• Gregory
    3.9k


    Yes, I think Buddhism is about saving yourself
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    Yes, I think Buddhism is about saving yourselfGregory

    Odd things happen given enough time. There's a post somewhere in this forum where a member remarks, paraphrasing, "if time is infinite, anything that can happen will happen." It's inevitable.

    I'm in awe as to the grandness and complexity of the human mind to say nothing of the cosmos itself. You think you're right and you're wrong and just when you lose all hope and resign yourself to being always wrong, you're right. This is just a sample, not representative in any way but does give you a feel of how deep the rabbit hole goes. :grin:
  • baker
    3.3k
    Firstly, wrong thread,unenlightened

    No, the question of whether the Buddha was sourgraping is often on my mind, it pertains also to topics that nominally don't seem related to it.

    and secondly, nothing I have said is sceptical of Buddhism or its founder.

    Of course you do:

    Try it, and find out. No point in asking a bunch of amateur, mainly Western philosophers to speculate in ignorance, no point in trying to understand Nirvana from the outside, as a theory. That's like sitting in the cafe in the valley wondering about the view from the top of the mountain. Save your breath and get your boots on.unenlightened

    Try the practice that leads to Nirvana and experience what it is.unenlightened

    I pursued this, at length, but neither you nor @Wayfarer who agreed with you offered any actual answers, other than admitting that you aren't enlightened.

    I am sceptical of much of the Western interpretation of Buddhism, and perhaps of the beliefs of some Buddhists that have a supernatural or magical turn. I lean more towards the Zen schools and a practical, psychological understanding of an end to the narrative self as a projection from memory to imagination, or past to future, a thought construction of the self that creates desire and suffering.

    All this ego talk is a "Western interpretation of Buddhism", but you're not skeptical of that one.
  • baker
    3.3k
    So Buddhism has gods but no Supreme God we are trying to get too. Nirvana itself could seem to be atheistic to a Westerner looking for loving union with his creator.Gregory

    I think nontheistic (i.e. "devotion (attachment) to deities" is irrelevant for – perhaps even hinders – 'moksha') best describes Buddhism.180 Proof

    That depends on the school of Buddhism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_deities

    See Tara worship, for example:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tara_(Buddhism)
    People worship her for the purpose of making spiritual progress.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    That depends on the school of Buddhismbaker
    No, baker, that statement doesn't make sense. Cultural "venerations" and "gods" in countries wherever Buddhism has taken root are not – could not be – central to Buddhist practice as taught by Buddha (or the early Theravādin). Such devas are neither "eternal" nor "karma-free" and, like all other living beings, "gods" are also working out their own salvations in Buddhist terms. Religious accretions of "gods" merely reflect, IMO, karmic attachments (re: samsāra) of local adherents.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creator_in_Buddhism
  • baker
    3.3k
    No, baker, that statement doesn't make sense. Cultural "venerations" and "gods" in countries wherever Buddhism has taken root are not – could not be – central to Buddhist practice as taught by Buddha.180 Proof

    I replied to your post saying

    I think nontheistic (i.e. "devotion (attachment) to deities" is irrelevant for – perhaps even hinders – 'moksha') best describes Buddhism.180 Proof

    Indeed, in some Buddhist schools/lineages, "devotion (attachment) to deities" is considered relevant for liberation.

    Such devas are neither "eternal" nor "karma-free" and, like all other living beings, "gods" are also working out their own salvations in Buddhist terms. Religious accretions of "gods" merely reflect, IMO, karmic attachments (re: samsāra) of local adherents.180 Proof

    Like I said:
    In Buddhism, a deva is not a permanent identity, it's a type of body that one can be born into if one has the merit.baker
    and a passage on Buddhist cosmology quoted in the post.


    As for whether deity worship is "central to Buddhist practice as taught by Buddha" -- ha ha, I dare you to take this up with a Vajrayani!
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    Indeed, in some Buddhist schools/lineages, "devotion (attachment) to deities" is considered relevant for liberation.baker
    Some indeed may think so, but that in no way means that what they believe is consistent with the early practices and the Pali canon. Fidelity to philosophical first principles are more substantive, or central to Buddhist practice, than parochial cultural variations of expression. Again, this link:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creator_in_Buddhism

    Maybe I'm too biased by my (Western, nonpracticing) affinity for secular Buddhism to take serious as integral to the Noble Eightfold Path (etc) the admixture of local superstitions that have accumulated over millennia.

    Also:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transtheism
  • baker
    3.3k
    Some indeed may think so, but that in no way means that what they believe is consistent with the early practices and the Pali canon. Fidelity to philosophical first principles are more substantive, or central to Buddhist practice, than parochial cultural variations of expression.
    /.../
    Maybe I'm too biased by my (Western, nonpracticing) affinity for secular Buddhism to take serious as integral to the Noble Eightfold Path (etc) the admixture of local superstitions that have accumulated over millennia.
    180 Proof

    I think it's more or also that you have not experienced sectarianism among Buddhists first hand.
    Witnessing this sectarian fierceness, the sheer wrath of it! That's a crossfire you don't want to find yourself in. And it can make you rethink everything you have believed thus far.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    I watched with glee
    While your kings and queens
    Fought for ten decades
    For the gods they made
    — Sympathy for the Devil

    You're right that I haven't. My point is not that the local religious accretions or sectarian schisms are not important to those involved; simply, rather, that they are, so to speak, merely dry leaves and thin branches scattered by fall & winter winds and dead tree trunks fallen by storms or forest fires, and, therefore, not the deep, wide roots of early Buddhism which persist through the seasons. Yeah, the "gods" are interesting to many but, as Buddha taught, they are not important to one's "salvation". (NB: Jains, Daoists, Confucians, Epicureans, Kynics, Pyrrhonians and even Stoics taught non/trans-theism as well.)

