• Baden
    6.5k
    This discussion was created with comments split from The Shoutbox
  • frank
    1.4k
    Christianity is a dead religion. It's a vestige of a world now gone. It's absurd stories and ridiculous requirements have been superseded by secular authority and science. Good riddance.
  • JaiGD
    7
    That's so 2008.

    I thought Big Jordan Peterson was bringing it back?
  • frank
    1.4k
    :grin: Does he do miracles?
  • JaiGD
    7
    Hell no.

    He just knows how to tap into people's insecurities.
  • frank
    1.4k
    Do bizarre fantasies really help insecure people? Or does it just make them more insecure and slave-like?

    I think we should do away with tax exemption for churches, though.
  • JaiGD
    7
    Probably both.. Fantasy has yin and yang components
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Christianity is a dead religion.frank
    This statement needs some unpacking. Christianity is dead in the sense that its symbols no longer resonate for Western man - that much is true. And Christianity has been "dying" in this sense ever since Nietzsche proclaimed that "God is dead, and we have killed him". Christianity has lost its authenticity in other words. The symbols used by the Christian religion no longer "make sense" to the way of being of the average Joe in the Western world. Christianity has lost its vitality.

    Christianity has become legalistic. The meaning behind the words is lost. All we have left are the words, and without the meaning, the words are, of course, empty and absurd. To revive Christianity we have to recover the meaning, we have to re-invent the meaning. We have to re-paint the white fence white again, since it has darkened with the passage of time.

    Although as a side note, Christianity is doing great in Latin America and China.

    It's absurd stories and ridiculous requirements have been superseded by secular authority and science.frank
    But it's not because the stories are absurd, or the requirements are ridiculous. They are absolutely not. It's because "secular man" does not have the openness required to understand them. The social environment is inimical to Christianity, and as such, Christianity cannot but be misunderstood by the masses. To talk of a hedonistic AND Christian age at one and the same time is indeed a contradiction in terms. They are two parallel worlds. The evils currently seen in the world are interpreted, by science and secular authority, as necessary. As the nature of existence. Hence the prevailing acceptance of a (misunderstood) nihilistic religion like Buddhism.
  • Noble Dust
    3.1k


    Woah there, Berdyaev. :razz:
  • 0 thru 9
    671
    The evils currently seen in the world are interpreted, by science and secular authority, as necessary. As the nature of existence. Hence the prevailing acceptance of a (misunderstood) nihilistic religion like Buddhism.Agustino

    Sorry... I realize this is the Shoutbox, but this statement might also need to be unpacked if you don’t mind. Are you perhaps saying that Buddhism is accepted only or mostly because it is misunderstood? If so, what does that mean? If not, what did you mean?

    And as I understand it, Buddhism is mostly (though not always) non-theistic. But that doesn’t necessarily make it “nihilistic”. And as you probably know, Buddhism can function as a religion, a philosophy, or both.

    I would agree with most of the rest of your post though. :up: Christianity (maybe just in the West) has lost vitality or at least something important (if difficult) to define. What the cause might be is up for debate. In my opinion and for whatever it may be worth, the long history of those in power using Christian beliefs as a pure white robe to parade around in is a large factor.
  • frank
    1.4k
    But it's not because the stories are absurd, .Agustino

    God became flesh. He had himself crucified in order to redeem his own creation. It's the ravings of a lunatic.
  • frank
    1.4k
    In my opinion and for whatever it may be worth, the long history of those in power using Christian beliefs as a pure white robe to parade around in is a large factor.0 thru 9

    You might be surprised to discover how long ago the Pope was first identified as Antichrist. And of of course To Mega Therion has always been lurking. :)
  • Hanover
    3.9k
    Christianity is alive and well.
  • frank
    1.4k
    A church is a museum.
  • Hanover
    3.9k
    Then how is it I can tell the difference between the two?
  • csalisbury
    1.4k
    God became flesh. He had himself crucified in order to redeem his own creation. It's the ravings of a lunatic.frank

    Ah no, its sublime. Especially if you throw in a twist of christ forgetting he is God, or doubting it. Its a beautiful myth. Not saying I believe it (tho I kinda do, just allegorically) but either way its pretty good.
  • frank
    1.4k
    So how does this propitiatory sacrifice work out beautifully for you?

