• khaled
    1.1k
    But if you say it’s the Truth that others can share the same experience, or it’s the Truth that others will have such experience if they follow such practice, then you’re not a relativistleo

    So... If I believe you will experience pain by stubbing your toe then I'm not a relativist

    You asked: “in order for someone to be a relativist he has to believe in some kind of objective reality?”.

    I said yes, a relativist believes that other beings exist besides himself, and that these beings have their own point of view, so if you agree with the earlier definition of objective reality then you should agree that a relativist believes in some kind of objective reality.

    And a relativist can believe that some other people do not believe in an objective reality, but then these other people wouldn’t be relativists they would be solipsists. The relativist himself does believe that these other people exist even when he doesn’t perceive them.

    A relativist believes things exist beyond himself, but he cannot claim to know that it is True otherwise he contradicts himself. He isn’t certain that there is an objective reality but he believes in one.
    leo

    Agree so far

    Now how does this transition to: If I believe there is a McDonald's around the corner I am not a relativist or If I believe one can experience pain by stubbing one's toes I am not a relativist

    You can say it, you can believe it, but you cannot say that it is True beyond yourselfleo

    Oh ok. Now what makes you think Buddhism isn't doing just that. The Buddha made no mention of objective/subjective, he simply explained how he reached Nirvana and based on the reasonable belief that others can reach it too (since they're also humans) told people how to do so.

    Buddhists pretend to know something that is True beyond themselvesleo

    Where did you get this? I think we need to flesh out the difference between "Know something is True beyond oneself" and "Believe something is True beyond oneself" (for example: I can believe that if you stub your toe you will experience pain but that doesn't disqualify me from being a relativist)
  • khaled
    1.1k
    you are to accept your 'fate' your 'lot' in lifeovdtogt

    Nowhere in any Buddhist scriptures (as far as I know) is this said
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Not explicitly. But effectively this is what happens when you refrain from following your desires.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    Buddhism isn't about not following your desires either. Monks eat don't they?
  • ovdtogt
    465
    They eat to survive. The desire to survive even the Buddhist can't do much about.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    The desire to survive even the Buddhist can't do much about.ovdtogt

    So in essence you're saying the best Buddhist is a dead one?

    You're talking about "pop" Buddhism which has very little resembling actual Buddhist beliefs. Look at Zen for an example. Zen monks aren't particularly "monkish", they have lives, they laugh, they have personality quirks, etc
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Exactly. Your Eternal Consciousness (soul) is important not your body.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    And all the Buddhists that are still alive are bad Buddhists? Interesting interpretation

    Isn't the kind of unnatural self denial you're talking about here just a different kind of desire though? I mean, when a Buddhist monk wants to go on a shopping spree say, doesn't it take some effort to stop himself? Isn't that effort driven by another desire? (The desire to be what he thinks a Buddha is supposed to be). In more abstract terms isn't denying a desire always driven by another desire? Food for thought.
  • ovdtogt
    465
    You must think in terms of human suffering. The 'desire' (in all religions) is to transcend human suffering (Being dead is the highest form of that). But the path (Tao) is whatever brings you closer to serenity (absence of suffering). Curbing your 'sensual' desires is a way to achieve this higher goal.
  • leo
    704
    So... If I believe you will experience pain by stubbing your toe then I'm not a relativistkhaled

    I didn’t say that, you may or you may not be. If you think it’s the Truth that I will experience pain by stubbing my toe then you’re not a relativist. If you think it’s possible that I will not experience pain by stubbing my toe, and if you think there is no Truth that applies to everything everywhere, then you’re a relativist.

    One can believe in something without claiming that it’s Truth, so simply believing something doesn’t make one a relativist or not a relativist in itself.

    Agree so far

    Now how does this transition to: If I believe there is a McDonald's around the corner I am not a relativist or If I believe one can experience pain by stubbing one's toes I am not a relativist
    khaled

    As above, simply believing doesn’t make you a relativist or not a relativist, you may be either. If you claim there is no Truth you’re a relativist, if you claim there are Truths you’re not a relativist.

    Oh ok. Now what makes you think Buddhism isn't doing just that. The Buddha made no mention of objective/subjective, he simply explained how he reached Nirvana and based on the reasonable belief that others can reach it too (since they're also humans) told people how to do so.khaled

    Well when they talk about the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path which are to be followed in order to reach Nirvana, it doesn’t seem like they consider these truths and this path to be relative, they’re not saying “maybe there are other ways to reach Nirvana”, and they’re not saying either “maybe for some people nirvana cannot be reached by following these truths and this path, maybe for some people it doesn’t exist”. So it seems to me they do speak of absolute Truths and not mere relative truths.

    I think we need to flesh out the difference between "Know something is True beyond oneself" and "Believe something is True beyond oneself"khaled

    I wouldn’t say there is a difference between the two, in both cases you believe there is a Truth, so in both cases you’re not a relativist. If you believe there is no Truth then you’re a relativist.

    A relativist would say, I believe other people exist beyond my experiences but I can’t claim it’s Truth, maybe they only exist in my mind, but I can believe it and say that it is true to me that they exist beyond me. Then he would say, if these people exist and have their own experiences, I can’t claim to know the Truth of what they experience, but I can believe that they experience such and such thing and that would be true to me, while other people could believe different things and these different things would be true to them. And then he would say, maybe some of these people know Truths, but I can’t claim to know that they are wrong because then I would know a Truth but I don’t believe in Truth, so even if it is true to them that there are Truths it is still true to me that there is no Truth, and it is true to me that neither them nor me is Right in an absolute sense, if they exist they have their truths and I have my truths, which again is my own truth and not Truth.

