DreamBliss

Could someone explain the Buddhist belief system to me?

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The problem is that the term emptiness does not translate well from the original language. It should be changed in a more precise way as opposed to regurgitating it ad infinitum. Why not elaborate and explain as opposed to cut/paste.

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What we are talking about is beyond cause and effect. There are no factors for its arising, it is already here.

Beyond cause and effect is ineffability... not even the sages have words for whats beyond cause and effect, so you cannot talk about that. Well, you can, but it will be of no use.

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No one can force feed you your own truth, if they tried doing so would be at least a half lie

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When we hear a guru make the statement, "Mind does not exist; mind does not not exist; but it is at the same time existent and nonexistent, and this is the middle view," we may say, "Fine, I can accept that," but that is not enough. It is an idea that may appeal to us, a concept with which we are comfortable, but that kind of understanding lacks any real spirit or depth. It is like a patch you put on your clothes to hide a hole. One day the patch will fall off. Intellectual knowledge is rather patchy in that way. It will suffice for the present, but it is not ultimately beneficial.

 

This is not to say that intellectual knowledge is unimportant. It is crucial because it is that which gives us the ability to begin to develop personal experience of what is being discussed. However, mere understanding on a superficial or intellectual level should not be mistaken for the direct experience. We can only arrive at that through meditation and the continued analysis of our own experience. The value of intellectual knowledge is that it is a springboard to deeper, more intuitive experience.

 

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To say you need the correct conceptual understanding of emptiness to realise emptiness is like saying you need the correct conceptual understanding of oranges to know what eating an orange is like.

 

All this Buddhist stuff is just maps, don't you see? the map is never the territory, they are completely different realms. Maps can help you get by, help you get to where you want to, but having a first class map of Paris and reading a thousand of the finest books about it is still not going to compare to the experience of going there and living there, getting a feel for the place.

 

I agree. The Buddhist maps are outdated and the territory has changed in 2500 years.

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I agree. The Buddhist maps are outdated and the territory has changed in 2500 years.

 

Updated maps are available but most people are more comfortable with their beliefs rather than with reality.

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I personally believe that any spiritual system, if earnestly practiced, will reveal its truth.

 

However, these systems are by their nature subtle and difficult to get. Even the founders acknowledge that. The founding myth of Buddhism tells us the Buddha didn't want to teach because he didn't think anyone would get it. Should it be any surprise then that most people simply don't get it? Or if you look at the traditional criteria for Advaita Vedanta, you already needed to have the ability to restrain the mind and be fed up with the world. Just qualifying would make you a pretty advanced yogi.

 

In my mind, there is a big difference between saying the system doesn't work for me and the system doesn't work. Of course we all think our way, our opinion, our view is the best. That is exactly the core issue these systems are designed to deal with.

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To say you need the correct conceptual understanding of emptiness to realise emptiness is like saying you need the correct conceptual understanding of oranges to know what eating an orange is like.

 

All this Buddhist stuff is just maps, don't you see? the map is never the territory, they are completely different realms. Maps can help you get by, help you get to where you want to, but having a first class map of Paris and reading a thousand of the finest books about it is still not going to compare to the experience of going there and living there, getting a feel for the place.

 

A person relies on inference, in this case hearing, reflecting, and meditating on the Buddha's teachings, until the moment that insight of 2-fold emptiness on the path of seeing dawns. The assertion that the Buddha didn't want his followers to conceptually understand the factors for its arising is absurd and a form of nihilism by way of denying conditioned arising (i.e. cause and effect).

 

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.117.than.html#s1

 

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.

 

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

 

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions [of becoming]; there is right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

 

"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

 

"And what is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, the path factor of right view[1] in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

 

"One makes an effort for the abandoning of wrong view & for entering into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness.[2] Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view."

 

But you didn't have the "correct conceptual understanding" of emptiness, all you had was a general concept, right? all those concepts are are sign posts pointing you in a general direction.

 

The ironic thing about this is that emptiness will only be realised with any sort of stability when the mind realises, or submits, or gives up trying to fit emptiness into concepts. That is the whole point, it is the one thing the mind cant dominate or control or put in a nice neat box.

