddha's teachings.

[ Parent ]
Good read... (4.00 / 2) (#145)
by Skull Punk on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:16:15 AM EST

I saw this as a diary last night and it's really gotten a polish to it.  Good job, ta bu shi da yu.

A couple of things I'd like to see expanded upon is the so-called "American" or "Western" Buddhism.  I've heard it mentioned before and not too favorably IIRC.  Also, I've heard that Zen isn't really considered Buddhism.  I'd like to know why that is so as well.

"Our thoughts clear; we fool ourselves" -- Solitude Aeturnus

Zen Buddhism (5.00 / 1) (#286)
by radghast on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:11:27 PM EST

Buddhism has a tendency to evolve to fit the region it is entering. As Buddhism went east through China, Chaan evolved as existing Buddhist thought merged with Taoism. Chaan was migrated north into Japan, where it became Zen. Chaan and Zen are extremely similar.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
Emptiness (4.90 / 11) (#150)
by hoskoteinos on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:01:31 AM EST

There is a very important concept that you did not mention which lies at the heart of every branch of Buddhism: emptiness. When Buddhists speak about emptiness (suntaya), they are generally referring to the emptiness of self--that is, the self or ego does not exist as a real, substantial entity. There is no soul. What you take to be self is merely a heap of transient phenomena--thoughts, feelings, perceptions, etc.--that, when examined, reveal themselves to be dependent and illusory.

"Suffering" is the word most often used to translate dukkha. A more accurate, though less potent, word to use is unsatisfactoriness. Dukkha is not just pain or suffering; it is an acute feeling that something is off, something is wrong. We are not satisfied.

The root cause of dukkha is ignorance of emptiness: I am unsatisfied and I suffer because I believe that I am an independent, self-existent being. Correcting this delusion is the aim of the Buddha's teachings. Until that happens, this illusory self will perpetuate, endlessly seeking to satisfy its myriad desires.

This idea of no-self is what really distinguishes Buddhism from other Eastern schools of thought, such as Vedanta, which says that everything is Self (Atman). This issue--self versus no-self--has been hotly debated for thousands of years in the East.


Isn't this linked into the removal of desire? (none / 0) (#170)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:34:45 AM EST

Interesting though... I never thought of it like this. But it makes sense!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Sunyata. Not suntaya. (none / 0) (#216)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:48:42 AM EST

This idea of no-self is what really distinguishes Buddhism from other Eastern schools of thought, such as Vedanta, which says that everything is Self (Atman). This issue--self versus no-self--has been hotly debated for thousands of years in the East.

If by "Eastern schools" you mean "Dravidian schools" then maybe. I don't see how what you're saying applies to Taoism, Confucianism, or Shintoism. Or stuff like Bushido, if you consider it a seperate entity.

[ Parent ]
thanks (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by hoskoteinos on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:15:10 PM EST

Thanks for correcting my typo (I blame my new friend Dvorak). You are also correct about my overly broad use of "East" -- what I was saying really does apply mainly to Indian schools of thought.

[ Parent ]
uh.. other Eastern? (none / 0) (#473)
by dma3141 on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 05:17:59 PM EST

Let me remind you, Sunyata is a concept that was developed by the Indian scholar 'Nagarjuna', to whom development of the Mahayana branch has been attributed. Is there some sort of latent racism that is preventing you from giving credit where it is due? It's very un-Buddhist of me to ask but I can't help but wonder. Sunyata, or 'emptiness', is the center of one of the most profound schools of philosophic thought ever -- Yoagacara, or "mind-only Buddhism". Deep stuff, check it out, and get over your anti-Indian tendencies while you're at it.

[ Parent ]
In verse .. (none / 0) (#151)
by nr0mx on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:44:02 AM EST

For the interested, you have a poetic rendition of the life of Gautam Buddha in The light of Asia, by Edwin Arnold. Long, but good.

"Philosophy of helplessness and despair (1.00 / 12) (#152)
by sellison on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 02:59:55 AM EST

in the face of an impersonal state" describes buddhism  better than a "religion".

"where people are searching for alternatives to traditional religion."

More like where the atheistic/socialistic 5th columnists are trying to undermine the moral grounding of Christian America with this 'religion' that teachs that there is no hope but to escape into a dream world of "nirvanna". Note that they also teach that the goal of an individual should be to lose himself in a sea of sameness. What a great 'religion' for folks who's goal is a world dictatorship of the proletariat to push on unsuspecting Christians with a the guise of traditional American protection of freedom of 'religion'. But buddhism believes there is no one truth and certainly god, and so is nothing like the sort of religion the founding fathers sought to protect!  

I must say it is interesting that buddhism is a 'philosophy' when the statists want to teach it in tax payer funded colleges, but it is a religion when the tax man calls...

The truth is, buddhism is the heroin of religions, and good Christians should react to these head shaven priests pushing the waste of time they call meditation like they react to addicts in the street: treat them with compassion and pity and try to show them the error of their ways, but don't listen to their lying words for they are addicting as an opiate and just as false in their promise of escape from the misery of the fallen world!


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

I'm still trying to work out what you are. (none / 0) (#168)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:30:15 AM EST

I can't quite work out if you're a troll or you genuinely believe what you write. Sometimes I think, "Spot on", other times I think you're just writing to get a reaction.

To be honest with you, the problem with the teaching of Buddhism in schools (this is coming from a non-American) appears to be more of an issue when you so totally separate state from religion. I'd rather not delve into this debate as I don't know much about it other than to say I understood that Buddhism can't be taught in classes because this philosophy is far too close to a religion. I might be wrong about this.

My only other comment is put as delicately as possible: I am a Christian. I don't believe that Buddhism is the way to the Father. I wrote this story to understand it better and to foster communication and dialect with my cousin. I won't be trying to foist Christianity on anyone. I'll talk about it and debate it, but I won't be trying to convert a person as I see this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

In short: I'll respect and try to understand the belief of others even if I think that it's wrong. And I'll tell them where I disagree with them as calmly and with as much love as possible. You would be wise to do the same.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Foisting salvation? (3.00 / 1) (#175)
by sellison on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:51:07 AM EST

Let me get this straight: you believe that Christianity is the true religion and that accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is the only way to get to Heaven, and yet you do not want to "foist" this belief on your poor cousin?

If your cousin was a heroin addict would you avoid 'foisting' the idea of sobriety on him?

Personally, I can't see how the two are different: if I love my cousin and I now his belief in a false religion will lead him to damnation, then the only thing I can do is tell him the TRUTH as often, as clearly, and as loudly as I can. It would be no different if a person I loved was wasting away in the gutter.

You seem to think Christianity is something like small raft buddhism: a simple matter between a man and God. But the fact is, it is not an simple idea about life among equally valid ideas, to a true Christian, it is the one true way to salvation and all other ways are false.

I don't really think you can call yourself a "Christian" and believe that it is fine for your poor cousin to hold onto his false beleifs until death leads to the damnation of his one immortal soul, I have no idea what sort of Christianity that would be, perhaps one that has accomadated itself to the conquest of our intellectual life by moral relativism, but as you caution me I will caution you: your version of Christianity seems very far from the choice presented to humanity by the Son of God, and you may find yourself on the losing end of Pascal's wager when your judgement day comes around.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Nice try, not going to work sellison (4.00 / 1) (#188)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:05:16 AM EST

Sorry, I can't "foist" my faith or my beliefs onto anyone. If they don't want to listen, then they don't want to listen. Besides, I've already explained why.

End of discussion.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Damn straight. (none / 0) (#378)
by amarodeeps on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:55:58 PM EST

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a good Christian should do: have respect for his or her fellow human. That's what it is when you have this attitude.

Sometimes I think the best thing about trolls is it brings out who you really are. I myself turn out to be a slobbering fool, but other people seem to be nice.



[ Parent ]
Of course! (none / 0) (#392)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:47:26 AM EST

If you can't have respect for another person, how can you show love?? And if you can't show love then there's just no point.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Against Free Will (none / 0) (#231)
by doubletwist on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:22:37 AM EST

I think this is where most "Christians" forget their own teachings. Sure, it may be good to let others know of what you believe. But if they are not interested in learning, you need to let it drop [perhaps with the understanding that they may come to you at any time in the future if they change their mind]. When you start to try to force your beliefs onto others, or to constantly pester them, it is going against your own religion. By most Christian beliefs, didn't God create humans with "free will". If you try to force ANYTHING on anyone, you are directly going against what God gave humans. That's my take on it anyway. DT
This .sig is under construction...
[ Parent ]
Ah, but DO we really have free will? (none / 0) (#235)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:04:15 AM EST

You make too many assumptions. Have another look into Calvinism.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Free will (5.00 / 1) (#365)
by epepke on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:51:05 PM EST

My problem with the concept of free will is that it rolls around like a glob of mercury, to the extent that when anybody talks about free will, I never know what they're talking about precisely enough to argue whether it exists or not. This is exacerbated by the fact that few free-will advocates are willing to answer what I consider the most salient question, which is "free from what?" I know what it is to be free from coercion, for example, provided that coercion is adequately define, but I don't know what "just free" means. Free from Jerry Falwell? Free from physics?

And so, what you get is the meaning of "free will" in discussions blobbing back and forth between several states, some of which are fairly obviously existent, some of which are fairly obviously nonexistent, some of which are fuzzy, and some of which are unfalsifiable.

Free Will seems to be a lot like what my friend John Murray used to call "vacuumware." It exists to fill a void, but it still sucks. Less flippantly, Free Will seems to be a concept that people keep around so that they can build other concepts out of it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Excellent comment! (none / 0) (#407)
by onemorechip on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:35:27 AM EST

"Free from what?" has long been my response to the free will question. Unless that is answered I cannot tell you if free will exists. So far I've never heard or read a good explanation of just what forces "will" is supposed to be free from. And if there were no forces acting on it how can the will exist?
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

You can't cure an addict (none / 0) (#260)
by sellison on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:08:34 PM EST

by taking away his needle, and you can't create a Christian by forcing a person to pray to God.

But you can tell the addict every time you see him that his ways are wrong and will lead to his self destruction, and if you love him, you will.

Christian love for our fellow man is not the easy way, nor is it always polite nor should it be respectful of false beliefs.

The person has free will certainly, given him by our Lord and Savior, but it is a duty of a Christian to love his fellow man, and part of that love is making sure he understands the choice he is making by following false teachings.

Christians who avoid making this plain to their atheist and pagan friends are like the liberals who want the govt. to sweep the addicts off the street into cushy treatment programs: you are too cowardly to deal with the problem directly, you pretend (like ta da) that the problem doesn't exist, that you cousin is not damming himself with his false beliefs, you don't want to make a fuss, you would never preach to someone in the street, you are a Christian in name only, not deed.

And you certainly don't love your fellow men if you would let them do such stupid and foolish things to their immortal souls and you not even raising a fuss.


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

On Healing (none / 0) (#277)
by losthalo on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:50:30 PM EST

You can't cure an addict by taking away his needle, and you can't create a Christian by forcing a person to pray to God.

I couldn't agree with you more.

But you can tell the addict every time you see him that his ways are wrong and will lead to his self destruction, and if you love him, you will.

And how exactly will this convert the heathen to the Way of the Lord? More to the point, can you tell me why you think that Christianity has the Truth and the plethora of other religions do not?

The person has free will certainly, given him by our Lord and Savior, but it is a duty of a Christian to love his fellow man, and part of that love is making sure he understands the choice he is making by following false teachings.

How do you know they are false teachings? Have you received gnosis?

And you certainly don't love your fellow men if you would let them do such stupid and foolish things to their immortal souls and you not even raising a fuss.

Well, if you're right, then you have every reason to push your beliefs on others... It's that IF that always hangs things up, though.

(Losthalo)

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." (Sir Stephen Henry Roberts)

[ Parent ]
How do you know ? (none / 0) (#300)
by dvNull on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:40:24 AM EST

How do you know that the Christianity is the only correct way and not other religions like Islam, Bahai, Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, Jainism, Buddhism ?


If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
How do you NOT know? (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#302)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:48:12 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Is that an objection? (5.00 / 1) (#408)
by onemorechip on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:40:19 AM EST

If it is, then I don't follow it. If there is not a way of knowing (which is what grandparent was inquiring about, albeit rhetorically), then there is every way of not knowing.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

Pascal's wager... (none / 0) (#285)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:52:29 PM EST

Is about the stupidest thing mistaken as logical thought, ever devised by mankind.

Think about it. Even without becoming hypothetical, using strictly real-world examples, a person could come up with more than the 4 possibilities that this man described.

What's more, even his 4 scenarios were unrealistic. Assume that there is no god, but you believe in one... this is far from a good thing. All the strife and friction caused by such a belief tips the scale slightly in favor of non-belief.

The christians are right about one thing though... there is a Hell. Too bad they take this part so literally, trying to turn our planet into it.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

No shit! (none / 0) (#377)
by amarodeeps on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:52:55 PM EST

to a true Christian, it is the one true way to salvation and all other ways are false.

That's why so-called 'true Christians' are so fucking annoying too! Always gotta be the know-it-alls about the 'afterlife' (isn't that an oxymoron anyways?) and about the 'word of God.' Just like the Muslims know-it-alls. I wish you all would just get together and figure out who really knows their shit! Figure out who got the reeeal hardcore knowledge about the Giz-nod, baby, or if any of you actually do. Get something together like that with the Muslims, would ya? I'd appreciate it, it'd help me make up my mind about which ones of you to ignore when you're foaming at me in the subway. Thanks!



[ Parent ]
That isn't true either (none / 0) (#198)
by epepke on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:52:00 AM EST

In the U.S., state-funded colleges can teach anything they damn well please, including any and all religions. Oodles of state universities have religion departments. State-funded primary and secondary schools can teach about religion; they just can't give "religious instruction," e.g. lead people in prayer, teach them how they should follow a religion, etc. I wrote several papers about religions in my time in state-funded secondary school.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Oh. Sorry about that. (nt) (none / 0) (#200)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:14:08 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Dangers of religion (none / 0) (#189)
by raukea on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:23:41 AM EST

So, what's wrong with Buddhism? It tries to teach you three things: how to act in a good way, how to get a strong mind and how to work your way towards happiness in this life by your own actions. And if it works, what's wrong with it? At least you should try and make some viable arguments, specially when your view of christianity seems to be a bit problematic as well. I mean, I'm from outside the U.S, but christianity was interpreted a bit differently to me. Like, thou shalt not judge, etc. God works in mysterious ways, etc. One of the nicest things about buddhism to me is the lack of trying to explain everything away into a neat little package to pass around in the family. Gautama avoided useless metaphysics(like Christ), the point is how to cope with here and now. Not by escaping into a "dreamworld", but by accepting things as they are and not letting them bother you too much. Btw. if Buddhism is heroine, then Christianity is... pcp mixed with good ole lsd? Islam must be cocaine.
Quod me nutrit, me destruit.
[ Parent ]
So long as you define "is", (5.00 / 1) (#278)
by losthalo on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:09:48 PM EST

"Philosophy of helplessness and despair in the face of an impersonal state" describes buddhism better than a "religion".