    The suffering of christ did what exactly?
  • csalisbury
    1.4k
    I don't see it in terms of propitiation, otherwise it would be insane (propitiating oneself.)

    It's more like: If the universe were created intentionally, then any olive branch(or rainbow) from the force that created it, while remaining outside it, would be meaningless. Any communication from outside-the-world to people inside-the-world would be condescending at best. But, if that force were to voluntarily enter the world (and if he forgets he made that choice, or at least occasionally doubts that he really is God, and so has to live out his days like the rest of us, its even better) then there is some actual connection established. It's not propitiation, its solidarity.
  • frank
    1.4k
    Sounds like Nikos Kazantzakis.
  • csalisbury
    1.4k
    Never read him, but I did like Scorsese's Last Temptation. But - I don't know about the book - the movie focused primarily on the subjective experience of Christ, Christ-as-existential-hero. That's only one half.

    In any case, even without Kazantzakis, you have Christ throwing out psalms 22:1 on the cross.
  • frank
    1.4k
    Kazantzakis makes me want to stick a fork in my eye, although I also like the movie.

    To believe that the divine knows the depths of one's grief, not from watching it from on far, but from within is beautiful.

    It's a Tibetan Buddhist thing as well.
  • csalisbury
    1.4k
    It's a Tibetan Buddhist thing as well.frank
    yeah! I'm more inclined to approach these themes in eastern terms, or at least western mystical ones (I like gnosticism a lot) - I feel like the christ drama is like a satisfying 'pageant' or something dramatizing a less tangible thing.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I really love The Last Temptation of Christ -- I was reading Hegel at the time, and that in conjunction with Hegel was the closest thing I came to a conversion experience.

    It was dispelled the moment I asked myself, "But who believes this?"
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Are you perhaps saying that Buddhism is accepted only or mostly because it is misunderstood? If so, what does that mean? If not, what did you mean?0 thru 9
    I am saying that Buddhism is accepted as it is accepted mostly because it is misunderstood through the lens of our hedonistic/consumerist culture. Buddhism is a palliative against pain and suffering. But the issue lies with the way it is used. It's used in order to mask resolvable pains as unresolvable ones, in order to maintain a diseased state of the soul, in order to prevent the pain from waking one up to one's own conditioning. Buddhism is a way of avoiding the need to look at your own face and to actually do something that can bring about a resolution.

    For example, an alcoholic may resort to Buddhism and the tenet that life is suffering as a palliative for accepting his condition. He suffers because, oh well, suffering is unavoidable. It's the nature of life. There is no urgency to remedy his condition, nor is there anything morally wrong with his actions.

    It is nihilistic not because it is a-theistic, but rather because it leads one towards being irresponsible for one's own condition, AND, more importantly, for the condition of the world. And somewhat paradoxically, Buddhism also engenders this same self-concern which plagues the West today - because it turns the focus inward, on one's self, as it becomes of prime importance to pay attention to yourself, and only secondarily to others. If your son smokes and you don't like that, for example, it teaches you to accept it, because life is suffering, it is in the nature of life to have our desires disappointed. And thus, you don't do anything about it. These are all manifestations of nihilism.

    So while Buddhism is misunderstood in the West, it is also true that Buddhism is, amongst the religions, the most nihilistic and world-denying. That is why it can be misunderstood in the first place. It is for this reason that it can be used as it is being used.
  • Erik
    567
    For example, an alcoholic may resort to Buddhism and the tenet that life is suffering as a palliative for accepting his condition. He suffers because, oh well, suffering is unavoidable. It's the nature of life. There is no urgency to remedy his condition, nor is there anything morally wrong with his actions.Agustino

    You sure this isn't a misrepresentation of Buddhism? Going off memory, as well as an admittedly superficial acquaintance with the "religion", I recall it being distilled down to some fairly simple truths: acknowledge suffering, identify its cause, recognize that it can be minimized, and follow certain practices (Eight Fold Path) as a means of eliminating as much of it as humanly possible. That sounds like the exact opposite of your description.