 

Buddha's teachings in the Prajnapramita Sutras and Nagurjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika were really targeting the naive realism (Buddhist definition) of ordinary people, but it can be extended to people trained in Buddhist and non-Buddhist tenet systems. The habit of imputing and grasping to identity, in persons and phenomena, is regarded as instinctive and occurs in the absence of the arising of conceptual thoughts (such as in shamatha, deep sleep, etc.) as explained here:

 

http://fpmt.org/mandala/archives/mandala-for-2013/october/the-easy-path/

 

“Object of negation” refers to the way you experience the self: as though it exists from its own side, without depending on the mind and body, the five psychophyscial aggregates. It is, in other words, an instinctive sense that the self exists from its own side. Such a self does not exist at all.

 

"Lama Tsongkhapa explains in his Concise Instructions how this “self” that is the object of negation arises and appears experientially. It is not something that arises due to analysis. It spontaneously appears as though it exists from its own side, without having to depend on its basis of imputation – the five aggregates. Lama Tsongkhapa says that experientially, this self appears solidly. He uses the analogy of walking in pitch darkness, reaching out your hand, and suddenly touching a pillar. At such a moment, the pillar appears very solid to you. The pillar doesn’t seem at all to depend on anything – on having been constructed, on its parts, or on the label “pillar.” The experience of the self that is the object of negation is similar. Lama Tsongkhapa also says that that self appears like a lingering thought, always there in the back of your mind. This is likened to how when you touch a pillar in the dark, the pillar seems to you to have always been in that spot, primordially present. And, he says that that self also appears vividly to you. Again this can be likened to the experience of suddenly coming upon a pillar in the dark and how that pillar appears to your mind....Shar Kalden Gyatso, a mahasiddha of the Gelug tradition sometimes called “a second Milarepa” due to his accomplishment of siddhis, describes in detail how the object of negation appears. He begins with an analogy, like Lama Tsongkhapa’s, of reaching out in the pitch darkness and touching a table. When you lay your hand on the table, you instinctually think and feel that the table exists from its own side and always has. It seems like you’re touching something that’s always been there, primordially. Although the existence of the table depends on many factors such as its component parts and your own imputation of “table” once you laid your hand on it, it ordinarily would never occur to you when you touch a table in the dark that it doesn’t exist from its own side. You never think at such a moment that it only arises in dependence on many factors including its component parts and your own labeling! You instinctively think that it existed prior to your touching it, that it exists from its own side, and that it doesn’t depend on its parts or your labeling. This is how you experience the object of negation. You instinctively think that the self existed in your mental and physical aggregates prior to your labeling it. You think it exists from its own side, and it doesn’t occur to you that it’s merely labeled by yourself."

...

 

One of the main bodhisattva vows, involves meditating on the Buddha's teachings of emptiness, in order to awaken for the benefit of all beings, which stems from an acknowledgement of this instinctive habit. Ratnakarashanti, one of the 84 mahasiddhas, said: A lack of faith is the chief of enemies; an excess of faith is an occasion for great delay. That is because the omniscience [of a Buddha] is understood through correct cognition (pramana); through devotion, omniscience will not come about. It's because of this reason that Mahayana practitioners go for refuge in the 3 Jewels, generate bodhicitta, gather the two accumulations of merit and wisdom, and dedicate the merit.

Edited by Simple_Jack
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When we hear a guru make the statement, "Mind does not exist; mind does not not exist; but it is at the same time existent and nonexistent, and this is the middle view," we may say, "Fine, I can accept that," but that is not enough. It is an idea that may appeal to us, a concept with which we are comfortable, but that kind of understanding lacks any real spirit or depth. It is like a patch you put on your clothes to hide a hole. One day the patch will fall off. Intellectual knowledge is rather patchy in that way. It will suffice for the present, but it is not ultimately beneficial.

 

This is not to say that intellectual knowledge is unimportant. It is crucial because it is that which gives us the ability to begin to develop personal experience of what is being discussed. However, mere understanding on a superficial or intellectual level should not be mistaken for the direct experience. We can only arrive at that through meditation and the continued analysis of our own experience. The value of intellectual knowledge is that it is a springboard to deeper, more intuitive experience.