What of Christianity as a religion of hopelessness and despair? You can't earn the grace of God, you lost it before you were even born and have to beg for it back from a deity who turns careless or foolish people into pillars of salt for a moment of weakness...

I think we need to discuss your definition of helplessness.

...'religion' that teaches that there is no hope but to escape into a dream world of "nirvanna".

...'religion which teaches that there is no hope but to escape into a dream world "heaven".

Try harder. Try again.

I must say it is interesting that buddhism is a 'philosophy' when the statists want to teach it in tax payer funded colleges, but it is a religion when the tax man calls...

I find it interesting that Christianity is a religion when it's taking in money from suckers Believers, and a tax-evasion scheme for con-men once they have the money in their hot little hands...

But buddhism believes there is no one truth and certainly god, and so is nothing like the sort of religion the founding fathers sought to protect!

I'm not aware that the Founding Fathers defined religion, but I do recall mention of Hindus in statements regarding the separation of church from state in the writings of Thomas Jefferson... So how far do you think that definition of 'religion' might be able to stretch?

but don't listen to their lying words for they are addicting as an opiate and just as false in their promise of escape from the misery of the fallen world!

If you don't see that this can all be pointed right back at Christianity, then you need to sit down and do some thinking, not lambast us on a public forum.

(Losthalo)

"Pray to God, but keep rowing to shore."
(Russian Proverb)

[ Parent ]
Surely you mean Deism, right? (none / 0) (#281)
by hmspgh on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:19:23 PM EST

I hate to break up your black panther party, but don't you mean Deism, as the founding fathers weren't Christians, but Deists? You know, the whole "god created the universe then abandoned it" religion?

I still think you're a troll. Not a very good one, at that. K5ARP, now they were good trolls. If you're going to spout off about Jeebus, can't you at least make nice ASCII pictures to entertain us?
---
"Aldous Huxley's 1983 has arrived." - Arthur Spada, CT Public Safety Commis.
[ Parent ]
Nice troll (none / 0) (#318)
by dcheesi on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:24:12 AM EST

The truth is, buddhism is the heroin of religions Yeah, and Christianity is the crack cocaine.

Good troll by the way, and the GWB quote in the .sig finished it off nicely. Although calling him "brother" might have been a little over the top... :)

[ Parent ]

a few corrections (4.85 / 7) (#156)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 03:35:56 AM EST

When he was born it was prophesied that he would become a king if he stayed at home or a great sage and the saviour of humanity if he left.
Actually, the prophecy stated that he will become the saviour of humanity if he learns about suffering and misery. This explains the behaviour of Siddharta's father towards him.

Reincarnation is the transferral of the soul to another state of being once death occurs to a being.
Actually, according to the most strict buddhist teachings, there is no soul, if by "soul" you mean something eternal and indestructible.
What transmigrates is the mind, which is quite perishable.
But i agree, sometimes even the buddhist teachers find it quite tiresome to speak always literally-minded and give up and talk about a "soul" which reincarnates; this is only a favour made to the usual way of speaking - since they are buddhist scholars, there is no doubt in their minds that it's not the "soul" which reincarnates (it doesn't exist!) but an aggregate of natural forces called mind.

A similar confusion exists in christianism. The highest christian metaphysics defines God as that which escapes any definition, beyond the realm of concepts and categories, even beyond fundamental concepts as "existence", etc.
However, quite often it is affirmed within christian dogma that "God exists" or "God is good". Strictly speaking within the doctrine, this is nonsense, because God (according to said doctrine) is actually beyond all that. But it would be rather difficult to speak about God if attention will be payed all time to observance of the literal meaning of the dogma.

There are ten states or realms of being.
According to other buddhist schools (some tibetan teachers) there are actually only six signifficant realms: the ones that you numbered from #5 to #10. Indeed, the first 4 ones are quite obviously later dogmatic interpolations.
In fact, the Buddha is beyond existence. Strictly speaking, it "is" no more, nor "is not". The concept of existence does not apply here.

It seems like your buddhist sources are either Mahayana or Theravada. According to some Vajrayana (tibetan) schools, there is no fundamental difference between Nirvana and Samsara (the worldly existence) hence there is no need for complex explanations for how come Gautama Buddha was able to stay on Earth yet posses the state of the buddha (Nirvana) - since the two are in essence one and the same, it is possible for someone to remain active on Earth yet possess the highest realisation.

But those are really just minor differences between schools. There is no fundamental schism within buddhism.

Thank you for your article!

Thank you for clearing up this! (5.00 / 2) (#165)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:18:14 AM EST

This is why I love K5 - as a discussion forum it's one of the best ones I've seen so far!

To respond and address some points:

You make some very interesting points I wasn't aware of - the first one is especially interesting. Another link in my chain of understanding.

I used the word "Soul" because I honestly couldn't think of a better word for the thing or the "essense" of what moves between the different realms (you can see I'm still struggling now). I see now that this is possibly not such an appropriate term for this concept. You aren't the first person to point this one out to me! You have put it best though when you say that "sometimes even the buddhist teachers find it quite tiresome to speak always literally-minded and give up and talk about a "soul" which reincarnates". Your comparison to the difficulties in elucidating Christian thought on God is particularly apt.

The way you put it is much better - "aggregate of natural forces called mind". Another link in my chain of understanding.

I was dimly aware that some schools of Buddhist thought only really focus on six different realms. My story is really only a flying overview of my understanding of Buddhism - it really didn't set out to be exhaustive. It's great that you've been able to point this out though! Another link in my chain of understanding.

You are correct that my sources are either Mahayana or Theravada. My research mainly pulled up these, I was quite hazy when it came to the Vajrayana schools of Buddhism.

I very much appreciate your kind words. The original copy of this was a diary entry where I asked for more information about Buddhism. You see, my cousin is a Buddhist and I'm a Christian. I find it hard to talk to her about her belief - and consequently talk to her about mybelief - because I had no real understanding of Buddhist philosophy. Though my research cleared up many things I really want to find out more!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

on the christian dogma, on myself and other stuff (5.00 / 2) (#176)
by Alt SysRq B on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:55:18 AM EST

I used the word "Soul" because I honestly couldn't think of a better word
Sir, in this struggle you are not alone. :-)

Your comparison to the difficulties in elucidating Christian thought on God
Millions of (christian, muslim, etc.) people talk about "God" and the way "God is" and all that, and they haven't the faintest idea what's the actual definition of the terms they use.
I've seen many so-called christians ready to fight because someone said "there is no God", while that poor fellow was no wronger, according to the christian dogma, than the so-called christian which says "God exists". The dogma states that God "belongs" beyond the philosophical category (see Plato and Aristotle) of existence. Period. (ok, even "belonging" involves some categories, but i'm trying to be brief here)

I suggest you should read "The Mystical Theology" by Dionysius the Areopagite (alternate names: Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite). That is an extremely short booklet, written a few centuries after Christ, which contains the most elevated and distilled christian dogma. It is amazingly similar to some buddhist stances on the nature of Nirvana. Give it to your buddhist friends if you have difficulties finding bridges in between, and then read the buddhist dogma related to Nirvana, compare it to Dionysius and be amazed.
"The Mystical Theology" dispells many common erroneous myths found in the everyday religion. Worth reading for anyone interested in religion, at least for getting a check-up of the terms and notions.

The way you put it is much better - "aggregate of natural forces called mind"
Well, i was merely quoting from what i read and heard.
If you can, grab some books written by Alexandra David-Neel - she was a french lady which traveled through Tibet at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of her books are like adventure novels, but some other are impressively deep investigations into the highest buddhist metaphysics. I enjoyed both kinds enormously.

my cousin is a Buddhist and I'm a Christian
Well, i'm... Umm...
Ok, so i was born in an orthodox christian country. I studied philosophy and metaphysics and religion quite a lot. I'm not sure what i am now. I noticed that, if i speak to atheists, they get the impression i "believe in God" :-) yet if i speak to typical religious people, they think i'm atheist. Go figure. :-)

My best regards,

[ Parent ]

Linky (none / 0) (#186)
by Cameleon on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:47:15 AM EST

I suggest you should read "The Mystical Theology" by Dionysius the Areopagite
I did a quick google, and you can read it here. It is five short chapters, and I guess that's the complete work, since you said it was quite short.
I noticed that, if i speak to atheists, they get the impression i "believe in God" :-) yet if i speak to typical religious people, they think i'm atheist.
Sounds like you found the 'Middle Way'. :)

[ Parent ]
That must make things tricky! (none / 0) (#187)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:02:34 AM EST

In fact, completely off-topic I know, but it reminds me of a story I read in The Book of Heroic Failures by Stephen Pile:
The Least Successful Navigator

Mr Ronald Davies took over two years to make the voyage from Belfast to Plymoth. A duller man would have done it in a few days. He left Ireland in 1974 because the UDA Protestants suspected him of working for the IRA while the IRA suspected him of working for British Intelligence. The situation was clearly impossible and so he set sail with his girlfriend, Brenda Collopy, aiming for the Isle of Man in their 17-foot sloop, Calcutta Princess. In the months which followed they attracted six coastguard alerts, four lifeboat rescues and the assistance of a Royal Navy Helicopter and the aircraft carrier Hermes.

On the first leg of their journey, to the Isle of Man, Mr Davies and Miss Collopy got lost and had to be guided into Douglas by a lifeboat. From there they went to Holyhead and set sail for Fishguard. When they failed to arrive the coastguards mounted a search. The mariners eventually appeared in Waterford across the Irish Sea. They set course again for Fishguard but turned up back in Holyhead. On the third attempt they made it to Fishguard.

Later, off the Devon coast, they had to be guided by radio into Clovelly. In Cornish waters their first port of call was Padstow from where they set sail for Newquay. However they were unable to find their way back into harbour and returned to Padstow where they got caught in a storm and had to be rescued by the Padstow lifeboat. At this point Miss Collopy left the boat and Mr Davies carried on alone. After a second rescue by the lifeboat from Padstow five weeks later, he made it as far as the waters off St. Ives where yet again he had to be towed in by lifeboat. He completed the journey overland in August 1977.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

other buddhist teachings (none / 0) (#212)
by boxed on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:36:20 AM EST

Zen does not strictly focus on any of those realms. In essense they are, like everything else, an illusion and really does not exist.

[ Parent ]
"The highest Christian metaphysics" (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:30:22 AM EST

Where in hell (pun intended) did you dig that up?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

no. (none / 0) (#242)
by Battle Troll on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:08:32 PM EST

The highest christian metaphysics defines God as that which escapes any definition, beyond the realm of concepts and categories, even beyond fundamental concepts as "existence..."

You are utterly and unequivocally wrong. Perhaps you should ask a theologian about it sometime. You seem to have confused 'negative theology' with a theology of total divine transcendence, something that Islam flirts with but legit Christianity doesn't.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

OT: Christianity and Islam (none / 0) (#282)
by gzt on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 07:26:03 PM EST

Why is it that so often people confuse Christianity with Islam? It's almost getting to the point where I have a pat response prepared for when, say, I run into people who confuse the Islamic and Christian ideas of inspiration of Scripture.

[ Parent ]
serious answer (none / 0) (#360)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:55:56 PM EST

Because then it's easy to attack Christianity for a din it doesn't possess.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
din == sin. (none / 0) (#361)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:56:05 PM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
No, not in Catholicism (none / 0) (#284)
by radghast on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:49:36 PM EST

He's talking about mystery. An excerpt: "The nature of God which is infinite and eternal, must be incomprehensible to an intelligence that is not capable of perfect knowledge."

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
well, you tell me (none / 0) (#351)
by Battle Troll on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:31:58 PM EST

Does this means that Catholics believe that God doesn't exist?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
I liked this story (4.00 / 2) (#171)
by elvstone on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 04:41:19 AM EST

It had a cousy feeling about it. I read Cryptonomicon a long time ago, and from what I can remember, I liked it. Maybe I should pick up some of Lovecrafts other writings sometime.

--
dose.se
Book recommendation (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by kurodink on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 05:32:29 AM EST

Mindfulness in Plain English with such nice chapter titles as "Meditation: Why Bother" :-)
Read it online or buy it from Amazon.

Mindfulness .. (none / 0) (#190)
by nr0mx on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:24:12 AM EST

Another article that gives a pretty good overview. I don't agree with it on a few points, but it's still a wonderful read.

[ Parent ]
don't forget the expectation of the 5th Buddha... (4.00 / 1) (#199)
by mreardon on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 06:58:23 AM EST

"All the major religions expect a further revelation to be given by a future Teacher. Christians hope for the return of the Christ, the Buddhists look for the coming of another Buddha (the Lord Maitreya), while Muslims await the Imam Mahdi, the Hindus a reincarnation of Krishna, and the Jews the Messiah.

Students of the esoteric tradition know these as different names for the same individual -- Maitreya, the World Teacher -- and they look for his imminent return now, at the head of his group of Masters of Wisdom. They are people like us, who have gone before us in evolution and who have always guided and inspired humanity from behind the scenes."

Yes and no (4.66 / 3) (#215)
by phybre187 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:42:49 AM EST

The Maitreya is supposed to come after Siddhartha. But who is to say he didn't come already? It isn't a Messiah legend. He won't (didn't?) necessarily heal the world of all ills. Buddhism does not teach that salvation comes from other people. Buddhism does not accept the basic Western belief that people intrinsically need to be saved from something.

But if you HAPPEN to suffer, and you'd LIKE to do something about it, you should know that it's caused by desire for stuff and status, mainly. And if you give that shit up, you'll probably find that you're happier, on the whole.
Maybe.
Possibly.
Mileage may vary.
Void where prohibited.

That asshole con artist fakir isn't the Maitreya.