    Basically a relativist believes in personal truth but not in absolute Truth, so while he may have beliefs as to what other people experience or will experience, he knows that he may be mistaken, he would say maybe these other people don’t experience what I believe they experience, and maybe they don’t even exist beyond me, but I believe they do.

    And so I don’t see how a relativist could talk of Noble Truths and Noble Path to reach Nirvana, he wouldn’t give such a status to his personal truths, that’s why I don’t see Buddhism as relativist.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    Curbing your 'sensual' desires is a way to achieve this higher goal.ovdtogt

    Again, this is just another desire. You can't desire not to desire and expect that to work just like you can't worry about worrying to stop worrying
  • khaled
    1.1k
    they’re not saying “maybe there are other ways to reach Nirvana”leo

    They actually do that though. That's why there are different "schools" of buddhism

    “maybe for some people nirvana cannot be reached by following these truths and this path, maybe for some people it doesn’t exist”leo

    They also say that though. Well, they say "maybe this way or that would be better for you". They don't say "maybe for some people it doesn't exist" though because that'd be like saying "maybe some people don't experience pain" in the stubbing your toe example. Sure, but I'm not going to consider the possibility without any evidence
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Again, this is just another desire.khaled
    So there is no difference between the 'desire' to smoke and the 'desire' not to smoke?
    No difference between smoking and not smoking?
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Zen monks aren't particularly "monkish", they have lives, they laugh, they have personality quirks, etckhaled

    This would more fall under the 'pop' Buddhism you are referring to. This is Buddhism for people in the West who want to be happy without sacrificing their possessions.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    So there is no difference between the 'desire' to smoke and the 'desire' not to smoke?
    No difference between smoking and not smoking?
    ovdtogt

    I said another desire, not the same desire. Of course there is a difference but they're both still desires. So if your goal is not to desire anything you can't be like "I want to not desire anything". In the same way that worrying about worrying only makes you more worried and doesn't relieve your worry.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    This would more fall under the 'pop' Buddhism you are referring to. This is Buddhism for people in the West who want to be happy without sacrificing their possessions.ovdtogt

    No it wouldn't. "Pop" Buddhism is a version of Buddhism in the West that completely misses the point that is about sitting still and paying attention to your breath for long periods of time to hopefully be more "calm" or "self controlled" in the future. It misses the point because the point of Buddhism is to stop seeking things, but the people that do this kind of Buddhism are clearly seeking "self improvement". There have been countless quotes by Buddhists of all sorts dissing meditation and scholarly approaches to studying Buddhism (especially in Zen) because people use them as just another form of seeking or desiring. The simplest one I heard is

    "He who looks for the Dao -Chinese Niravna- loses it"
    -Just about everyone important in Eastern philosophy
  • ovdtogt
    465
    If your desire/wish is to reduce your desire (to be rich, famous....etc) and you are indeed successful, then you ultimately end up with less desire not the same. As you know light can cancel out light.
  • ovdtogt
    465
    It misses the point because the point of Buddhism is to stop seeking things,khaled

    You are confirming my point. You will not stop 'seeking things' if you do not 'desire' to stop that. You will merely continue with your 'desire' of 'things'. Buddhism shows that the 'desire' of 'things' lies at the root of suffering.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    If your desire/wish is to reduce your desire (to be rich, famous....etc) and you are indeed successfulovdtogt

    You won't be successful. In the same way that worrying about worrying won't be successful at relieving your worry

    You will not stop 'seeking things' if you do not 'desire' to stop thatovdtogt

    Yes you will. In the same way that you can stop worrying but you won't stop worrying if you worry about worrying. You won't stop desiring if you desire not to desire.
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Worrying about Worrying does not bring about change. Reducing your fesires does.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Khaled is right; wanting to reduce your desires is a desire.
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Once you truly realize the things you desire are causing your suffering you will lose your desire for these things.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    Once you truly realize the things you desire are causing your suffering you will lose your desire for these things.ovdtogt

    Exactly. Now where did the "wanting to reduce your desires" part come in. Where is the "deny yourself" as you phrased it. Seems to me like you're describing something spontaneous which is how reaching Nirvana is described in Zen (spontaneous and unplanned, if it is planned it's just another desire)

    Reducing your fesires does.ovdtogt

    Agreed. That's not what I said though. Desiring to reduce your desires does not bring about change either.
  • Brett
    1.1k


    Once you truly realize the things you desire are causing your suffering you will lose your desire for these things.ovdtogt

    Rephrase that. Once you understand what desire is you are at the beginning of losing your desire for things.
  • ovdtogt
    465
    Once you understand the correlation between desires and suffering, you will want to reduce your desires. Not all desires are lost that easily. Some will require quite a lot of willpower.
  • khaled
    1.1k
    want to reduce your desiresovdtogt

    This is the problem. That you desire to reduce your desires will guarantee you fail. Try it. You just end up desiring to keep up the self opression and eventually you either give up or find something else that relplaces the original desire.

    My point is, Buddhism isn't about "WANTING to reduce your desires" it is about reducing your desires and that is supposed to happen spontaneously. If you try to will it that will is simply guided by another desire
  • ovdtogt
    465
    This is the problem. That you desire to reduce your desires will guarantee you fail.khaled

    Desiring the alleviation from suffering is a necessary precursor to enlightenment.
    Once you (truly) realize, desire is the cause of (much of) your suffering, this knowledge will help you lose your desire for these things.
    Buddhism is realization. Buddhism is enlightenment.
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