    Christianity is Platonism for the masses. — Beyond Good and Evil, preface
    And thereby nothing to do with what the Nazarene rabbi taught. The "revelations", like "enlightenments", come first to the very few, then "gods" & sects" come later like fetishes (blinders) to corral the blinkered many into divergent (narcissism of small differences) "tribes" & camps. "After all, it was you and me" ... :fire:
  • baker
    3.3k
    My point is not that the local religious accretions or sectarian schisms are not important to those involved; simply, rather, that they are, so to speak, merely dry leaves and thin branches scattered by fall & winter winds and dead tree trunks fallen by storms or forest fires, and, therefore, not the deep, wide roots of early Buddhism which persist through the seasons.180 Proof

    Two things:

    One, on the ground level, when one is actually involved in Buddhism and Buddhist life, esp. when one approaches Buddhism as an outsider who yet has to decide which Buddhist school to look into, it is virtually impossible to not get burnt by the intersectarian fights (and pulled into them, with the expectation to take sides). It can make for a deeply unsettling experience that takes a long time to recover from.

    Two, it's not always easy to tell what those "local religious accretions" are and what is probably the teaching of the Buddha. (The teachings on kamma and rebirth are often dismissed as such "local religious accretions" and "historical trappings".)

    Moreover, in order to establish some kind of functional relationship with Buddhists for the purpose of receiving instruction, those "local religious accretions" must sometimes be taken up, accepted, considered as relevant enough.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    Coming from outside any Buddhist tradition and not bothering with due diligence before "joining", then no doubt "initiation" can be a shitshow. Blind dates of every sort are like that though, so "getting burnt" is not peculiar to Buddhism. Forty years ago as a college freshman I'd read extensively on various schools of Buddhism (like a well-conditioned consumer) before I'd decided on practicing Zen. This lasted less than two years on and off before I'd realized Buddhism was not working for me and so moved on gradually adopting a hybrid-philosophical practice consisting of freethought, pragmatism & absurdism.

    :smirk:


    Re: māyā, anicca, anatta, moksha ...

    :death: :flower:
  • Nils Loc
    965
    Nirvana is probably a mundane state of equanimity, where the person has skillful control over their reaction to mental/physical content and can easily slip into flow states. Somehow this is accomplished by meditation in part along with balanced/healthy worldly engagement (Buddha tries many things). There is no final state of the unconditioned, unless we're talking about really being blown out (death/dreamless sleep).

    Or maybe Nirvana is the Buddha's secret trick by which we can become philosophical zombies. :scream: The enlightened ones are really just robots now.
  • Gregory
    3.9k
    It seems to me that without atman we would be transcendent
  • baker
    3.3k
    Coming from outside any Buddhist tradition and not bothering with due diligence before "joining", then no doubt "initiation" can be a shitshow.180 Proof

    Oh, you think I joined, got initiated? Nothing of that kind. I read up on things first, and since that alone was inconclusive for me, not enough to make a firm decision one way or another, I approached some religions/spiritualities a bit closer, such as by visiting their groups or discussing things with individual practitioners, and further reading and listening to lectures. I thought I would visit for a while, "see how it goes", familiarize myself enough to figure out what next. But it turned out that was wrong. A few kind enough people there actually told me that my having a "bookish" background significantly contributed to my problems. Nothing in the books prepared me for the culture shock I experienced there -- namely, that those religious/spiritual people were so ordinary, just like ordinary people. The psycho-social dynamics were like highschool all over again. I was bewildered by that -- why bother with all doctrine and all those practices, if the real aim is to be exactly like the people who don't have such doctrines and practices.

    In hindsight, my conclusion is that as far as religion/spirituality is concerned, if there is no "love at first sight" -- if after the first brief exposure I don't feel that this is the religion/spirituality/group/teacher I want to join for the rest of my life, then there's no point in pursuing it further. If that initial spark is not there, it's not going to happen later, no matter how much I try.
  • baker
    3.3k
    It seems to me that without atman we would be transcendentGregory

    Who would be transcendent?
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    In hindsight, my conclusion is that as far as religion/spirituality is concerned, if there is no "love at first sight" -- if after the first brief exposure I don't feel that this is the religion/spirituality/group/teacher I want to join for the rest of my life, then there's no point in pursuing it further. If that initial spark is not there, it's not going to happen later, no matter how much I try.baker
    My experience with Zen exactly. I agree. :100:
  • baker
    3.3k
    I think it is sad. With the scriptures talking so much about gradual training, then, in practice, I expect gradual training, not a need for "love at first sight and forever".

    Of course, the Buddhists also like to say that their teachings are only for those with "little dust in their eyes". I suppose I just have too much dust in my eyes, and they see me as too much of a liability to invest in me. I kind of can't hold that against them. But I'm still sad about it. I used to think that the Buddhists would teach me how to have faith, but I was wrong to expect that.
12345Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.