[ Parent ]
I agree and disagree with you (4.00 / 1) (#299)
by mreardon on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:54:09 AM EST

It isn't a Messiah legend. He won't (didn't?) necessarily heal the world of all ills.
Of course, the Messiah is a different religion/tradition. Maitreya has come as a teacher. It is we who will cure the worlds ills. After all we are the ones who made them in the first place.

I also don't accept the belief that I need to be saved from anything either- I am an immortal being so what is there to be saved from?

But if you HAPPEN to suffer, and you'd LIKE to do something about it, you should know that it's caused by desire for stuff and status, mainly. And if you give that shit up, you'll probably find that you're happier, on the whole. Maybe. Possibly. Mileage may vary. Void where prohibited.
I prefer the way a Buddha would put it:

"The Self alone matters," Maitreya teaches. You are that Self, "an immortal Being." Suffering is caused by identification with anything and everything which is not the Self. Ask yourself, "Who am I?" You will see that you are identified either with matter (the body), or with thought (the mind) or with power (spirit). But you are none of these.

That asshole con artist fakir isn't the Maitreya.
What do you mean the Maitreya. Maitreya is a name, not a title.

Also, we should be clear we are talking about the same person here. I am talking about Maitreya, who has lived in the Asian community of London since July 19th, 1977. Not the person in New York who claims to be Maitreya or any of the others. If the person you are refering to is the one living in the Asian community in North West London then I would strongly dispute your claims. Have you sincerely investigated this or are you dismissing this out of hand? I'd be interested to hear why you say what you do?

[ Parent ]

is karma selfish? (4.50 / 2) (#205)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:10:53 AM EST

Does the endeavour to collect as much good karma as possible turn you into a more self-centred, or even selfish, person? When I mean selfish I don't mean it in a very upfront way, but just a background nagging feeling that you might do things a little bit differently than you should if you didn't believe in karma. For instance, the difference between an afterlife and not : does the christian/judism/islamic view of an afterlife - that can punish or reward - affects our decision making process on earth (it should shouldn't it?), but if you ignore Pascal's Wager, then shouldn't you really make the best decisions for the community around you other than if you should go to heaven or not?

Not too coherent a post, but if you see people strapping dynamite to their bodies for the glory of <something>, would they still do it if you told them there's no difference where you go after you die if you blow up some infidels or not. Would people still do what they do? Are there similar parallels with the gaining of good karma. On paper it looks good, but in some subtle way is it dangerous?

Worse post ever. Sorry.

Ciao

PS. I'm always thinking of the I, Robot books, or whatever, where Asimov tries to do futuristic detective work on trying to see if the 3(4) laws of robotics can still end up making robots kill people.

buddhism teaches exactly that! (5.00 / 1) (#210)
by boxed on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:31:06 AM EST

The poster of the article seems to mix up hinduism and buddhism. This is easily done since Theravada buddhism (one of the three big branches) does the same mistake :P

[ Parent ]
Sorry? (none / 0) (#314)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:51:24 AM EST

Say that again??? Theravada Buddhism is really a mistaken Buddhism?!?

OK, now I'm confused. Want to explain this further?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

largely it is (5.00 / 1) (#385)
by boxed on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 03:36:39 AM EST

Most though, it's the practitioners that get their stuff mixed up. Freedom from suffering is not only for monks, this theravada gets seriously wrong. One must realize that theravada is really a hinduism-buddhism union designed to infiltrate the hinduist system and teach buddhism from within. Much like tantric buddhism in tibet. There is a big danger in doing this though, and that is that you loose sight of what is the important center in all the fluff.

[ Parent ]
you are obviously not familiar with Theravada (5.00 / 1) (#403)
by CodeBhikkhu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:48:15 PM EST

I have not met a Theravada teacher, nor have I heard a Theravada monk ever claim that freedom from suffering is only for monks. Quite the contrary. The teachers I have met and the dhamma talks I've heard given by monks continually reinforce the point that through the practice layed out by the buddha we can all experience freedom from suffering. I've felt this quite poinently by experiencing the dedication these teacher give toward teaching the dhamma. If you've ever met these people and practiced with them in retreat I don't see how you could make such a criticism.

Contrary to what you are claiming, Theravada is often considered to be the branch of Buddhism most aligned with the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Reference its sole reliance upon the tipitaka as the authoritive teachings of the buddha. Theravada practitioners believe that there is no need for further elaboration upon the dhamma than those put forth by the buddha.

Theravada, as it exists currently is not not related to the hindu caste system in which you relate. These were other older schools of buddhism which died out. Theravada, in its current form is descended from the buddhism of Sri Lanka. Educate yourself and look online for further resources. Wahula Rapula has an essay on this exact topic.

Don't even bother bringing up the boddhisatva vs arahant idea either. It has been beat to death and it just shows the arrogance of the Mahayanists who spread the misinformation. Theravada monks are no less compassionate than Mahayana monks. Theravada monks dedicate their lives to the lay community when they enter monastic life. Read up on the vinaya as practiced by Thai and SriLankan monks. You'll see that many of their rules bind them to their community, such as the fact that they are mendicants. Their sole existance is concerned with freeing themselves and teaching their layity how to do the same.

Remember your noble eight for path brother/sister.

Don't forget right speech!

Metta,
Code


"A week long Dalai Lama Fantasy Camp where you get to run around in red robes and eat rice and chant mantras with the Twelfth son of the Lama himself wont teach you what zen is." -- skyhook
[ Parent ]
right speech (none / 0) (#471)
by boxed on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 04:14:02 AM EST

What you descibe when it comes to teaching does not sound like the historical theravada I have heard about, I guess it must have changed, I am sorry for my misinformation.
Contrary to what you are claiming, Theravada is often considered to be the branch of Buddhism most aligned with the teachings of Gautama Buddha.
It is also considered to be the least inflexible in adjusting the polish of the teachings to the changing conditions of society. Tripitaka is a great text, but reliance on teachings such as reinkarnation is not a good idea when talking to westeners with a christian background. We have an expression in sweden that is freely translated to "speak to peasants in the manner of peasants", meaning you must speak a language the person you are speaking to understands correctly. Many symbols used in the original teaching of Buddha were symbols only to make them think in the right direction. In a non-hindu social context it can be outright dangerous to speak in the traditional buddhist-hindu way. Pretty much everyone I have ever talked to in the west about buddhism mixes it up with hinduism, and I believe theravada is much to "blame" for this.

[ Parent ]
this is what i know (none / 0) (#358)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:53:12 PM EST

caste system + buddhism = hinduism

Ciao

[ Parent ]

way the hell off (5.00 / 1) (#384)
by boxed on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 03:32:52 AM EST

Hinduism doesn't technically need to include the caste system at all, and buddhism doesn't ban it. The difference is more fundamental. Buddhism is at its core agnostic, while hinduism is polytheistic. Buddhism aims to free all beings from suffering, while hinduism aims to further yourself by accumulating good actions. Buddhism is a way to become sane.

[ Parent ]
selfishness & karma (4.50 / 2) (#214)
by anno1602 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:40:12 AM EST

Hmm... 2 things:
  • Being selfish to the detriment of others earns you bad karma.
  • If you do good things to the community out of a selfish motivation, the community benefits no matter what. If one defines religion as a set of rules by which communities work, then the ibjective has been achieved. I'm pretty sure, though, that that "nagging selfishness" is not the way to enlightenment.
Anno.
--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
Danger Will Robinson! (none / 0) (#494)
by Steeltoe on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 10:55:42 PM EST

Beware materialistic spirituality.

Every religion teaches selfless deeds, right speech, love your neighbour as yourself, and so on. However, the practitioners are often less "perfect" than the ideal. Often it is simply forgotten what was the ideal! And even deeper: "why".. It gets lost in temporary worldly goals, which creates diversity.

Thus whole sects or branches can develop that goes in different directions, to explore other ways of living the knowledge within limitation. This is creativity at work. On the highest and unfathomable level, all is still perfection. On the human level, it can result in terrible conflict, drama and foolishness.

Regarding karma, it is an often misunderstood concept. Inspired by the divine (and Bhagavad Gita) I would say it is this:

All <b>actions</b> create a change in consciousness, which makes us perceive and experience the world differently. Thus, the illusion of time is created by actions / changes in consciousness (which in some contexts can be said to be the same, and in others not).

Now, <b>accumulation of karma</b> stems from the judgemental mind that judges every action according to a subjective standard. Thus, by judging we create attachments to actions.

By judging we become more attached. Becoming more attached, we become more judging and subjective. We have become totally engrossed and immersed in the physical reality. So totally, we believe we are actually in it and limited by a physical body while separated from the whole and eachother. We start fighting for survival.

Karma is all that bondage to the illusion of separation by actions, good and bad, whatever belief you live by your judgements consciously and unconsciously. It varies from person to person, so this is generally speaking.

We create karma by our intricate paths of consciousness, and it makes us identify with something separate from the whole, which is an illusion. All groups are minds sharing a pool of karma.

The purpose of karma isn't that you should do good deeds, in order to be rich in heaven or become enlightened. Nor is it to condemn and hurt those who are ignorant and foolish. It is there to propel the soul / divine spark back to where it came from, to divinity. Divinity is not entangled, and when the soul matures, it will leave the world behind. This will happen when it says: Enough is enough already!

If you got that, good. If not, don't worry you don't have to, I might even be wrong. All this talk and arguing around here is making me dizzy in my head..

I'm not following the Buddhist path specifically, so I can't claim to speak for anyone else. I've probably stepped on hundreds of scriptures and their definitions, but arguing about definitions is not going to enlighten anyone. Or perhaps it will?

Explore the Art of Living

[ Parent ]

Plz give me food (1.12 / 8) (#206)
by tofubar on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:15:44 AM EST

I am bum in seattle. i am also a monk. you do want good karma right?

Corrections (4.60 / 5) (#208)
by boxed on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 08:29:19 AM EST

First let's start with karma. The article speaks of karma as it is followed in hinduism. This is the basis of thought that buddhism was born in, but it does not describe buddhism fully. Karma is the sanskrit word for "action" and buddhism does not aim to do good karma or bad, it aims at destroying karma altogether. Karma in itself is a mistake.
One person I know said this about Buddhism: Buddhism teaches that it is ignorance that leads people to believe the illusive idea there is only one life which will be followed by everlasting paradise or torment.
This is clearly not a general buddhist proposition. Many buddhists do not even believe in reinkarnation at all! Reinkarnation, like all beliefs, are fundamentally illusions. Ignorance is what leads us to beleive that there is only one life, that is true, but ignorance is what leads us to believe there is life at all.
They [buddhas] are free from suffering and pain and no longer feel the desire that caused the suffering in the first place.
I disagree. The body of a Buddha follows the same laws of nature as everybody else. Desire is just a reaction to the environment. Like when you put your hand on hot plate, you pull it away. Desire for food, sleep etc is the same thing. A buddha isn't free of desire, he is free of attachment. See below.
[Dharma] In the context of Buddhism, this refers to the teachings of Buddha. As far as I can tell it's been borrowed from a Hinduism.
"Dharma" is a sanskrit word and means "scripture". Buddhism has used this ancient sanskrit word out of tradition, it has not borrowed it from hinduism.
1. All is suffering 2. Desire is the cause of suffering 3. To end suffering you must remove desire 4. To end desire you must follow the Noble Eight-fold Path
This is a common mistranslation. It is not desire that is the fundamental problem, it is attachment. Being hungry is not a problem. Letting that hunger overpower you and blindly following it no matter the cost is a problem. Attachement is what gives desires power over you, this is what you need to remove.

Disclaimer: I am a zen-buddhist.

The nature of buddhism (2.50 / 2) (#225)
by ph317 on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 09:49:15 AM EST


I don't know half of the contents of your article or have any specific knowledge of hindu and buddhist traditions with which to argue with you.  I think that buddhism is a concept you can just "get" without any history or specifics, just by meditation and seeking enlightenment and balance.  I have no intention of ever studying buddhism, or being buddhist, yet I practice buddhism in it's purest form every day - I seek to enlighten myself and become perfectly balanced between all the extremes.

[ Parent ]
very true! [nt] (none / 0) (#237)
by boxed on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 11:14:39 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Pretas, Asuras, Devas (4.50 / 4) (#232)
by Alan Crowe on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 10:23:10 AM EST

Pretas, or hungry ghosts, have only one arm, and on that arm only one finger. They spend all day using their single finger to click on links endlessly looking for hornier porn, cuter kittens, or hotter flame wars.

Early depictions of the Asuras portrayed them setting the higher rate of income tax at 100% to obtain lots of money for social programs. This depiction proved to be overly specific, so the creators of the Tibetan Wheel of Life( 500 A.D.) opted for a less specific symbol. The Asuras invade the Deva realm and try to steal the wish fulfilling tree. They attempt to chop it down, in order to steal it, and the viewer is intended to spot the irony that chopping the tree down will actually kill it.

Unlike the other realms, which are metaphors for pyschological states, the Deva or Heavenly realm, actually existed, in 1910, in England, for the upper class. The Buddha's teaching for the Deva realm is the truth of impermanence, a truth that was all too brutally demonstrated by the Great War, which destroyed the Deva realm.

What realm are you in today?


On the much misunderstood 'karma' (5.00 / 3) (#243)
by splitpeasoup on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 12:55:08 PM EST

'Karma' (pronounced 'cur-muh', not 'car-ma') is a concept that, for some reason, is widely and almost diametrically misunderstood in the West.

'Karma' is not a brownie point database to which your good deeds are credited and bad deeds debited. First of all, the word 'karma' means work or action, nothing more, nothing less. 'Good karma' means a good act performed by you, not brownie-point accumulation.

Far from guaranteeing a material return on your accumulated good deeds, both Hinduism and Buddhism stress the exact opposite.

One of the most important texts of Hindu philosophy, the Bhagavad Gita, strongly stresses that one should perform good works only for their own sake, and most emphatically not worry about the reward. The essence of karma philosophy is performing good ations for their own sake and not worrying oneself about the fruits of one's labor. Thus, this is more or less the exact opposite on the popular Western take.

Buddhism is not so concerned about karma as about eliminating desire from one's mind. Liberation, or nirvana, is obtained not from accumulated good deeds, but rather from attaining an utterly desire-free, absolutely peaceful, enlightened state. Buddhism views good actions as a means to purifying the spirit and eliminating base desires.