    It's actually Christianity - at least in its Protestant forms - which rejects the individual's power to do anything about his or her situation, with salvation coming strictly through God's grace. This obviously holds true for the salvation of the whole as well: to assume that one could do something to improve the condition of the world without God being the cause would seem to be a case of hubris. Moreover, is there a story within Christianity similar to the Bodhisattva ideal in Mahayana Buddhism, where one refuses to enter the gates of Heaven until ALL beings are "saved"? If so then please point it out.

    Furthermore, perhaps the separation between self and others (or the world more generally) is less extreme within Buddhism and other Eastern religions than it is among us, and the Buddhism you're referring to is a hybrid of sorts containing much Western baggage (e.g. Cartesian dualism). If that's the case, and there's not such a strong contrast between self and others (seeing all beings as interconnected), then being concerned with the "self" does not preclude but rather demands concern for others. I honestly don't know.

    One thing I do know, however, is that Zen Buddhism at least is emphatically not life-denying. We could argue whether that's "really" Buddhism or a distortion of it, I guess, but I'll probably leave it to those more knowledgeable than myself to take it up with you.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    You sure this isn't a misrepresentation of Buddhism?Erik
    I am discussing Western Buddhism for the most part. I did claim it is a misrepresentation of actual Buddhism:

    Hence the prevailing acceptance of a (misunderstood) nihilistic religion like Buddhism.Agustino
    I am saying that Buddhism is accepted as it is accepted mostly because it is misunderstood through the lens of our hedonistic/consumerist culture.Agustino

    acknowledge suffering, identify its cause, recognize that it can be minimized, and follow certain practices (Eight Fold Path) as a means of eliminating as much of it as humanly possible.Erik
    Put that way, but very often it is phrased as "life is suffering, desire is the cause of suffering, suffering can be extinguished, the way to extinguish it is the Noble Eightfold Path".

    with salvation coming strictly through God's grace. This obviously holds true for the salvation of the whole as well: to assume that one could do something to improve the condition of the world without God being the cause would seem to be a case of hubris.Erik
    But for Christianity, everything is sustained into being by God. You do have free will (that is of the essence of Christianity), so what you do does matter. But since you only exist because of God, it is, ultimately, not just your doing, but also God's. So whatsoever one does is, at the very least, permitted by God (who sustains everyone into being).

    Also, salvation in Christianity is freely given. It just has to be accepted. Though salvation IS NOT the same as deification (theosis) which is the ultimate aim of Christianity.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    However, it is true that even Asian Buddhism tends towards nihilism. Attachments are seen as the cause of suffering in Buddhism - you are not to be attached. So how is it possible to love and care for your children, for example, without any form of attachment? Your children become, just like Buddha's children became for him, a stumbling block. So he left his palace and his children and his wife to find enlightenment alone in the forest. And that is applauded in the story. His loved ones represented nothing more than obstacles in his way. How can this not be selfish? It seems to me that Buddhism is, in its essence, built around this personal aversion to suffering, that sets one on a mission to end suffering for themselves, for their own sake.

    How is loyalty at all possible without attachment? How is human society, and all the many social benefits we extract by living in communities at all possible? Our communities are built around attachments. Attachments to your home, attachments to your family, attachments to your children, attachments to your work, etc. We can only be successful in an endeavour which requires collaboration (building a business, building a family, building an organisation, etc. etc.) so long as we remain loyal to each other onto the very end. But this doctrine of non-attachment precludes this lived dependence between people that is necessary in order to have a society.

    And then the whole doctrine of anatta (no-self) leads to a detached view of suffering. People are suffering because they are ignorant, therefore it is like a nightmare, ultimately, it's nothing to care about. The Bodhisattva may choose to stay behind until all creatures are saved, however, there is this disconnect and detachment that exists between the Bodhisattva and the rest. The Christian saint falls on his knees and cries at the suffering of the world - the Buddhist sage, on the other hand, sits unmoved, like a rock. There are no tears in his eyes - indeed, if there were to be any tears, he would not have escaped suffering yet. This aversion to suffering is taken to such extremes that one prefers not being human anymore, just to avoid suffering. One prefers castrating one's self, just to get rid of suffering.

