• Janus
    10.1k
    Experience is not enough, though. It takes a certain self-confidence, a "big ego", if you will, to trust one's experience over and above the comments, instructions, and criticisms of others (in this case, esp. Buddhists).baker

    I'm not sure what you have in mind by "experience", but I would include the experience that something feels very right. To distinguish between that and wishful thinking is not always easy, of course. But absent such a feeling I can't think of what good reason one would have for following a religion.
  • TLCD1996
    68


    Totally. Sometimes people get a bit too cocky about their "experience" to the point where they assume that everyone else is below them (an inferior "other"). This is, to my understanding, what is called "mana" or "conceit" in Buddhism (and I'd guess outside of Buddhism as well).

    Buddhists need to be honest with themselves when asking if they're free from suffering or defilement; and if they ask, they need to understand when their response is a reflexive (edit: impulsive) "Yes I am free because x y and z", (edit:) rather than a clear recognition.

    According to (my understanding of) the scriptures, one who reaches the goal has no doubt about it, and no reason to argue at all. They're also not necessarily all-knowing; what they "know" are the four noble truths, and their capacity to know other things (e.g. the ways of the world, people, language, etc) is limited to their psychological conditioning. They know for themselves that they are free from greed and anger, and the delusion which would lead to grasping. Edit: whether or not they know the minds of others or the extent of the physical universe or their past lives is not of primary concern.

    As for myself, I can't say I'm totally free from that. But I can say confidently that I know what it's like to be momentarily free from anger or greed; to be open-hearted and content (and I would wager that some of us here, even non Buddhists, have felt that) The question now is: can I cultivate that, maintain it, and liberate myself with it? The scriptures say yes, the teachers say yes, and I say yes, but the "yes" doesn't mean much if I don't try and see.

    I'm only a sitting duck if I rest content with that "yes," as far as I'm concerned, and if I sit around all the time trying to argue my case ;)
  • baker
    1.3k
    Sometimes people get a bit too cocky about their "experience" to the point where they assume that everyone else is below them (an inferior "other").TLCD1996
    I'm not sure we're on the same page here.

    I'm talking about the need to "grow a pair", to "show elbows" when it comes to interacting with others in religion/spirituality. In many ways, religion/spirituality is very much like highschool or a work environment where there is mobbing and bullying, power cliques, the old boys' club, and so on . It's necessary to claim and protect one's space, or one will get squished, socially, but more importantly, in one's own mind and efforts. Squished -- not necessarily by evil, malicious devotees, but often by well-meaning but not highly attained practitioners who happen to posses a lot of self-confidence, or at least more than oneself.
  • Tom Storm
    971
    It seems to me that sometimes this is said to be experienced when what is seen by others is a shrinking away from life and a palpable decrease in liberty.

    Anyone who has committed to some goal can be described with such words. For example, a highly successful businessman can be seen by others as shrinking away from life and palpably decreasing in liberty. Such is the nature of pursuing goals: one's options in life shrink.
    baker

    I agree. And I think the business man's story is a sad one also.
  • baker
    1.3k
    And I think the business man's story is a sad one also.Tom Storm
    Why sad?
  • TLCD1996
    68


    Do you mean in the context of a community where susceptible newcomers, inquirers etc need to protect themselves against charismatic online "gurus" or potentially harmful ideas?
  • baker
    1.3k
    No, more basically, and not just in reference to leaders. In religious/spiritual circles, a measure of cockiness and haughtiness is an absolute necessity for day-to-day survival.
  • TLCD1996
    68


    So, trying to connect this with your earlier post on trusting experience: are you saying that in a spiritual community, one has to be cocky enough to trust their own experiences so as not to be influenced by the thoughts, opinions, criticisms etc of others?

    If so, I'm wondering what this might look like, or how it might manifest. I've seen cockiness lead to survival, but it wasn't really pretty, and I think it would be short term unless it was addressed somehow. Cockiness to me conveys an attitude of mistrust toward others (based on one's own conceit), which isn't all that healthy in a small spiritual community as far as I know.
  • baker
    1.3k
    So, trying to connect this with your earlier post on trusting experience: are you saying that in a spiritual community, one has to be cocky enough to trust their own experiences so as not to be influenced by the thoughts, opinions, criticisms etc of others?TLCD1996
    Yes.

    If so, I'm wondering what this might look like, or how it might manifest.
    As (right-wing) authoritarian mentality.