There is a quid-pro-quo "good deeds make good things happen for you" concept among many modern Hindus, but this is referred to as "punya" , never as "karma". "Punya" is of importance for Hindus of a somewhat crude spiritual nature and the priests that use it as an opportunity for lucre. It takes the form of, for instance, constructing temples and feeding Brahmins as a way to compensate for misdeeds or increase one's "punya" score. While this is practised by many people, it is more or less antithetical to karma philosophy.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Nice post. (none / 0) (#244)
by theWalrus on Mon Sep 01, 2003 at 01:04:50 PM EST

Thank you.
theWalrus
Thanks :-) (nt) (none / 0) (#391)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:35:16 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Not a problem (none / 0) (#289)
by epepke on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:57:57 AM EST

And I wasn't really talking about your statements, anyway. Not living in the US yourself, you probably haven't had a chance to be aware of what state-funded schools do and do not teach. I just thought I'd bring some factual information to the fore.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


:-) (nt) (none / 0) (#297)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 04:25:38 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
A few comments (none / 0) (#301)
by losang on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:43:04 AM EST

First of all, unless you have studied Tibetan or some other Asian language accesable to Buddhism you really don't understand it.

Secondly, regarding the following quote...

This is the state of liberation from the continuous cycle of life and death. Beings that reach this state have reached ultimate enlightenment - in other words they have become a Buddha

The attainment of Nirvana, or liberation, is not pervaded by Buddha.

In reference to one comment about Karma, Buddhists do care about Karma contrary to what the commentator said. And they do care about merit and its collection.

I didn't think Buddhism was about understanding! (5.00 / 1) (#376)
by amarodeeps on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:37:37 PM EST

I thought it was about practice.

But I might be confused because I don't know Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese, Korean, or any other Asian language. Fuck, no enlightenment for me!



[ Parent ]
You are confused (none / 0) (#379)
by losang on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:04:16 PM EST

because you don't care.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but he makes an interesting point. (none / 0) (#390)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:34:45 AM EST

Is Buddhism for everyone? If what you say is right then it's certainly not accessible to my father who would find it impossible to learn an Asian language. For him it's not a matter of caring, it's a matter of simply not being able to learn it!

So will everyone have an equal chance to reach enlightenment, or is it just for the very few?

In some ways this reminds me of Islam, where the only true understanding of the Qur'an is in it's own native language.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Anything can be known. (none / 0) (#402)
by losang on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 07:59:16 PM EST

Is Buddhism for everyone? If what you say is right then it's certainly not accessible to my father who would find it impossible to learn an Asian language. For him it's not a matter of caring, it's a matter of simply not being able to learn it!

There is nothing that can not be understood through effort. This is an important teaching of Buddhism.

[ Parent ]

Crap! (none / 0) (#404)
by amarodeeps on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 10:17:50 PM EST

There is nothing that can not be understood through effort. This is an important teaching of Buddhism.

Well, how am I going to figure this out if I don't know any Asian languages? This Buddhism sure is a screwy thing! I guess you've gotta study Chinese or something to understand if you're interested in it in the first place, that is, assuming you understand it once you learn the language.

Guess it's back to the left-wing ghetto of secular humanism for me!



[ Parent ]
Explanation (none / 0) (#410)
by losang on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 02:06:49 AM EST

The reason you need to understand an Asian language is that the translations into English are not very insightful. With them you will not get a deep understanding and possibly get the wrong idea.

I dno't think you are really thinking about what is being said.

[ Parent ]

I see what you're saying (none / 0) (#414)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 08:06:49 AM EST

And in some ways I agree. To read the Christian Bible and be 100% sure of the veracity of it's contents you'd have to learn Aramaic, Greek and Latin. Personally one day I may do this. But right now, I just follow the Bible as best I can. Without giving equal footing to Buddhism (sorry, I'm a Christian and I put this highest!) I can only imagine that it's the same with Buddhism.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

But... (none / 0) (#430)
by amarodeeps on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 10:20:42 PM EST

...tell me you believe that you need to know Aramaic to be a good and true Christian? I think that statement almost needs no answer. In fact any rigorous and literal interpretation of the Bible will lead you astray, I believe--you have to see the intent of the word. But hey, I'm not a Christian—just find a lot of them tiresome, ridiculous and beside the point when they fail to read between the lines. Same with overly rigorous and literal minded Buddhists, or practitioners of any faith for that matter.



[ Parent ]
You need to relax. (none / 0) (#434)
by losang on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:42:30 AM EST

I think your emotions are getting in the way of understanding.

[ Parent ]
Why are you trying to provoke me then? (none / 0) (#437)
by amarodeeps on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:10:59 AM EST

Oh your holiness? You actually care?



[ Parent ]
Intelligent Conversation (none / 0) (#467)
by losang on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 03:24:39 PM EST

I am trying to have an intelligent exchange and you are getting emotionally involved. Stick to logic, reason and the facts, not feelings.

[ Parent ]
Why don't you intelligently respond then... (none / 0) (#490)
by amarodeeps on Fri Sep 12, 2003 at 01:45:40 PM EST

...instead of denying my right to an opinion by suggesting that I didn't think about it hard enough, or that I'm not relaxed enough? Answer my point about the nature of Buddhism and your (in my opinion) not well thought-out idea that you have to understand an Asian language to 'get' Buddhism. You've never really tried to offer any good points, just something vague about it being 'like how you get an understanding of physics,' which is beside the point--how do you get an understanding of Buddhism? What is the point of an understanding of Buddhism? Isn't Buddhism about practice? You've not answered any of these questions from the beginning, just consistently suggested I'm not taking you seriously, and ignored the cogent points I've been trying to make. If you want an intelligent conversation, give it to me--I've provided my half. And baiting me with claims about my emotional state and suggestions that I 'relax' are not good ways to provoke an intelligent response, sir. Think about it.

And please tell me: how do you do the mysterious and incredible act of reading my emotions when all you can see is a bunch of words on the screen? Amazing!



[ Parent ]
Bullshit (none / 0) (#429)
by amarodeeps on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 10:11:41 PM EST

I don't know when you say translation if you are talking about books, which are just one way of trying to understand Buddha nature, or the teachers who use English or some other non-Asian language to teach--again, just another method. If you are talking about the Buddhist texts or sutras, then I think you are wrong; there is a lot to be learned about the nature of Buddhism from different translations of sutras. And many good teachers have written expository texts on Buddhism of which some are very good.

As far as teachers, some are better than others, of course. But to suggest that we're getting a second-rate experience from all of those who teach the Buddha way using English or some other non-English language to me seems a specious argument at the least.

So yes, actually, I think I am understanding your point pretty well--I just think it is crap. More to the point, I think it is elitist and contrary at least to the Mahayana way, which says we should strive for the enlightenment of all beings. It does not specify that that requires that we teach everybody Chinese or Korean. Or maybe, assuming you are a Buddhist, your sect adheres to a 'nine-fold path,' with the addition of 'right dialect?'

Of course, I don't know any Asian languages, so maybe I don't have a lick of a hint of a clue about what Buddhism is all about. My apologies if that's the case; but you have to prove it to me first--show me the sutra or enlightened teacher that says I need to learn a specific sort of language before I can find my true Buddha nature.



[ Parent ]
Answer this. (none / 0) (#433)
by losang on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:41:07 AM EST

Is it elitist to say that in order to gain a deep understanding of theoretical physics you need to study math?

[ Parent ]
Theoretical physics... (none / 0) (#436)
by amarodeeps on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:06:02 AM EST

...is not about leading all sentient beings to enlightenment.



[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#441)
by losang on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 10:03:21 PM EST

Although theoretical physics does not involve leading sentient being to enlightenment the methods of study employed to attain Buddhahood are the same as those employed to understand physics.

[ Parent ]
I don't? (none / 0) (#393)
by amarodeeps on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 09:38:10 AM EST

What makes you say that?



[ Parent ]
Your last comemnt. (none / 0) (#413)
by losang on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 05:41:21 AM EST



[ Parent ]
What particularly in the comment? (none / 0) (#428)
by amarodeeps on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 09:49:23 PM EST

Seems like you are assuming a lot!

[ Parent ]
Down you horrible Elitist! Down I say! (5.00 / 1) (#406)
by kraant on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:49:43 PM EST

Do you think that when Buddhism was introduced to Tibet, Japan, China, Thailand etc that they somehow could magically understand the deep hidden meanings that mere Westerners could never understand?

No. They were in the same situation that Western converts are now. Struggling along trying to make head or tail of it all and doing their best.

Buddhism is a message to the world.

Oh yeah and STFU.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

There is a big difference (none / 0) (#412)
by losang on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 05:40:34 AM EST

No. They were in the same situation that Western converts are now. Struggling along trying to make head or tail of it all and doing their best.

As far as the Tibetans go they first went to India, learned Sanskrit and then worked on translations. There was a national effort to adopt Buddhism and many kings sponsored it.

Today there is no real effort to understand Buddhism in the west. Westerners are lazy and do not want to take the time to study the language and make the commitment to maintain monastic vows.

[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 0) (#424)
by Pihkal on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:45:56 PM EST

Thank you for your charitable depiction of western buddhists.

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
Origin of my comments (none / 0) (#463)
by losang on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:01:38 PM EST

My comments are based on years of observation, contemplation and personal experience with both Westerns and Tibetans. Additionally, I have studied Buddhism in both English and Tibetan. The statements I make are based on this.

Do you have any logical refutation of what I have said or are you just going to cry?

[ Parent ]

Where is your origin? (none / 0) (#464)
by Pihkal on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:49:53 PM EST

I know firsthand several monastics through the Fire Lotus Zendo here in New York. As far as I can tell, they take their vows pretty seriously. I cannot comment on the state of translations in English, but I should also point out that in an era before the printing press and electronic communication, translating and disseminating texts required a massive effort on the part of a lot of people. Whereas now, the dissemination part is much easier, and a smaller group of people can provide translations for everyone, meaning that the bulk of American Buddhists can focus on other things.

Now as for your comments. You seem to show a lot of disgust for American Buddhism. I'm not sure why that is, but it pervades your comments. And your last comment is most striking: "Do you have any logical refutation of what I have said or are you just going to cry?" That sounds like someone who is far away from enlightenment. You mentioned "years of observation, contemplation and personal experience." How much of that time was spent meditating, as opposed to scholarly study? For example, none of your criticism is constructive. Nowhere do you have a comment suggesting that Americans exert more effort in reading the original languages and explain the benefits of such. Instead, you have comments proclaiming that those who do not read the texts in Asian languages do not understand, are lazy, and do not keep their vows. Are you helping or hurting the progress of people towards enlightenment?

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]

You need to read my posts more critically. (none / 0) (#466)
by losang on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 03:22:58 PM EST

You are working off emotion as opposed to logical analysis.

I cannot comment on the state of translations in English, but I should also point out that in an era before the printing press and electronic communication, translating and disseminating texts required a massive effort on the part of a lot of people. Whereas now, the dissemination part is much easier, and a smaller group of people can provide translations for everyone, meaning that the bulk of American Buddhists can focus on other things.

You have no ability to read critically. My comments have nothing to do with dissemination. I was talking about the quality of the translations. This is the problem. If you find a more efficient method to disseminate shit it is still shit.

How much of that time was spent meditating, as opposed to scholarly study?

Study is meditation.

Nowhere do you have a comment suggesting that Americans exert more effort in reading the original languages and explain the benefits of such.

Americans do not exert more effort. That is my point they are lazy. They want what comes quick and easy. I have explained the benefits through an analogy between physics and mathematics.

Instead, you have comments proclaiming that those who do not read the texts in Asian languages do not understand, are lazy, and do not keep their vows.

I never said people who do not read the texts in Asian langugaes are lazy and I never said anything about not keeping their vows. You need to learn how to stick to the facts and not make up things.

[ Parent ]

Another mistake (none / 0) (#304)
by losang on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 05:50:55 AM EST

Karma is the sanskrit word for "action" and buddhism does not aim to do good karma or bad, it aims at destroying karma altogether.

This is not correct. There is samsaric and non-samsaric Karma. One has the possibility of ripening into suffering and the other does not. In order to attain liberation and enlightenment one must create good karma and abandon bad karma.

so (none / 0) (#308)
by auraslip on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:41:31 AM EST

The Four Noble Truths:
All is suffering
Desire is the cause of suffering
To end suffering you must remove desire
To end desire you must follow the Noble Eight-fold Path

therefore:
all=desire
the only ecscape from suffering is..to end all

buy my book
___-___

No, not nihilism (none / 0) (#319)
by radghast on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:26:44 AM EST

Common error (and serious, if you're practicing.) Think about it: how can nihilism be the end state when there is nothing permanent to annhilate? Equanimity is, instead, one of the immeasurables that one aspires to.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
honestly (2.33 / 3) (#310)
by auraslip on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 08:48:34 AM EST

what great thing has any buddhist done?

is there any great leaders, invintors, or artist.
They just sit in there hazy quarters and discuss how beutiful galle porter is
___-___

They invented a philosophy followed by millions? (none / 0) (#313)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 09:39:24 AM EST



---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
How is that good? (4.00 / 1) (#338)
by gzt on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:20:27 PM EST

The only thing I'll say about this issue is that there is no good Buddhist literature.

[ Parent ]
yes, honestly. (5.00 / 1) (#315)
by Lethyos on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:07:11 AM EST

what great thing has any buddhist done?

They have given us Buddhism.

is there any great leaders, invintors, or artist. They just sit in there hazy quarters and discuss how beutiful galle porter is

Achievements of the mind matter most. These can be made by sitting in your quarters with fellows and discussing. Think of Socrates.



earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
[ Parent ]
Seriously... (5.00 / 1) (#316)
by talorin on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:12:08 AM EST

What great thing has anyone done?

[ Parent ]
A valid question (4.00 / 1) (#320)
by radghast on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 10:47:49 AM EST

I think what you're asking is, "Are Buddhists ambitious?" Remember that one of the realms of being is an Asura, which is one marked by jealousy, resentment, and ambition. Ambition for its own sake is considered a bad thing, not a good thing. That said, a famous Buddhist that I'm aware of is Henry Ford, and his 4th generation grandson William Clay Ford, Jr., is following in his footsteps.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
Henry Ford the buddhist. (4.00 / 2) (#328)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:31:00 PM EST

That, and an aspiring Nazi renaissance man. What a talented guy.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Just what I was thinking (5.00 / 1) (#416)
by livus on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 08:42:56 AM EST

if Adolph knew Henry was a buddhist would he have thrown his photograph away?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Whoa! Henry Ford supported Nazism? (none / 0) (#452)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:58:14 AM EST

I wasn't aware of this so I did a bit of digging. Sure enough, Henry Ford shows up in wikipedia in an entry labelled Heny Ford and Nazism.