    Tell me how this doesn't portray a nihilistic tendency that can be exploited and has been exploited in Buddhism. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be corrected on this, but everything that I've read on Buddhism points back to the same thing - a concern with one's OWN salvation, and a distaste of anything that brings about suffering to one's self.
  • 0 thru 9
    671
    :pray:
    Thanks for your reply. I’m just a seeker, but don’t know for sure if any book or lecture would describe Buddhism like it was in your post. But everyone can have their opinions. @Erik responded quite well with the questions that I have. Not sure how the doctrine of not having a permanent self (anatta) could directly foster selfishness. It seems exactly the opposite to me. Buddhism can help one begin to discard the two-sided coin of shame and pride, which comes from being locked in one’s identity and ego. It is in perfect accord with the Daoism, with which it combined to form the Cha’an tradition in China.

    (edit- just saw your reply to Erik). I will say that whatever one has and brings to Buddhism (or other beliefs) is mostly what one will experience. We carry the thoughts and habit baggage until they are put down. If one is content with their current beliefs and practices, that is sincerely a wonderful thing. If is not broken, no need to fix it. Wisdom, compassion, mindfulness, equanimity, clear seeing, and the detoxification of mind-poisons are all qualities emphasized and developed by various Buddhist practices. That seems to be an urgently helpful thing much needed by many, definitely myself included. And beliefs are needed as long as they are useful, like using a boat to cross a lake.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Hi 0 thru 9, I appreciate your response. However, I don't see sufficient effort to answer the points I've brought up. For example:

    Attachments are seen as the cause of suffering in Buddhism - you are not to be attached. So how is it possible to love and care for your children, for example, without any form of attachment? Your children become, just like Buddha's children became for him, a stumbling block. So he left his palace and his children and his wife to find enlightenment alone in the forest. And that is applauded in the story. His loved ones represented nothing more than obstacles in his way. How can this not be selfish? It seems to me that Buddhism is, in its essence, built around this personal aversion to suffering, that sets one on a mission to end suffering for themselves, for their own sake.Agustino
    I've made a point here that you do not address. I am not looking to convince you, or to be convinced by you, but since this is a philosophy forum, I think it's appropriate to engage in dialogue and try our best to resolve problems and misunderstandings. Disengaging from dialogue isn't very productive in achieving this aim.

    I have nothing against Buddhism, please keep in mind that I studied Buddhism for quite a few years, first beginning quite early at the age of 12, indirectly through Osho. Then I've read through some of the Sutras, some introductory books, watched lots of YouTube lectures, etc. It's not like I reject it out of hand. But I simply don't see how you can conceptualise social relationships, for example, under Buddhism. Yes, mindfulness, compassion, wisdom, clear sight and everything you mention are much needed. But I'm sure you'll agree that Buddhism gives a certain spin to those practices.
  • Maw
    966
    I was obsessed with The Last Temptation of Christ back in my sophomore year of college. Don't think I've seen it since then though.
  • 0 thru 9
    671
    Hi 0 thru 9, I appreciate your response. However, I don't see sufficient effort to answer the points I've brought up.Agustino

    Thanks for your thanks. Usually I tend to ramble on, so this may be the first time I’ve been asked for more. First of all, a little personal background, so any comments can be put in context. (Sorry if it is distracting or not to the point.) Having been raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools, that is in my blood probably irrevocably. I don’t attend Mass, but have not forsaken Christianity. The Christian mystics and Gospels remain an influence and inspiration.