 

Since you quoted Kalu Rinpoche (http://www.iol.ie/~taeger/mahamud/mahamud.html) on Mahamudra: I think it's appropriate to mention that the Gelugpas consider a precise conceptual understanding of 2-fold emptiness as very important to its realization (since they consider the view of sutra and tantra as the same, but differing only in method). That's because emptiness can be apprehended as the object of a mental consciousness, due to emptiness existing conventionally as the characteristic of an object, because it's a mere label of mind, even though emptiness is an object's ultimate nature; it can be ascertained via logic and analysis according to how Tsongkhapa delineates conventional and ultimate levels of truth. Lama Zopa explains that shamatha is not enough to uproot delusion:

 

http://fpmt.org/tag/lam-rim/page/2/

 

"...Not just shiné alone, because we have achieved shiné numberless times in the past, but due to our lack of renunciation, bodhichitta and emptiness, we are still in samsara. Shiné without lam-rim is what the Hindus achieve. We have achieved this numberless times and been born in the form and formless realms numberless times, but because of not having renunciation of “the tip of samsara,” [i.e. samadhi of neither perception nor non-perception] the last one, when that karma finished, we were again reborn in the lower realms, desire realms and so forth. This is the reality. Therefore we need to actualize shiné on the basis of lam-rim and doing so will make it easier to gain sutra and tantra realizations, because once shiné is achieved it is very easy to achieve all the other realizations."

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http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=204910#p204910:

 

It's very simple:

"Where this exists, that exists. With the arising of that, this arises...."

Since we cannot in the end find anything but appearances that are found on examination to be empty, all we are left with is appearances that arise in dependence upon other appearances...

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=204926#p204926:

 

It is axiomatic in Buddhadharma that there are no first causes. The very notion of pratītyasamutpada forbids the notion of any first cause, or creator, etc.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=204984#p204984:

 

I already explained this: the basis of imputation is an appearance. Some trends on Madhyamaka then assert that appearances are mind. Since appearances/mind are not findable on analysis, they/it are equated with illusion. Illusions lack any inherent nature because they are dependent originations. Dependent originations are free from extremes and, in the final analysis, inexpressible. None of this is circular in anyway.

You ask, what dependently arises -- we can say all kinds of things, but in the end, it boils down to appearance. What are appearances? Dependent arisings. What dependently arises? Appearances. This is not a circularity, it is an equation appearances = dependent origination.

If you want to be more specific you can say what appearance? A rope or a car, for example. Upon what is a rope designated? It's parts. Upon what are the parts designated? Their parts, if they have any. If they do not have further parts, then they are designated upon moments, etc., until one runs out of bases of imputation. At that point, you have [intellectually] discovered emptiness, i.e., the absence of a ultimate or final basis of designation. At each stage of the analysis the previous basis of imputation no longer appears since it is has been deconstructed. As Shantideva points out:

When an existent or a nonexistent
does not exist in the presence of the mind,
at that time since there is no other aspect
[concepts] are fully pacified as there is no objective support [dmigs pa, ālambana].

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=205001#p205001

 

...The arising of appearances needs to explained in some way, hence MMK 1.1

At no time, nowhere
do things arise from self,
from other,
or without a cause.

Madhyamaka serves to pacify proliferation through demonstrating dependent origination. This is the mangalaṃ of MMK states that dependent origination, unceasing, non-arising, etc., is the pacification of proliferation.

From your given appearance, one might explain appearances arise causelessly [Carvaka], or from themselves [saṃkhya], from other [Vaiṣeśika], etc.

Nāgārjuna's project is twofold: one, to show that accounts of apparent phenomena other than dependent origination are unintelligible. Two, to show that dependently originated phenomena are empty.

He does this because of the subject/predicate [dharmin/dharmatā] problem in discussing phenomena in terms of essences. The dharmin in this case is appearances which are dependently arisings. When their predicate is sought, their dharmatā, it is found to be emptiness.

Since phenomena are found to be essenceless, they are likened to appearances that everyone accepts are unreal, i.e. illusions, apparitions, space and so on.

The Madhyamaka project is to show that as long as one insists that there is an ultimate basis of imputation beyond mere appearances, for that long one will be locked into conceptuality. Since in the final analysis, one can find no basis of imputation at all, and since the object under analysis ceases to appear as either an existent or in this case as a non-existent (since a non-existent cannot be predicated without an existent), one ceases to conceive of things as existents or nonexistents. That is the desiderata.

In the end it is very simple, this appearance, for example a sprout, depends on the appearance of that appearance, for example a seed; without the seed there is no sprout. This appearance, butter, depends on that appearance, milk., etc.

Dependent origination serves to explain causal processes without invoking essences. Dependent origination is something one can witness with one's own eyes, so in that sense it is not imputation, it is how things exist. In other words, at no time has anyone ever witnessed the arising of something that did not depend on a cause.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=205586#p205586:

 

It is worthwhile here to repost the master's own words from his own magnum opus, Prasannapāda:

Therefore, that being the case, here when the Bhagavan [the Buddha] clarified the production of things depending on cause and condition, he refuted the production of things causelessly, from a single cause, a dissimilar cause, or generated by self and other. Since those were refuted, the intrinsic nature of relative things was taught according to how they exist relatively.