A further link to this site is interesting: http://reactor-core.org/secret/the-international-jew/index.html

I had no idea! Scary.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

this is interesting.. (3.00 / 1) (#343)
by sunyata on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:42:51 PM EST

http://home.btclick.com/scimah/einstein.htm

[ Parent ]
depends on your definition of "great" (none / 0) (#417)
by livus on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 08:44:57 AM EST

The way I see it, someone unknown who saves someone else's life has done something much greater than a lot of the superficial and useless crap that gets touted as "greatness" these days.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Christmas Humphreys (none / 0) (#419)
by codingwizard on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 10:29:29 AM EST

Check out the life and writings of Christmas Humphreys, a UK jurist by profession, and someone who chose Buddhism at age 17, I believe.



--

Jan Theodore Galkowski (o)
ANON,Tcl/Tk,ETL,SQL,ANSI C,SAS,BI,InfoViz
"There is nothing new/Beneath the sun." (Koheleth 1:9)
Yes, there is: Carbon nanotubes, for one.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps nothing at all, but maybe thats the point. (none / 0) (#455)
by yebb on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 08:52:00 PM EST

If you read through the four noble truths, it apears as though the concept of desire is the cause of all suffering.

This kind of thought process would lead individuals to not be so driven to achieve "great things" in a materialistic/power based philosophy, because generally desire seeds most of that kind of achievment. So maybe by most western belief systems, many Buddhists haven't done "Great things".

But ultimately, maybe thats not a bad thing?

[ Parent ]

OTOH (none / 0) (#496)
by shomon2 on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 07:54:31 AM EST

Off the top of my head, here are a few:

King Ashoka is a great example: He's a king somewhere in northern India who converted to buddhism, after conquering lots of countries with great bloodshed. I think it was his wife who converted him. He soon stopped the bloodshed and devoted himself to making his kingdom a great place to live in, making lots of social improvements and helping to ensure that the governing was buddhist in nature - i.e devoted to making people happy, rather than causing them to suffer. So this makes him the first and only historical figure I know of who ever stopped a war in the name of religion.

Then you have Roberto Baggio, Milena Dominguez, wife of Ronaldo the footballer, Marianne Pearl, wife of Danny pearl - the journalist who was kidnapped a year ago in Pakistan. Read her words on the BBC site - very buddhist and very strong in the face of very very extreme circumstances, Musicians Tina Turner - whose film is all about her buddhist struggle against battering, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock... Lots of musicians, and lots of actors here in the UK are at least aware of buddhism - That guy from Faithless, and Seal for example. Seal wrote a song called "chant for happiness" - "if I chant for happiness, maybe I can make it get better". All these are Soka Gakkai Buddhists. In other faiths who knows...  

In any case, these are simply famous people, and that doesn't always mean they have more to give than buddhists who aren't famous. We each try to do the best for our own particular environment.

Changing the world you have our own religious leader, Daisaku Ikeda who in his lifetime has visited numerous leaders, especially during the cold war when it was seen as very wrong to do this, and has worked to promote dialogue and peace through the United Nations and through his own meetings with these leaders.  I remember when the 911 attacks happened, buddhists at the pentagon, around the US leaders or in New York worked hard to promote peace and stop the "eye for an eye" feelings that were going around so strongly and are still around.

It's a mistake to say that a buddhist should be removed from worldly life. Each buddhist's mission should be to create value and happiness, to spread buddhahood in their environment, whatever that environment is. If not, you're not really a buddhist. There should be a buddha in every walk of life. I know a guy who is HIV positive and was addicted to heroin. He spread buddhism among other addicts in my city. Who else could have done that? And another friend died of Cancer, but spread buddhism throughout his ward, giving a little hope to all those people. Me? I'm a programmer and sometimes Kuro5hin reader, and today I wrote this message!

Ale


[ Parent ]

Karma: What is it? (none / 0) (#321)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:21:16 AM EST

Karma seems to be one of those elusive concepts where everyone has their own unique ideas on what it is. Here's what I wrote about Karma:

Karma

This is the force that "judges" all people. My limited understanding of this concept is as follows: if you do good then you will receive good back to you. If you do bad then bad things will happen to you. At the end of the day Karma basically follows the principle of cause and effect. The more bad you do, the more bad Karma you accumulate. The more good you do, the more good Karma you accumulate.

What I have learned is that Karma is not the same as fate. Fate cannot be changed but Karma can be changed and influenced by a person. Karma is based entirely on what you think: if you think good thoughts you will do good actions and thus receive good Karma. If you think bad and degrading thoughts then your actions and words will be bad also: again you will receive bad Karma.

The way you receive good Karma (also known as merit) is interesting: you can give a monk some food, act in a moral manner or perform some good deed. Preaching and chanting can also give you merit.

Quite a few people seem to disagree with me, for various reasons. This is fair enough - I'm not a Buddhist and this only my pereception of Karma. I'd like to know what it really is though!

Here's a quick rundown on what various people have said about Karma so far:

losang

losang says that Karma is divided into samsaric and non-samsaric Karma. OK, so I'd never heard this term so I researched it (again).

Samsara

As far as I can tell, Samsara was actually originally a Hindu concept and developed from there thoughts on the nature of the Universe. They appear to have divided the universe into two parts, the universe that is tangible and that we exist in (sat) and the universe as an illusion (maya). To a Hindu, the illusary universe is seen as well-ordered and well defined, while the universe of our reality is seen as a fragmented and chaotic place. The constantly changing of the real universe is defined as samsara.

Why is this important? well, Hindus were actually the first people to come up with the concept of karma - they understand it as how previous actions influence future actions. They basically took their understanding of causality and combined it with their understanding of the changing nature of the universe they existed in and melded into a belief that each individual has multiple lives after death.

In other words, AFAICS, samasara is reincarnation where your next life is based on the previous actions taken in this life.

OK, back to losang's point. He says that there is two types of Karma, the Samsaric and the non-Samsaric. He says that one leads to the worsening of suffering and the other doesn't (he doesn't elaborate on which will worsen it and which won't though! maybe you could answer this losang), and to attain enlightenment you have to "create good karma and abandon bad karma".

losang says that Buddhists care about collecting merit.

splitpeasoup

splitpeasoup says that Karma is not a "brownie point system". He reemphasises that Karma means action and that:

  • good Karma is just a good act you did
  • good Karma should be done for it's own sake and not for reward
  • Nirvana is not attained through Karma but rather it's gained through the freedom of desire
Also: he says that the understanding of Karma I espoused is really a Hinduist concept called "Punya".

boxed

boxed says that Karma is sanskrit for action and Buddhism's primary aim isn't to do good actions (good Karma) or bad actions (bad Karma). Quite on the contrary, boxed says that the whole point behind Buddhism is to destroy Karma altogether!

boxed's comment is the one that losang refers to when he says that "In reference to one comment about Karma, Buddhists do care about Karma contrary to what the commentator said. And they do care about merit and its collection."

boxed claims to be a Zen Buddhist.

tofubar

tofubar says that he's a homeless dero Buddhist monk. In exchange for good Karma he asks for good.

anno1602

anno1602 says that being selfish to the detriment of others earns you bad Karma.

SaintPort

SaintPort compares Karma to the 'Law of the Harvest'. He says, "You reap what you sow.  If you sow love, you reap love.  If you plant discord, you receive discord."

beep

beep got shot down pretty quickly. He says that Karma means choice and that it's what you choose to do or not to do that's important.

Sciamachy

Sciamachy had the most interesting take on Karma, IMO. He first of all defined Karma as action and Dhukka as suffering. His take on it is that Dhukka is unavoidable and is caused by "cravings, attachments, and karma". Bad Karma is created when you do anything that results in bad consequences. He says Karma is not really like a debt based system, instead he likens it to a ripple in a pond: the one ripple feeds back on itself and spreads out and permeates through the system. Like the ripple, some will get back to you, but the main cause will be that there is increased concentrations of suffering in the world! Thus, Sciamachy says, merit (or good Karma) is gained by alleviating suffering in the world.

Sciamachy's view is most interesting because his is the first view I've seen that puts Karma into a global context. All the other explanations have involved how Karma effects the individual.

So...

There appear to be many and varied opinions and understandings of the concept of Karma. Each of the explanations I've seen so far have been different, so I'm confused!

Somebody want to take another stab at this?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה

Quote (5.00 / 1) (#330)
by KnightStalker on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:32:55 PM EST

... from "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. I have no idea whether this is authoritative or not.
Now, the Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma . . . literally means 'action', 'doing'. But in the Buddhist theory of karma it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action. Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the 'fruit' or the 'result' of karma (kamma-phala or kamma-vipāka.)

Volition may be good or bad, just as a desire may be relatively good or bad. So karma may be good or bad relatively. Good karma (kusala) produces good effects, and bad karma (akusala) produces bad effects. 'Thirst', volition, karma, whether good or bad, has one force as its effect: force to continue -- to continue in a good or bad direction. Whether good or bad it is relative, and within the cycle of continuity (sam.sāra). An Arahant, when he acts, does not accumulate karma, because he is free from the false idea of self, free from the 'thirst' for continuity and becoming, free from all other defilements and impurities (kilesā, sāsavā dhammā). For him there is no rebirth.

The theory of karma should not be confused with so-called 'moral justice' or 'reward and punishment'. . . . [It] is the theory of cause and effect, of action and reaction; it is a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward and punishment.



[ Parent ]
My stab at Karma (none / 0) (#337)
by mahju on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:14:10 PM EST

I think a number of the earlier stabs at Karma where using a rather western point of view.

In many belief systems there is good and evil.  The Good are rewarded, the evil are punished.

This is not Karma as I understand it.

I once read (sorry no reference yet) that the concept of karma was discovered by Buddha during one of his walks outside the palace.  Here he saw a Cow, pulling a plough through the earth.  The dirt was displaced, and a worm was revealed.  A bird then swooped down and ate the worm.  

He noted that every action has a consequence.  And that is Karma as I know it.  I think of karma, not particularly Good or Bad, just concept of human action and consequence.  

I link this to another Buddhist understanding that   desire is the source of all pain.  I.e. you desire to have a crop of wheat, you plough the field, and a worm dies.  You desire another beer - you have a hangover.

Ok, so then if you can lessen your desires, then you can give more freely, you can care more freely, and the result, maybe a happier you, but definitely a happier world.


[ Parent ]

Buddhism does seem to embrace this... (none / 0) (#389)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:09:55 AM EST

As I delved deeper (the research for the last comment) I've discovered that Buddhism basically takes this concept from Hinduism and puts it's own spin on it - that desire and want is the cause of all suffering. It's certainly an attractive and interesting theory and it appears to be quite profound.

Yet I don't know if I can agree with this. What about physical pain? This isn't caused by desire - well in most people :P Or emotional pain - again not always caused by the person who is in anguish yet it's still real to the person none the less. So how does Buddhism deal with these types of pain?

The thing is, even if I lessen or even stop my desires painful things still happen! Loved ones die. People do horrible things to other people. You can have an accident. Forces can conspire to strip you of your wealth. War breaks out! These are all examples of things that nobody desires yet still happen and cause pain. How does Karma fit into all this?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Emotional Pain, Physical Pain (5.00 / 1) (#405)
by kraant on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 11:32:42 PM EST

Physical Pain you can condition yourself to ignore. It's largely irrelevant.

Emotional pain is all caused by desire. Loved ones die and you're sad because you desired it not to happen, desire their company again.

Forces conspire to strip you of your wealth; then your current pain is caused by your desire for the return for your wealth.

etc etc.

And you have to remember that there's a lot of other peoples karma bouncing around as well. Just because you aren't the cause doesn't mean you can't be affected by the effect.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

So in other words... (none / 0) (#444)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 09:56:23 AM EST

... you have no control of your own destiny because it's other people's Karma that's causing problems for me.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Suffering and Desire. (5.00 / 1) (#427)
by Artful Dodger on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 06:26:46 PM EST

Your physical pain (i.e. suffering) is not always caused by your desire. If I mug you, it is my desire (for your wallet) that causes you pain.

Another form of desire which causes much pain is attachment.

Your attachment to your relatives; your desire to have them around, that is why you suffer. Everyone will die. It is irrational to grieve when they do. It is only because we want them present that we suffer.

Attachment to possessions is a form of desire we all succumb to. If your house burns down, and you lose everything, you are upset; because you desire your stuff.

War is caused when WE desire THEIR (Land, Stuff, Women.)

Etc.

[ Parent ]

it is simply the law of cause and effect (none / 0) (#415)
by mreardon on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 08:25:53 AM EST

Or, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

This, of course, includes thoughts, emotions, speech...etc.

[ Parent ]

Let's go back to the source (none / 0) (#481)
by borys on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 11:26:35 AM EST

We might want to take a look at what buddhist scripture has to say about karma. Now, when you're doing a websearch for karma you're never going to find the sutras where the Buddha addresses karma because the Theravadin scriptures were recorded in Pali not Sanskrit! So we need to search for kamma instead of karma.

The sutras that I could find:
Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta: Lesser Discourse on Kamma (AN VI.87) -- "Beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Action is what differentiates beings in terms of baseness & excellence."
Kamma Sutta: Action (SN XXXV.145) -- "Monks, I will teach you new & old kamma, the cessation of kamma, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma. Listen and pay close attention. I will speak."
Kamma Sutta: Action (Ud III.1) -- Buddha sees a monk sitting and comes to a realization
Kammavaranata Sutta: Kamma Obstructions (AN VI.87) -- "Endowed with these six qualities, a person is incapable of alighting on the lawfulness, the rightness of skillful mental qualities even when listening to the true Dhamma. Which six?"
Maha-kammavibhanga Sutta: Great Discourse on Kamma (MN 136) -- "So, Ananda, there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result); there is kamma that is incapable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears capable (of good result); there is kamma that is capable (of good result) and appears incapable (of good result)."

It all seems to boil down to good actions return good results, bad actions return bad results. But karma is complex, and the fruits of karma must ripen. Once the seed of bad karma has been sown, there may be time to sow seeds of good karma that delay the fruition of the earlier bad, or vice versa. Even Buddhism isn't immune from the concept of deathbed conversion! The karma you make at the time of death is very strong, and good karma made at the last minute could forestall an unfavourable rebirth (but wouldn't undo the previous bad karma. Witness Ven. Moggallana, one of the Buddha's foremost disciples, killed his parents many aeons ago, and the results of that deed pursued him even through his final lifetime, when he was beaten to death.)