    Perhaps I am like an eclectic packrat, with a patchwork of beliefs, ideas, theories, practices, rituals, and odds and ends. I came to Buddhism through the Tao Te Ching, which I consider perhaps the most helpful bundle of words that I’ve yet encountered. I am not an expert, scholar, or even official member of anything really. That is probably obvious, but just wanted to be clear. I am only speaking of my experiences, ideas, and opinions. Many factors were motivations in my search. My mind seeming like a wild and uncontrollable horse sometimes was the main reason to search for help at the time. The horse might be tamer now, but loves to try to escape.

    As you said, you are quite familiar with the Buddhist tenets and sutras, and I had assumed as much from what you have mentioned in the past. So what more I could add beyond that is unknown to me. I will respond to your comment in detail, though.

    Attachments are seen as the cause of suffering in Buddhism - you are not to be attached.Agustino

    Not in my opinion. Buddhism (and other Eastern traditions) have had almost the directly opposite effect on me. All is intertwined, all is connected. The universe is poetically said to be a net with countless jewels attached, each infinitely reflecting the light and image of the others. Anatta means (to me at least) no SEPARATE self. Not absolutely and completely separate. Relatively independent, but somehow linked with other things, beings, and energies. I think a forest analogy is helpful. The trees are clearly separate in one way. But look up and the branches of different trees intermingle with each other. Under the soil is probably an even more intricate web of roots, dirt, water, and insects. Is it one thing or many? Is light a wave or a particle. And who is it that is asking this question?

    So how is it possible to love and care for your children, for example, without any form of attachment? Your children become, just like Buddha's children became for him, a stumbling block. So he left his palace and his children and his wife to find enlightenment alone in the forest. And that is applauded in the story. His loved ones represented nothing more than obstacles in his way. How can this not be selfish?Agustino

    Well, you have heard the tale and “origin story”. From my memory, Siddhartha (not yet the Buddha) did leave his wife and children. He wandered around and then trained with some extreme ascetics, almost starving himself to death. After which, he sought some way less life-denying. The so-called Middle Way. Later, his wife also forsook comfortable riches and became a nun and followed the path he had discovered. Sounds like a happy ending, I guess. I don’t think that there are any claims that he was completely without mistakes. It seems that he learned from any mistakes as well as humanly possible. That doesn’t seem like selfishness to me. YMMV.

    It seems to me that Buddhism is, in its essence, built around this personal aversion to suffering, that sets one on a mission to end suffering for themselves, for their own sake.Agustino
    I honestly don’t know how one could come to this conclusion after studying the words and life of the Buddha, as well as what later traditions added. Such as the concept of the Bohdisattva, as @Erik mentioned above. Aversion is one of the “Three Poisons”, along with greed and hatred. And is therefore discouraged. So trying to reduce suffering, and coming up with an accurate psychological description of its causes and possible cures is a good thing, no? But Buddhism seems to not be seeking members or converts or even believers. And it is not entirely different from a skeptical and pragmatic Stoicism, IMHO. If one accepts the basics of Stoicism and Taoism, perhaps that is traveling towards Buddha territory. (Or perhaps not).

    Hope this has been at least a little helpful. Since “more words count less” as said in the TTC, and I can’t think of more to say now... Please excuse the worn cliché, but what can one do except simply hold up a flower. :flower:
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Thanks for the replies. With regards to our discussions, I have a bit more time today, so I will use it to clarify my position. So that you don't claim that I'm strawmanning, I will use the exact statements, in the exact contexts, used by people who identify as Buddhists.

    @Baden, if you think it appropriate, feel free to move this to its own thread.

    https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/13731/relationships-what-is-love

    Question:
    As to Buddhism all sorts of love is "Attachment". And the is no such thing called a person.

    Top Answer:
    There 3 things interplay here:

    Kama Raga - attachment to sensual objects or objects arousing lust
    Chanda Raga - attachments to people (lovers, loved one's, family, friends)
    Suba Sanna - perception of beauty in the shape of the body
    So when you see a person the following can happen:

    Pleasure, displeasure, neutral sensation on how you perceive the person based on
    Previous interaction and perception formed as friend or not or a person who matters or not or good person or bad person or likable or not
    Perception of looks of the person
    Relative to one's looks
    As an object of desire
    So when you see a person of the opposite sex the 1st time, what you get is Kama Raga and Suba Sanna. This is in seeking of pleasure born of such interactions.