    Cockiness to me conveys an attitude of mistrust toward others (based on one's own conceit), which isn't all that healthy in a small spiritual community as far as I know.
    The thing about noble friendship (kalyanamittata) is that it bears very little resemblance to ordinary friendship. There's no (need for) mutual respect and trust. It's all about one person assuming superiority over the other person in terms of the Dharma, and that's pretty much it. "If you don't like it, leave" is the motto.
  • TLCD1996
    68
    Looking at your post history, I see that you have experience in this matter. I'm assuming it's fairly complicated so I'll avoid trying to explore that here, so we can stay more on topic. But I think it's fair to say that you know that was an unsatisfactory experience.

    Speaking for myself, kalyanamittata has totally been a way for me to grow in my confidence regarding the possibility of this "knowledge". Even the monks who haven't always been "perfect" have, in my eyes, manifested admirable qualities. I've never met a monk who said they were totally free (it's against the Vinaya, anyway), but their behavior or what they taught me would surely lead me to feel confident that they've gained benefit in their practice. And they've never demanded I assume that they're superior in any way.

    The closest thing I've gotten to "if you don't like it, leave" is "if you didn't want my advice, why did you ask?" And there it was always relevant, because first I would find the assumption within myself that they're going to give me a particular kind of advice, or I would find that I didn't really trust them when I asked.

    From there it's become apparent to me that trust or distrust can be quite instinctual for some such as myself, but also that it can be deliberately used as a personal tool to build relationships as well as help ourselves; sometimes we have a sort of instinctual trust based on ignorance and naivete, sometimes we have it after (truthfully) making some qualifying considerations. For example: I've never seen this person do anything hurtful, and in fact what I see them do usually has a good result. Further, the people who follow this person's advice seem to have good results as well, so I might as well trust them and see what happens. A similar process can be applied for distrusting people. That's where we begin to have a little more autonomy and also apply ourselves. It took me a long time to learn that, and the monastics I know have been so instrumental in that.

    I'm not well versed enough in philosophy to understand exactly where this fits into discussions of "epistemology", but I think it's fair to say that knowing oneself to be faithful is a trustworthy claim of knowledge. And I know from past experience that sometimes this faith changes, especially as we learn more about our human condition and understand where our trust should or should be placed if we want to be at ease. Sometimes we place it in the wrong spot and grow sorely disappointed when it fails us. Sometimes we think we got it right, but we see how we're wrong later. That's where I've often found myself (and I'm beginning to think that "rightness", not in terms of "samma" but more on the cocky side of "rightness", is a poor place to place one's confidence).
  • thewonder
    737
    No, more basically, and not just in reference to leaders. In religious/spiritual circles, a measure of cockiness and haughtiness is an absolute necessity for day-to-day survival.baker

    LMFAO, just be a sanctimonious chauvinist. You must've just fallen into the wrong the Buddhist circles.
  • baker
    1.3k
    LMFAO, just be a sanctimonious chauvinist. You must've just fallen into the wrong the Buddhist circles.thewonder
    Not at all. I'm just a Western female who happens to have an innate interest in Early Buddhism. A very bad combination with very bad consequences.
  • thewonder
    737

    Well, that'd make more sense, though chauvinism does technically refer to a certain kind of arrogance.
  • thewonder
    737

    I feel like that didn't come off well. What I mean is that, within any spiritual, social, or political circle, that a person would think that, what to me, would be the most vexing code of conduct that a person could possibly adopt, as I am so inclined to be willing to invoke that pride is a cardinal sin, aside from that self-righteousness is just generally infuriating, as somehow requisite to survive within it is just indicative of that it isn't the a set of society that that person should even want to take part in.

    You, I think, have spoken of your experience in another thread, which I haven't read, and, so, have, perhaps, lost too much. I can understand how you could feel a need to be somewhat assertive, given your situational context. I had honestly assumed that you were a person who identifies as being male, as that is what I tend to assume of most of the users of this forum, and, so, apologize by that account.
  • baker
    1.3k
    I feel like that didn't come off well. What I mean is that, within any spiritual, social, or political circle, that a person would think that, what to me, would be the most vexing code of conduct that a person could possibly adopt, as I am so inclined to be willing to invoke that pride is a cardinal sin, aside from that self-righteousness is just generally infuriating, as somehow requisite to survive within it is just indicative of that it isn't the a set of society that that person should even want to take part in.thewonder

    There is no place for idealism in religion or spirituality.
  • thewonder
    737

    There doesn't seem to be a place for me within them then, though I think that you might just have too negative of a depiction of them because of your own experience. Granted, I'm an atheist, anyways.
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