Notice that all this karma doesn't get us out of the cycle of birth and death. If you want to keep playing the game, you can use your knowledge of karma to have the life you want. Reality *can* be hacked. If you want to leave the cycle, the Buddha prescribes the Eightfold Path. And what is the Eightfold Path? It is nothing but the description of the behaviour of a Buddha. A Buddha does not "try" to follow the Path. A Buddha is the Path! So, don't bother following the Path. Become the Buddha! And what is the Buddha? One who has awakened.

The beauty of this teaching on karma is that it urges us to take responsibility for it all. This very body and the world around us and all phenomenal experience is the result of past karma. When hardship comes, we do not have to wallow and say "Poor me, Why me?". When we can say, "This hardship is the result of my past actions (whether in this life or previous lives). In its ripening it is no more and may I create no new karma now that will similarly bring me hardship," hardship is transformed. (Likewise for prosperity) If we don't take responsibility for our situation we're powerless to do anything about it. But of course, it's a daunting task to take on that much responsibility. It's a lot easier to blame someone else for where we're at. It's a bit scary to look inside and see all the hate and greed and jealousy(and, to be fair, the love and generosity and beauty) that we see outside.



[ Parent ]
Two questions (4.00 / 1) (#325)
by bob6 on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 11:53:56 AM EST

Buddhism in it's purest form is essentially a philosophy, not a religion.
Why do buddhists always insist on this point?
How buddhism is not a religion? Maybe I'm missing something but it has all aspects of a religion.

Cheers.
Yes and no (none / 0) (#326)
by radghast on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 12:06:11 PM EST

Here's the best answer that I've seen to that question.

"It remains to be seen if the human brain is powerful enough to solve the problems it has created." -- Dr. Richard Wallace
[ Parent ]
Good grief. (5.00 / 1) (#341)
by gzt on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:33:10 PM EST

That's not a very good answer. Under Is not a religion:
In stark contrast to the world's other major religions, however, Buddhism invokes no divinity...

Lack of divinity merely contrasts it to other religions, it does not make it a non-religion. I suppose the author realizes that, but wandering down that road grates on my nerves. Using any typical anthropological definition of religion, Buddhism is a  religion. And, if one reads books, one sees any definition which does not include Buddhism is thrown out because it's bloody useless.

[ Parent ]
Is Buddhist a religion or a philosophy? (5.00 / 1) (#344)
by losang on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:42:58 PM EST

Yes. The two are not mutually exclusive.

[ Parent ]
Not a religion (none / 0) (#352)
by soliloquist on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:32:41 PM EST

You're not missing something, Buddhism is, a God. There is no God in Buddhism so, strictly speaking, it can't be a religion. That said, Hindu's see Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu, so from this perspective it is a religion, on the other hand, Hindu's also see it as a Hindu cult and not a religion in itself.

[ Parent ]
No God in the Christian sense. Agreed. (none / 0) (#388)
by bob6 on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 08:02:09 AM EST

However there are idealized characters, beginning from Siddhartha. And Buddhism deals with death and sets directions for adequate behaviour. Hence, from my point of view, Buddhism is yet another religion. But I will gladly accept any definition of religion in order to match and please one's belief.
So then I wonder why is it so important to "followers" to argue the non-religionship of Buddhism?

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
That's rather vague (5.00 / 1) (#420)
by KnightStalker on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 11:09:30 AM EST

By those standards, all cultures are religions. Take the U.S. and Europe for example. Even if you ignore all the explicitly Christian elements, we have hundreds of idealized characters that were not nearly as nice as they are generally taught in history classes. We have cultural elements that encourage certain behaviors and codes of law that punish others. We have many traditions surrounding death and a vague "so-and-so is in a better place" cliche that is fairly independent of any other religion. Are we all initiates in the Western Civ religion?

[ Parent ]
Yes, definitely (none / 0) (#421)
by bob6 on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 11:44:07 AM EST

For imho Western Civilization cannot be distinguished from Christianity. As this thread proves, this debate only leads to an exchange of different approaches on Religion and Buddhism. This is interesting and nice and stuff but my main issue was to know why buddhists are often quite concerned by showing Buddhism is not a religion, sometimes I even sense some kind of pride.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#465)
by Pihkal on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 02:17:16 PM EST

I think the reason is that most Westerners' understanding of religion is based on their experience in one of the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.) As such, to them, "religion" means worshipping a god. Since Buddhism is non-theistic*, to many Westerners it's not a religion.

* (Buddhism is not non-theistic in the sense of not believing that gods exist. Rather, it is non-theistic in the sense that Buddhists do not see much point in praying to/worshipping those gods. From the Buddhist point of view, those external gods can't help free you from attachment. Only you can do that.)

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]

Buddhism does not exist - in it's 'pure' form (5.00 / 1) (#400)
by bsavoie on Wed Sep 03, 2003 at 12:48:46 PM EST

Buddhism is a path out of Samsara. Samsara is the world of illusion. One becomes a Buddhist and they start down this path. It is like a raft. When you get to the other side, you discard the raft.

That makes classification of Buddhism impossible in the absolute sense. In the relative sense you might call it philosophy, psychology, thought science, art, or anything else that affects as an experience your awareness of awareness. It is beyond labels and more like an algorithm. Like Christianity it teaches in parables, because the exact truth can not be spoken. The word peach is not sweet and juicy.

The world of 'things' contradicts the world as 'experience'. Buddhism is just the point that to comprehend you must experience it. It only has meaning when you 'think' you know and you really don't. Once you have the experience you don't need to judge and hold reality in your head as an idea. Hope that helps.
Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
Man, you're really into it (none / 0) (#411)
by bob6 on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 04:58:19 AM EST

You may answer to my question acurately: Why is it so important for buddhists to argue that buddhism is not a religion?

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
I'll tell you why, then (none / 0) (#451)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:46:26 AM EST

It's because Buddhism on it's own has no supreme being. The ultimate authority to do anything is with man and really there is nothing higher.

I'm sure there are those out there who would disagree with me, but this is how I understand it.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

I thought I explained this already. (none / 0) (#450)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:39:12 AM EST

Man is the highest authority, there is no God (well, not in terms that a Christian or a Muslim would understand or agree with at any rate) and the doctrine itself is fairly malleable and changeable.

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]
Nirvana (2.00 / 1) (#342)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 01:34:27 PM EST

This seems like a great state to be in. Is there anyway I can purchase this state? Perhaps there's a nirvana crash course, sort of like for MSCE certification.

Anyway, are really bad people in a different state? Would a sociopath be considered a beast or something?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

Nirvana crash course. (5.00 / 2) (#350)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:31:34 PM EST

Buy yourself a hit of heroin.

Then you can thoughfully stare at your shoe for hours on end, feeling at one with the universe.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Free 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats (5.00 / 1) (#355)
by joshpurinton on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 03:37:35 PM EST

A number of organizations around the world offer free 10-day Buddhist meditation retreats. In the first three days, you learn Anapana meditation (awareness of breathing). The rest of the time is spent on Vipassana meditation (awareness of changing sensations within the body).

There is no charge to students; the expenses for each course have already been paid for by alumni donations. Dates and locations of some upcoming retreats can be found at www.dhamma.org.

From Pentecostal to Liberal Quaker By Buddhism (none / 0) (#371)
by artsygeek on Tue Sep 02, 2003 at 07:28:42 PM EST

I was raised Petecostal...
In college I went to a Mennonite church and studied Buddhism, starting with Alan Watts and moving outward.
Then I went to an Episcopal church (because I felt the service could, in some applications be more 'meditative') then I wanted something more 'bare metal' in terms of practice, and became a Quaker in the Liberal tradition.

I still read the Baghavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Sutras, Taoist texts, and all the other wellsprings that fed the river we now call Buddhism.  Of course, I also study Talmud, the Koran, the Bible, the Gnostic Gospels, and a lot of other spiritual works.  My studies in Buddhism seemed to help me find a better (for me) modus operandi of accessing that which I (and many other folks) call "God".

Additional readings on Buddhism (4.00 / 1) (#418)
by codingwizard on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 10:23:32 AM EST

Thank you for your article.

In my studies, by far the best book I have found regarding Buddhism is the somewhat famous work by Walpola Rahula called What the Buddha Taught. Beyond that, to Westerners and rationalists, the extensive writings of Christmas Humphreys are notable. (See a large list, and one at his organization.) He is good and complete, but a bit ascerbic for my taste, although there's nothing available quite like his Concentration and Medtitation, his A Western Approach to Zen, or his Buddhism: An introduction and guide. The famous Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki seems gentler, though firm in his own way. See his The Awakening of Zen, edited, BTW, by Christmas Humphreys.

I must admit my biases. I am a convert to Judaism from Catholicism, originally to Conservative Judaism. I discovered much of what I know about Buddhist by studying Jewish mysticism and meditation. The history is complicated, but the dearth of mystical connections in today's Judaism is partly due to a rationalist bias on the part of Judaism's leadership over the centuries, and partly because of the Shoah. Essentially, the experts on Jewish mysticism by and large lived in eastern Europe prior to World War II and most were killed.

Still, there are significant writings in this area, notably those by Gershom Scholem, and then Aryeh Kaplan's Meditation and the Bible and Jewish Meditation.

More recent Jewish-Buddhist writers like Sylvia Boorstein have sought a deeper integration and, as I am both Reform Jewish and rationalist, I see no reason why Buddhist sources oughtn't inform my religious insights as does Torah. (See also an online version from an Orthodox perspective.)



--

Jan Theodore Galkowski (o)
ANON,Tcl/Tk,ETL,SQL,ANSI C,SAS,BI,InfoViz
"There is nothing new/Beneath the sun." (Koheleth 1:9)
Yes, there is: Carbon nanotubes, for one.

Hold on... (none / 0) (#449)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:26:13 AM EST

You're a Buddhist Jew who converted from Catholicism? Whoa!

Seriously though, how do you reconcile the obvious differences between Judaism and Buddhism? Judaism says that there is one God who rules over all and there can't be any other way than Judaism. Buddhism says that there can be many ways to reach Nirvana, and you can choose whichever path you please. Surely the two have fairly fundamental conflicts that make them incompatible with each other!

I'd be interested to see you take on this.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Not a Buddhist, but ... (none / 0) (#479)
by codingwizard on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 11:07:04 AM EST

Well, I'm not a Buddhist. I simply think there's a lot that could be learned from Buddhism to inform Judaism. In particular, Judaism could and should rediscover its very old mystical traditions. That said, I do support Buddhist causes when I can, including sangha, as I support Jewish causes when I can.

Um, I take exception to the characterization that "Judaism says there can't be any other way than Judaism".

In its strongest representation within the Jewish community it is said of Jews who are "heriditary Jews" (their parents were) that Judaism is their only Way. Still, if a Jew does not practice Judaism and its values, I think someone would be hard pressed to find a position that claims they are a Jew in any real sense. Naturally, they can return to community at any time. There are other views within the Jewish community characterized by "There are a lot of different ways of being a good Jew". There is undoubtedly a sense of sadness when someone "leaves Judaism", whatever exactly that means.

Moreover, Judaism never says other religions are in any way invalid. They may be seen as being inappropriate for Jews. Indeed, there is a defensible, Orthodox position that Jews cannot be Jews without there being non-Jews in the world. The commonly encountered practice that is familiar is the selling of hametz prior to Pesach. There are other more technical and theological reasons why non-Jews must exist.

One of the reasons why I first considered Judaism is that, unlike Christianity, Judaism has no problems whatsoever with the idea of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. (Buddhism doesn't either, of course.) That's even if we know nothing of their religious practices. So, all the more for people and religions here we know something about.

Christianity has the whole problem of Original Sin: Did these hypothetical other creatures Fall as well? If not, they don't need Christ to save them. If yes, did Christ save them as well? If so, did He save them by coming to Earth? Why Earth? Why not on their planet? If Christ went to both places, in what order? How would that work?

Judaism does impose moral judgments on behavior and actions, and those would inevitably continue on intelligent life elsewhere. (No "prime directive of non-interference" for Judaism!)

Judaism may differ from Buddhism in that it isn't really possible to practice as a Jew without a community of Jews to practice with. It can't be done alone.

Judaism may also differ in that as much as ideal Judaism embraces peace and compassion -- including frequent use of a word which appears all over Buddhist literature lovingkindness -- it does say there is such a thing as a just war and that taking action, including violence, is sometimes necessary. That, of course, is no more than, say, one of Tolkien's points in Lord of the Rings.

The idea of having one all-powerful God is not, I believe, as far away from the Buddhist position as people think, particularly in Zen. One of Zen's ideas is that we, as people, don't really create anything. When we say "I create" there is no "I" to do the creating, the creative force is actually God's and God does the creating through us as agents.

The most important things I've learned from Buddhist teachings are:

  • the idea of having Buddha nature, and self-sufficiency in that, that if "the boss" tends house and puts things in order, so will the world
  • what I believe to be deep insights and help in interpreting some difficult portions of Torah, particularly how God is presented as behaving
I can go more deeply into how Buddhism helps inform Torah if you want to hear about it, but that may be a bit off topic here. Dunno.



--

Jan Theodore Galkowski (o)
ANON,Tcl/Tk,ETL,SQL,ANSI C,SAS,BI,InfoViz
"There is nothing new/Beneath the sun." (Koheleth 1:9)
Yes, there is: Carbon nanotubes, for one.

[ Parent ]
Interesting ... (none / 0) (#480)
by codingwizard on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 11:24:03 AM EST

The interfaith aspects of the Dalai Lama's visit to the U.S. are very interesting.



--

Jan Theodore Galkowski (o)
ANON,Tcl/Tk,ETL,SQL,ANSI C,SAS,BI,InfoViz
"There is nothing new/Beneath the sun." (Koheleth 1:9)
Yes, there is: Carbon nanotubes, for one.

[ Parent ]
Late to the party (5.00 / 1) (#422)
by el_guapo on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 01:13:36 PM EST

um, what's the difference betwixt, say, Zen budhism, and the others. having recently chucked the yoke of xtianity, i am looking for a more worthy philosophy to follow....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
You've just chucked Christianity? (none / 0) (#448)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:17:56 AM EST

I'm very sad to hear it. What happened, if I could ask?

Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

dad died (5.00 / 1) (#470)
by el_guapo on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 11:22:44 PM EST

and as a True Believer(tm), i thought reading the bible would explain to me why a genuinely decent, VERY relgious man, would be robbed of watching his grandkids grow up. especially when he wanted nothing more on this world than to do just that. if you had offered him the following: 1)watch your grandkids grow up, but rot in hell when you die; 2)don't watch your grandkids grow up, but go to heaven when you die - he'd of chosen #1 every day of the week and twice on sunday. when i finally READ the damn thing, xtianity became comically hard to defend. how can a divinely inspired book have "errors"? that and the "logic" just didn't make sense: he sacrificed himself, to himself, to protect me, from himself. WTF?????
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Preparation and Consolation (5.00 / 1) (#474)
by Alan Crowe on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 05:19:53 PM EST

As a practising Buddhist I have to admit that Buddhism is a religion of preparation, not consolation. For example, the Brahma Vihara meditations aim at the development of positive emotions, specifically friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. So if you plug away for a few years and develop those emotions, when something bad eventually happens, you will be better prepared to cope.

However, if you wait until trouble hits, you will find that the doctrine offers little comfort. Life is suffering. Everything is impermanent. One is advised to make ones peace with these unavoidable facts of life and death in advance.

[ Parent ]

dude! (ette?) (5.00 / 1) (#484)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 02:17:09 PM EST

can you provide any more online info?? my fam would REALLY like to do the weekly "chruch thing", we've just realized that xtianity ain't what it used to be. buddhism may just be what we're looking for (and maybe the UU church)
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
More info online (none / 0) (#486)
by Alan Crowe on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 06:01:37 PM EST

I'm one of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. Strange name. The founder had reached the conclusion that the layman/monk split had a nasty tendency to get too wide, with damaging consequences, so he founded both an order (the Western Buddhist Order) and a lay movement (the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) and tries to get the right relationship between the two.

The great strength that I perceive in the FWBO is in teaching meditation and encouraging lay members to practice.

There are many other excellent Buddhist groups. Try Thich Nhat Hanh's Unified Buddhist Church. Within the Soto Zen tradition, I can personally recommend the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

[ Parent ]

thanky! (5.00 / 1) (#487)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 06:14:56 PM EST

elguapo goes and pokes around....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
contact info is out (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by bandy on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 07:17:44 PM EST

I'd have to agree with what the other fellow said about not so much in the consolation department.  However, the realization that everything changes is often consolation.

[And your contact info is straight-up out of date/wrong, my email bounced]
Marlboro: War ich Rindveh bin.
[ Parent ]

eek! yuppers (5.00 / 1) (#482)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 01:28:17 PM EST

try cull@BADSPAMBADatt.com i've been "offline" for like 7 months now due to, um, "employment" issues :-P
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry :-( (none / 0) (#476)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 04:00:05 AM EST

I have no real words to say to you that wouldn't sound glib and heartless. One day I hope you find your faith again.

Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

thanks all (5.00 / 1) (#483)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 01:34:52 PM EST

for the consolation. supposedly "time heals all wounds", but this one seems to just fester. my dad really was a genuinely great guy, and the world is just a little darker without him :( i'd be less bitter about it if he'd lived into his 80's, or something. watching him rot away with cancer and die in his 50's just pisses me off beyond words, needless to say....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Dharma & meditation; attachment & illusion (none / 0) (#431)
by Rademir on Thu Sep 04, 2003 at 10:40:41 PM EST

Thanks all for the article and discussion.

My understanding of dharma is that it means "the path", that is the practices that will lead one to enlightenment. I'm surprised to see the relative absence of meditation in the discussion. Maybe i shouldn't be surprised, Walpola Rahula doesn't dwell on it much in his book (which was my first real introduction), and the Buddhism page on Wikipedia didn't mention it at all until i added something about it.

Meditation is the main practice offered by Buddhism for achieving equanimity, which to me means having choice, being free of reactivity. There's no problem with wanting something (or wanting to be rid of something), it's the sense that you must have it (or be rid of it) that leads to misery. This sense of must is how i understand what Buddhists usually refer to as attachment, or craving and aversion.

Equanimity is one of the two main goals as i understand Buddhism -- the other being awareness, or freedom from illusion. To the extent i am free of illusions and attachments, i can discover and act on truth for myself.

Consciousness is our Oxygen Challenge


Meditation = missing (none / 0) (#447)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:16:40 AM EST

Actually, the reason that it's missing is because I don't know anything about it! I ws kind of hoping that somebody would write up something about it in the comments. Your link is pretty cool though!

Maybe a story could be submitted to the queue detailing different meditation techniques?

Incidently, I disagree with the Buddhist philosophy of the removal of attachment and desire. I think that in the end it just causes misery for a lot of people because it's just not possible. Just my 2 cents.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Avoid Wishing Karmic Retribution On Others (5.00 / 1) (#432)
by cyberlife on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 02:58:36 AM EST

A past roommate of mine was a strong believer in karma and would often use it as a cheap way to justify negative feelings toward others. She was often heard saying things like, "I don't have to do anything, karma will get them." I tried explaining to her that wishing a negative karmic response on someone is just as bad as wishing direct harm on them. In her mind, as long as she was not the one who actually delivered the blow she was innocent. That's the same logic as one who hires a hitman -- they didn't kill the person so they're absolved of any wrong doing. It's utter bullshit. Channeling your hatred through karma doesn't change the fact that you're still hateful.

Hateful? (none / 0) (#443)
by Rademir on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 02:34:57 AM EST

If by hateful you meant she is still experiencing hate, yah. If by hateful you meant that it would be okay to hate her, then no. Although that pretty much sums up the pothole that the practitioners of most philosophies of universal compassion end up in.

Not hating people when they do things that really bug us is exactly the point of such philosophies. And the really hard part is remembering that compassion also applies to ourselves, when we discover that we are hating someone even though we know better. Think recursive compassion.

"I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and i know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and i hate people like that!" --Tom Lehrer, National Brotherhood Week

Consciousness is our Oxygen Challenge


[ Parent ]
Bad Karma? (none / 0) (#469)
by survomies on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:31:13 PM EST

This is an interesting question. Somebody has bad karma, something bad must happen to him. But somebody has to commit an evil thing towards him then, directly in proportion with the amount of bad karma?

Therefore bad deeds would sometimes be compatible with karma? It seems like the karma is some kind of a wheel, with evil and good acts circling from person to person. Of course this seems to be the idea. There is some kind of an account of karmic trade balances somewhere.

Well, i have great respect for Buddhist ideas, i like them a lot more than other religions.

[ Parent ]
Genuinely curious (5.00 / 1) (#435)
by esrever on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 07:56:44 AM EST

Some thoughts:
If I am a reincarnated being (ie I have been around before), then why can't I remember it?
If I can't remember it, how can I ever achieve enlightenment?
If I _can_ remember it, then why isn't the _entire_ population of the world currently striving for Nirvana ~right now~ ?
I am genuinely confused about how it is that one can 'attain enlightenment' via buddhism; either I have cognition of my past life, and can therefore learn from it, or I can't; yes??
Additionally where have all the extra people come from? Where do the bodies being born right now get their souls from?
I don't want to appear to be trolling here in what is an excellent and respectful forum (please do believe that I'm not) but if Buddhism is truly a 'philosophy' (whatever that really means anyway ;-) then it's adherents should be able to tackle such questions with intellectual rigorousness - surely other people have raised these issues and there are solid answers for them? Links appreciated.
Cheers,

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
Know who you are (none / 0) (#440)
by bsavoie on Fri Sep 05, 2003 at 05:17:49 PM EST

As you point out" If I am a reincarnated being (ie I have been around before), then why can't I remember it? If I can't remember it, how can I ever achieve enlightenment?"

You are not a thought. You are that which can create thoughts. You can not hold yourself as a thought. (You can not hold yourself as a body either).

Thoughts, on the lowest level, are things! You are not a thing! Your nature doesn't change even if you are not counscious of it. You are not created or destroyed, that occurs with things. The more a thought is aggreed to - the more real it becomes. The more agreement, the harder it is to change.

The pain of ownership of our old thoughts is so great, that we separate and have no part of it. After billions of years, we don't even exist. Now you are told you are forever. I can understand your disbelief. I have nothing that can force you to see it differently.

Force is a power that belongs to things. You can not be forced, you are spirit. We all are addicted to the use of force, so we don't want to be spirit. We want to make them understand or else we will hit them. We need to do this so much that we can't let go and try something else.

As long as we need the world to be logical and we want to win in that logic, we will be stuck. Buddha called this Samsara, the going around and around, birth and death and then again for thousands and thousands of lifetimes.

Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
I suppose that another question flowing from this: (none / 0) (#446)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:08:04 AM EST

If the pain of ownership of our thoughts is so great that we separate and have nothing to do with them anymore, how did Buddha know about this concept?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

What is the nature of a thought? (5.00 / 1) (#454)
by bsavoie on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 05:46:21 PM EST

If we experience the truth, there can be no thoughts, only experience. A thought is a residual, a left over. It has inertia and it is not counscious, it has no life, it is stuck. When we think a thought we split ourselves, and we leave part of ourself behind (creating the experience of time). We only think a thought when we shutdown our experience. The act of 'no' is the act of thinking. It creates us and them and the resulting difference.

This thought hangs in our awareness, because it is our defense to reality, our act of 'no'. The truth hides behind it. We are not whole when this thought is stuck there in our awareness. This makes us smaller, this stuck thing that we made by saying 'no' to the truth.

To awaken to the truth of who we are, we need to take the charge off of the thoughts in our mind. We need to become friendly with our fears. This will help us to get unstuck and to experience that which we said 'no' to. We can do this by meditation or we can talk to others who are free and tell them of our thoughts ( maybe using a dyad ).

Since we created our own thoughts we can't get others fix them. Only we can do that. These thoughts cut us off from reality of great joy and freedom.

hope that helps.. Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
Good answer, still... (none / 0) (#456)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 01:04:54 AM EST

... I have further questions!

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but are you saying that once you think a thought it's with you forever? I mean to say it's with you even as you move between the different realms of being? And so when we have a thought stuck in our consciousness then we are diminished. That seems to me to be what you're saying.

So we must use meditation to remove our thoughts. (Is this right or am I missing something here?) We must do this so that we can experience reality, which is joy and freedom. Yet I thought Buddhists were trying to escape from reality to get to Nirvana! (btw, I now understand Nirvana as that which is the state of nothingness or freedom from attachment and desire and thus suffering).

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú


---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Buddhists are not trying to escape (none / 0) (#468)
by bsavoie on Sun Sep 07, 2003 at 07:09:28 PM EST

The illusion that causes sorrow is that which separates you from others, that which makes you different and isolated. Once you let go of trying to control the outcome, to manage the future, you see things as they really are. This allows you to laugh because you did not get caught up, you slipped by it. You see everything now as a teacher and it is no longer dead and stuck.

Everything is now, there is no time, unless you hold on to something. Holding on to thoughts is the major way we struggle. When we struggle we hold back and say 'no'. We say 'no' to life, 'no' to change, and we don't have much fun.

Life is really fun and full of meaning. Life is a teacher and we are full of experience that is always changing. All is change. You are a spirit interacting with spirits, there is no difference between us and our true nature. You don't have to be trapped into thinking you need to fix anything, it is already perfect. You are perfect, you have always been perfect, you only suffer when you forget you are all.

Because you are perfect, you can hold a thought forever. Each thought is a judgement, a separation, that prevents perfection. That is why it separates us from ourselves, we have a vested interest, a distortion of reality, a loss of perfection.

Most people are addicted to thinking, and in this grasping they have constructed a false self. This false self attempts to give us life on our terms. But it is old, stuck and lifeless, because we are not changing.

All is love, if we could only see it.. hope that helps.. Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
But if I'm perfect... (none / 0) (#477)
by esrever on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 06:26:29 AM EST

...and just don't realise it, then surely I am not perfect? Thanks for your elucidation Bill, I genuinely understand more of the Buddhist religion and worldview. I must say that I find certain aspects of the paradigm to be mutually exclusive, so I won't be pursuing it any further, but thanks anyway for the insight.

Cheers,

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
All things are optional (none / 0) (#485)
by bsavoie on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 05:53:28 PM EST

It is Ok, you don't have to pursue it. This kind of proves my point, since you are complete as you are. No one can make you change. You are 'perfect' in this respect.

It is possible to have imperfect relationships between perfect entities. What I have expressed is just my opinion of what works for me. It has to do with thinking as an addiction. It points to freedom and choice.

How do we know what we know. We can think out our 'best' take on it. We can figure if that is really the best. I find it unnecessary to figure constantly, using my brain is not my only tool. I can use my intuition and I can magnify my sensitivity by meditation.

What is imperfect is our relationship. We have a misunderstanding between us. Karma will deal with that in time. Each of us is surrounded by an experience. That is enough.

Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
Thinking and academics... (none / 0) (#488)
by KTB on Wed Sep 10, 2003 at 11:21:25 PM EST

I'm intrigued by your thoughts on thinking (had to say it). I'm pursuing a ph.d where what I do day in and day out is analyze. I analyze theories, I analyze data, I analayze people's analyses of analyses. Etc... All I do all day is think. So, I'm left wondering if there is an inherent incompatibility between academia (or any other such discipline with an emphasis on thinking) and the type of life that a buddhist would live. Is it possible to be both? Are there different types of thinking, i.e. does thinking about ones self differ from the thinking one does about abstract issues or concrete 'facts'? Interesting to think about... ktb
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.
-- Charles William Dement
[ Parent ]
You are free (none / 0) (#489)
by bsavoie on Thu Sep 11, 2003 at 04:57:19 PM EST

Analayzing has it's limitations. It is one dimentional and the viewpoint tends to get stuck. This brings me to my point, you risk nothing. You can study, and analyze but it doesn't matter what you study, at some point you must let go of having that limited viewpoint, and you must actually try risk. Without risk you can not see depth.

For truth (the end result of your efforts) you must move beyond meer analysis. You must become all and take ownership in all and see all sides without preference. If not you are just in a fight.

Further this fight is disguised in the word 'Truth' that is born of ignorance. The resulting denial creates anger. Words worth fighting over. Every angry person thinks they have truth.