    Though Kama Raga heavily influences Chanda Raga, the main thing is that the person is influential in you life / perceived world. As the "puppet master" of the perceived world you get pleasure from the "puppets" in the show when they seem to go according to your expectations.

    Chanda Raga is what might keep a relationship going even when Kama Raga subsides with time and into old age when Suba Sanna wanes off.

    Though in seeking pleasure we get the above 3, in fact these give diverse sensations: pleasure, displeasure, neutral due to impermanent nature and non self nature of existance. All the experience you can derive from it is Dukkha (pain - Dukkha Dukkha, pleasure - Viparinama Dukkha, neutral - Sankhara Dukkha). So to understand the 4 Noble Truths contemplate on the arising and passing of sensations.

    https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/26482/if-the-self-is-an-illusion-all-my-relationships-are-illusion-too

    Question:
    If the self is an illusion - of little importance - where does that leave my relationships?

    All the people I know, have a relationship with this 'fake self' of mine -- so the relationships are groundless? an illusion also?

    Top Answer:
    You are asking something like "If superman is fictional, what happens to his relationship with Lois Lane?".

    In ultimate reality, relationships don't exit. It's just craving/clinging arising in the mind for seeing, hearing, smelling, touching etc.

    https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/21366/how-do-you-have-a-relationship

    Question:
    Buddhism has made me realise that everything is impermanent and undergoing the process of destruction including intimate relationships however if I know this then why is it still so painful when it happens? And what is the point of trying to build a life together with another person when it's inevitably going to end? Sometimes it all feels like such a cruel joke. I was in a relationship for 15 years and never thought it would end but it did and 6 months later I still feel so sad. I don't want to ever get involved intimately with another person ever again because I don't ever want to go through that pain again. Yes this may be aversion to pain but why put yourself through that if you can avoid it? Sure there will be more pain from other things but the pain of separation from a loved one feels worse than a death. It actually feels like I could die.

    Top Answer:
    Nyom Arturia,

    Ajahn Chah once explained well how to have a relation, here in a simile of a glass:

    The Broken Glass

    You may say, "Don't break my glass!" But you can't prevent something breakable from breaking. If it doesn't break now, it'll break later on. If you don't break it, someone else will. If someone else doesn't break it, one of the chickens will! The Buddha says to accept this. He penetrated all the way to seeing that this glass is already broken. This glass that isn't broken, he has us know as already broken. Whenever you pick up the glass, put water in it, drink from it, and put it down, he tells you to see that it's already broken. Understand? The Buddha's understanding was like this. He saw the broken glass in the unbroken one. Whenever its conditions run out, it'll break. Develop this attitude. Use the glass; look after it. Then one day it slips out of your hand: "Smash!" No problem. Why no problem? Because you saw it as broken before it broke. See?

    But usually people say, "I've taken such good care of this glass. Don't ever let it break." Later on the dog breaks it, and you hate the dog. If your child breaks it, you hate him, too. You hate whoever breaks it — because you've dammed yourself up so that the water can't flow. You've made a dam without a spillway. The only thing the dam can do is burst, right? When you make a dam, you have to make a spillway, too. When the water rises up to a certain level, it can flow off safely to the side. When it's full to the brim, it can flow out the spillway. You need to have a spillway like this. Seeing inconstancy is the Buddha's spillway. When you see things this way, you can be at peace. That's the practice of the Dhamma.

    That's the case how to possible think if having or losing a relation.

    The other case is the sub-question:

    And what is the point of trying to build a life together with another person when it's inevitably going to end? Sometimes it all feels like such a cruel joke.

    Realization that becoming is actually a "curel joke" is a very high realization and if seen in all compound things the reason for earnest seeking a path out, blessed if having come to the Buddhas good teachings. This is meeting up with the reality of Dukkha.

    So in regard of search, what will be for a long time benefit? That search it self is bound to much suffering as well, is clear, but if not having a search is needed and there are three kinds:

    Iti 54

    This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these three searches. Which three? The search for sensuality, the search for becoming, the search for a holy life. These are the three searches."