This is why we die, or our bodies die, in my opinion; to separate the wheat from the chaff. To complete the separation, end the attachment and to open our viewpoint. This allows us to break through all our petty limitations and be one with truth.

In summary: You are free. (I can not prove that.) You can learn, by meditation, to see through being in any fixed viewpoint. (To do that you drop good and bad as judgement states.) This allows you to know things without thinking. You can now work on compassion, so you can have more than one point of view. This allows you to see others. Being aware of others and what they think and feel allows you to see the love they might have for you. My experience is that there is love everywhere, but we are too stuck to see any of it.

Bill Savoie
May Peace and Love be your path
[ Parent ]
I can't answer these questions. (none / 0) (#445)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Sep 06, 2003 at 10:03:50 AM EST

But then again, I'm not a Buddhist. Good questions though, I suppose another question coming from yours would be who did the first people on the planet reincarnate from?

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

some thoughts (none / 0) (#478)
by mreardon on Tue Sep 09, 2003 at 10:10:15 AM EST

If I am a reincarnated being (ie I have been around before), then why can't I remember it?
Can you remember everything you have done in this incarnation yet?
If I can't remember it, how can I ever achieve enlightenment?
Why do you think you need to remember all this before you can achieve enlightenment?
If I _can_ remember it, then why isn't the _entire_ population of the world currently striving for Nirvana.
They are, even without realizing it. It is also called evolution.

[ Parent ]
Awareness leads to enlightenment (none / 0) (#495)
by shomon2 on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 07:19:16 AM EST

First of all, thanks for asking those questions! I don't think they are trolling, and I took a look at the other responses before answering. No-one has provided the intellectually rigorous answers you were hoping for, so I think I should step in and do it!

But if I'm to explain it, first some background. In the text of this article, there's the story of Shakyamuni Buddha. One of his last works was the lotus sutra - a controversial teaching where he declared that all previous teachings had not revealed the complete truth about buddhism, but that he thought no-one would believe him if he had started by saying exactly what he thought, so basically, through his life he taught teachings following the wisdom of the people.

The lotus sutra was different: It was aimed at his followers then, but also at people living in the "latter day of the law" - which he prophesized to be some 3000 years later, at a time when no-one alive would have been able to be in his presence, and thus attain enlightenment simply through being taught by Shakyamuyni himself or one of his followers. We're still in this time now. This is because he didn't think it was the right time for people to know that they could be buddhas too, in their current lifetime.

A few hundred years later, The Tendai School began in China, when Tientai, a buddhist scholar wrote commentaries and analysis of the lotus sutra, and formulated a way to reach enlightenment in this present life. But it took a long time to reach the concentration needed (His main book explaining it was called "great concentration and insight"!). It was inaccessible for anyone but a monk, but very thorough in it's analysis of the lotus sutra's concepts and the world view they created.

Enter Nichiren Daishonin, a 13th century Japanese Priest - who was a student in a Tendai temple. He entered into a profound study of all the kinds of buddhism present in his day, and elaborated on the then corrupt tendai faith, which had added elements of other faiths to Tientai's original practices. Nichiren condensed the complex ritual of enlightenment into a simple and accessible chant: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

Okay, that was a lot of explaining to answer your question, but here is the answer, and in Nichiren's own words:

While deluded, one is called a common mortal, but once enlightened, he is called a Buddha. Even a tarnished mirror will shine like a jewel if it is polished. A mind which presently is clouded by illusions originating from the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but once it is polished it will become clear, reflecting the enlightenment of immutable truth. Arouse deep faith and polish your mirror night and day. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
This is from a letter to one of Nichiren's followers, called "On Attaining Buddhahood" - it explained in simple terms how one could become aware of his buddha state - his buddhahood innate inside, and be a buddha equal to Shakyamuni and all other buddhas. Saying that you can't remember a past life, and therefore doubt that you had such a past life at all, then you are unaware of your buddha nature. As Nichiren says, this makes you a common mortal. So for all intents and purposes, you have no past life. But you only need to chant to change this. The speck of faith that you need to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the speck of faith in your buddhahood - that you are a buddha too, and have always existed, and will always exist.

Phew, that was the first and second question! If you spoke out Nam Myoho Renge Kyo you just achieved enlightenment too! But if you want to progress beyond the first phase of simply having some slight belief that you can be a buddha, and see this belief flourish, you need to study and have faith. You can't do without any of these three practices: Faith, Buddhist practice (chanting and Gongyo - our prayers) and Study. This will end up making Buddhahood your fundamental state, as opposed to whatever state you are currently in. Before I was a buddhist I think my main state was humanity(number 6 in the list of worlds that's in the article) - I was "humane" and able to solve my problems through my wisdom, and able to grow, but lazy and sometimes unable to confront obstacles in my life. I don't think it's the world most people are in usually though, as it says in the article: My partner always says her main world is Anger - since she's done a lot to try and bring the good side out of this. Also lots of people are in hunger. Typically, addicts.

The descriptions in the list are a bit "esoteric" for my tastes - people fluctuate between the ten worlds at all times in the day. I go to the lower worlds more frequently than I'd like!

Likewise, many academics - like one person who answered on this thread, as well as many open minded people are stuck in the world of realisation and learning - which are high worlds to be in, but limited because they appear to be the highest state. Sad to say, but I think my parents are there.

Okay, now you're third question: If you are aware of your real life-span, and I imagine you also mean if you're aware of all the other things that make someone a buddha, then why aren't you striving for buddhahood? Well, if you're aware, then of course you are! We do loads for buddhism to grow, for more people to practice, and for world peace - both through my organisation's affiliation to the UN and in my case, as an ex-refugee, to support asylum seekers in the UK, to support anti war protesters (by chanting, and once by babysitting!). Each person does whatever fits with their particular mission - most of these things are simply the ones I feel I should be doing. I think it's a valid point that if some day no-one at all, in the world, was practicing, or was aware of their buddhahood, we wouldn't have any reason to be around anymore. Life is a fragile thing, and by being buddhists we fight for life, all life, to grow.

Why isn't the world fighting for enlightenment? I don't see why they logically should? I thought we were here as buddhists, on this world, and in this time so we could show people about buddhism. If they were all buddhists already, what would be the point of being here?

I think you confuse enlightenment with awareness simply of a past life... A bitmore on buddhist concepts of death etc. Also, you seem to take very literally the word "rebirth" as if you, and exactly the same you, no different, was born again, hiding somewhere all the memories and experiences you'd had before. Nope. Sorry. We're eaten by worms, and our brain is too. Maybe something stays some other way of our memories, and somehow all our actions and dreams are not forgotten, but until I see a scientist or a buddhist prove it, I don't think our conscious self survives after death in the form of a soul. There is a bit that survives though - more on this later.

I see life as something that is always there, whether you see it or not. As Shakyamuni himself said (Lotus Sutra, Chap 16

Since I attained Buddhahood the number of kalpas that have passed is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions, trillions, asamkhyas. Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting countless millions of living beings, causing them to enter the Buddha way, all this for immeasurable kalpas. In order to save living beings, as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana but in truth I do not pass into extinction. I am always here preaching the Law. I am always here, but through my transcendental powers I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement do not see me even when close by.
(Kalpa = very long period of time. Different interpretations abound on the internet as to how long it is) So life is simply something that's not always in a manifest state. It can become dormant, but you're always "alive". This is explained better in the writings of Daisaku Ikeda, and here's a page that explains more on it: http://www.geshu.org/study/uk/kekuchu.shtml - but it's complex and I won't go into it now.

So you ask about the "extra people" and where souls come from... Sorry - Wrong religion! But you obviously have some trouble understanding the buddhist concept of death. The most important aspect of this is so that you can understand when a loved one dies, that your faith can answer the question of whether they are alright, where are they? Will you ever see them again?

Everyone is constantly taking different kinds of action. I take action in writing you, which I hope is a positive action, which will give me good karma. The sum of the positive and negative actions you have taken adds up to the Karma, which is stored in your eighth conscousness - the karmic storehouse, which is explained here: http://www.sgi-usa.org/buddhism/library/SokaGakkai/Study/Entrance/Text2.htm

When you die, this karma carries on to the next life. Some people say that Hitler negates buddhism because he died a relatively peaceful way compared to the trouble he caused. I think he can't escape what he did, but I have to hope that he can achieve buddhahood in whatever existence he's in now.

I believe Hitler died in a Hell state. I may be wrong, but it was surely one of the lower worlds. When I die, I hope to be in a buddhahood state - so that when I'm born again, I can be born into surroundings that also have buddhahood (another buddhist awareness is the oneness of one's self and surroundings).

When buddhists die, we say they are able to choose to be born into families of practicing buddhists. We also tend to be born around the same people - since our lives are intertwined beyond any particular lifetime. The roles may change though. And while we are not coming back into a new life, we rejoin the accumulated buddhahood that's in the universe. We call this eagle peak - the place where shakyamuni preached the lotus sutra. Here is a passage where Nichiren speaks of this way:

When I reach Eagle Peak, I will first tell how Shijo Kingo, like Nichiren, resolved to die for the Lotus Sutra.
This is from "The persecution at tatsunokuchi" - a letter written at a time when Nichiren had incurred the anger of the japanese government because of his views, and as he was led to his execution, a follower vowed to die alongside him. At eagle peak, you're supposedly in presence of all other buddhas, but I see it as a chemical or physical state rather than some kind of heaven.

I hope my answers have been satisfactory, and I'm sorry I can't explain these things without going so deep into buddhist theory. But I think your questions are very deep questions, and hopefully you'll be happy with the rigour employed. And on a side note, I hope those of other buddhist faiths are able to offer up their own interpretations of these concepts in answer to your questions as well. Please feel free to ask more questions like these! Some more links to FAQs on my particular strand of buddhism:

http://etherbods.com/study/q-and-a/index.shtml
http://www.buddhalife.org/NDbuddhsim/ndb.htm
http://www.sgi-usa.org/buddhism/index.html

Ale

[ Parent ]

Starting point of it all (5.00 / 1) (#472)
by chetan on Mon Sep 08, 2003 at 10:54:38 AM EST

A look at the origin of Buddhism will help. Prince Gautama (who later attained Budhdha-hood) was not quite happy. This happened just around his 18th birthday when he visited the city leaving the palace for the first time in his life. He had led a life of comfort (as a prince would do). On this trip (as the legend goes) he saw an old man, a dead body being carried away, a sick man and a monk. He encountered death and pain on this visit. His charioteer answered his questions like "Will I be an old man one day ?", "Will I die one day ?" etc. with "yes". This disturbed him greatly.

However, the monk he saw looked quite a peace with his surroundings. This impressed him making him think something like "This monk is also perhaps going to go through all this. Yet he does not seem as perturbed as I am".

He got married and had a son. He tried to reconcile with disturbing thoughts triggered on his excursion without success. The monk was also in his head all along. He decided to leave his world and find out the secret behind the monk's (apparent) peace of mind. He was 29 at that time.

Gautama went to a number of Gurus in search of solution to his state of mind. He tried various forms of meditation being taught/followed by the contemporary masters (Gurus, monks). None satisfied him. He was still not at peace.

Now, let us look at the value proposition in all these philosophies. They all promised a state of existence (being, or mind) of moksha (liberation) where there is absolute bliss. No pain (Dukkha). This is to be noted that all over the world at all times in all civilizations there were people who practiced some rituals/practices which took them to another state of mind where they felt different. This different meant mostly feelings that cannot be described in words. These states of mind did included being "more peaceful, more comfortable with themselves, and more tolerant of others." (ref: http://www.csp.org/chrestomathy/holotropic_mind.html)

In case of Hinduism ancient texts (actually not written but passed by word of mouth from teacher to student) talked of these states of mind. The kind of Gurus Gautama went to were practioners of interpreted philosophies in these ancient sources. As mentioned before, he was not satisfied.

He took up an extreme form of meditation as the last resort with 4 monks in a forest. This included not eating at all, not sleeping at all etc. Even this did not help.

At the personal level, he reached the view that the extremes do not help. The form of comfort he encounterd in the palace did not make him really peaceful. On leaving all that behind, he led hard life of a monk. Yet, he was not at peace. This is the genesis of his prescription of the middle path.

These 4 "colleagues" of his left the forest for Varanasi (North India) one day after getting frustrated. Buddha was also at the end of his wits. As the story goes, one evening he decided that he will not get up from his seat unless he finds an answer even if it means dying in the same place. He meditated very hard and by the first ray of the sun in the morning he had understood. He had attained nirvana. The experiences he had during this sitting are explained to a great detail in the Buddhist texts. These talk about how senstations/feelings arise and how mind reacts to these. Reactions to feelings is the casue of pain. To not react is to break this cycle of life and death. Buddha had undrstood how be can remain above all these this during his nirvana-attaining sitting.

Now, what did he understand ? All that is listed in the story part at the top of this page. That is exactly what he taught to some traders who were passing by (after a few weeks of this event). In the meantime he did a few things like testing himself and expressing his appreciation to the tree under which he attained nirvana etc. Later, he caught with those 4 "colleagues" in Varanasi and taught them his meditation technique.

As per the teachings of Buddha mind reacts (getting attached or developing aversion) to all the inputs (sensations). This is the root cause of all problems(Refer to middle path above). He had experienced the cesession of all pain by not getting attached to anything.

He had created a how-to on achieving nirvana promised by other teachings (which were coded in difficult language, interpreted variously by different people, talked about multiple births, reincarnations etc). Do not forget this was a long and hard path. On top of that words cannot express what he felt. He could only show the path he found. The real learning comes by practicing his form of meditation (Vipassana).

On practicing the meditation described by Buddha a large number of people encountered experiences talked about in ancient texts etc.

I would refer to the book "The Holotrpoic Mind" (Grof, Stanislav, and Bennett, Hal Zina. (1992). San Francisco: Harper Collins.) which argues, based on scietifically studied evidence, how these states of mind are common factor among all humans. These are not normal stated of mind but can become common by practice etc. It is almost as if humans are wired to get there (my view). There has been a recent news report on BBC saying that humans are hard-wired to believe in God (or some higher force). Sorry no links on that.

I think I got carried away in writing a longish passage. To close now.

Buddha found one explanation and a method. He conveyed this to others. Practioners experienced something which definitely included peace of mind. Other things like reincarnation, recall of earlier births etc. are in my view only the rough verbalization of a range of experiences that people had. Do not get caught in the logic part of it. Experience !!

A Quick Overview of Buddhism | 494 comments (478 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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