    Centered,

    mindful,

    alert,

    the Awakened One's

    disciple

    discerns searches,

    how searches come into play,

    where they cease,

    & the path to their ending.

    With the ending of searches, a monk

    free of want

    is totally unbound.

    Search for a partner is nothing but about searching after sensuallity, maybe becoming, isn't it? Of course after a career even more... so just give it a deeper thought and maybe use you luck of independency you currently have for a more holly life to be.

    At the End it's maybe worthy to say, that also searching for a relation to be able to live the holly life is actually nessesary, so admirable friend(s) are always worthy to seach for and also to invest much in such a relationship, even of course it will outardly break, but once being part of the other kind, no and never alone and without support till standing firm alone.

    https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/19351/why-buddha-was-not-worried-about-his-family-after-enlightenment/19481

    Question:
    Of course, after getting enlightened, One is free from worry: now the person is in higher dimension and is always happy, as he knows how perfect everything is.

    But still Buddha's family was there; I mean, wasn't his family his responsibility?

    I remember when the Buddha came back to the palace and met his wife: she asked, "just tell me, if it was possible to get enlightenment in the palace."

    How necessary is it to leave our families to practice, and if it is not necessary why didn't Buddha just come back? I always feel sad when I think about Siddhārtha Gautama's wife Yashodhara.

    If one is enlightened, he can not hurt anyone feelings: but Buddha hurt Yashodhara's feelings?

    I know I am incorrect somewhere, because after all He was enlightened, so he can not take wrong decision.

    Top Answer:
    What's your point? There is NO SUCH THING as right decision and wrong decision. It purely depends on the context of the situation. If Gautama wants the answer he is seeking, then he has to leave the family. Period. It is NOT WRONG. He did it because he was yearning for it. It cannot happen to you or me, because we don't have the guts to sacrifice and drop everything that doesn't matter and go towards our goal. If Gautama wanted to rule the world or a kingdom, he would have taken different actions. Actions are according to the goal and the situation. Don't think in terms of marriage/divorce law or morality here.

    I also want to add finally that, to go for Nirvana is definitely a selfish matter. If I want to find out what it is, it is because it is MY DESIRE to find out. Without Desire, you cannot live, breathe, feel or do anything. It is a desire to find out about life that Gautama went forth with. And whether you like it or not, it is selfish. And why not be selfish about this? Yes you will hurt some feelings, but like I said, you cannot have everything, you have to sacrifice.

    And keep in mind, this stack exchange has a greater number of Eastern Buddhists than many other English speaking online places. And these answers make it clear how utterly nihilistic and devaluing Buddhism is of the world and its possibilities. Compare this, on the other hand with Christianity. Christianity, where God Himself comes into the world to live amongst human beings out of Love. Where He, being the King of Kings allows Himself to be mocked and humiliated, and ultimately killed in the name of Love. Behold One who was not afraid of suffering - who did not want to "escape" suffering, but rather plunged straight into the jaws of suffering. Jesus, apart from being God, was a real man. There is something mawkish and unmanly about the retreat from the world in order to avoid suffering. It is true that attachment is suffering (or rather has the potential for suffering in it) - but that's no reason to avoid it.

    Only weak natures, who cannot bear the pressure of pain and suffering will give up on themselves. A strong nature, even if reality were different than its desire, would never renounce the said desire. That is the ultimate statement of its strength, will, and determination in front of the world. The fact that it chooses to stick with its nature, rather than surrender to external circumstances. As such, the faith proposed by Christianity is the ultimate rebellion, the ultimate scandal, man's determination that he will stick with himself, rather than with the world. Christianity does not devalue this world by postulating a Heaven when "All tears will be wiped away", but rather lifts up the world, makes it divine. What greater source of strength can be imagined, than this infinite faith, which burns up anything that stands against it, and remains true to one's nature and desires?

    It is only in relationship with the transcendent that the joy of immanence is possible.

    Blaise Pascal:
    "Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him. but even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows none of this."
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