Please compare this with what I stated above:

Conventionally or relatively speaking, Candra[kirti] eliminates arising without a cause, from single causes, dissimilar causes or from self or other, leaving only arising from conditions as the only valid option.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=205588#p205588:

 

It's pretty clear from Candra's language that there should be an object to be seen correctly or falsely. This means there must be an appearance about which one is either mistaken or unmistaken. When one unmistakenly sees the apparent objects which serves as the basis for imputation (hearkening back to your original qualm), depending on which strand of Tibetan Madhyamaka one is following:

a) the objects themselves do not actually arise in truth and are considered to be no more than illusions, and so on
B) the objects themselves arise from causes and conditions conventionally (i.e. not causelessly, from single causes, from self, other, or dissimilar causes). What objects do not do is arise inherently.
[<--- Gelug POV]

Candra presupposes a Sautrantika epistemology where sense consciousnesses only arise when sense objects are encountered by contact with sense organs. For Candra, a sense consciousness will never arise in absence of a sense object or a sense organ, and this is clearly stated in the Madhyamakāvatara. Thus, the question of what the delusion actually is remains a matter of debate amongst Mādhyamika proponents...

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=206086#p206086

 

...if we allow production from dissimilar causes we will have NO BASIS FOR REFUTING CREATION BY GOD. In that case, one will undermine the entire basis of Buddhadharma.

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=206300#p206300

 

If you suggest that there can be production from dissimilar causes, a claim explicitly rejected in all Madhyamaka texts, you are allowing, for example, that unconditioned phenomena, for example God, can produce conditioned phenomena, for example, the world.

I also gave you the example of the production of maize from wheat seeds, chickens from cows and so on.
..

 

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=206309#p206309:

 

There is inexpressible and then there is inexpressible; how one arrives at inexpressibility is critical.

 

Hindus also claim that their ultimate is beyond predicates.

 

~ Loppon Namdrol [<--- a trained Sakya Loppon who can read/translate Sanskrit and Classical Tibetan]

...

 

"...In that case, one will undermine the entire basis of Buddhadharma", if one accepts the above conclusions of dependent origination, that too will undermine eternalist doctrines, and vice versa. If it's the case that someone does accept the above conclusons of dependent origination, then logically they could not accept phenomena arising from a first cause, dissimilar cause, from itself, etc. The dialectic of buddhadharma is airtight about this. Likewise, if someone accepted the arising of phenomena from a first cause and so on, then they could not logically accept the conclusions of dependent origination in buddhadharma. According to this scenario, a person cannot have his or her cake and eat it too; no "ifs, ands, or buts" about it. If a person is honest with themself, it would be evident that they could only logically accept the view of one or the other, since accepting the respective view of one premise contradicts and outright cancels the other premise, and vice versa.

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Dream Bliss, there are a few avenues of confusion you might not have considered! A Course in Miracles, The Urantia Book, and Vedanta Science.

 

 

All joking set aside, if you want to get down to the essence of Christianity, do yourself a favor and get the book,'A Course in Miracles.' It is a psychology and Is considered the pure teachings of Christ and what he was trying to convey 2,000 years ago. It even states that in the forward somewhere. The whole book is considered to be compiled by an atheist scientist and her co-worker in New York. She maintains that the 'voice' came to her in her sleep. Whether one believes the ascertion that the information is really from Christ or not is beside the point. It is truly one of the most powerful teachings on spirituality I have ever come across, if not the most powerful. And when I read it I get an overwhelming feeling of peace. It's well worth the money. And you can really see the weaknesses in the Bible. It's lacking sooo much. It's definitely the most important book on Christianity to my knowledge, and should be on the shelf of any seeker's library.

 

The other one you should consider on Christianity is 'the Urantia Book.' (Compiled for over 12 years before and after W.W.ll by Dr. Kellogg and associates from a man in his sleep that was channeling spirits-I.e. Arch angel Michel, etc.)Don't laugh at it until you've read a good deal of it. This makes the Bible look like paragraph 1. This book goes into detail on the relations of energy of different realms of matter. The relationship of the human species, the (Urania mortal) to the archangels, the divine Creators, the eternal Creator, the son of God. It goes into the nature of the Eternal Island, or the different levels of Paradise, as seen from this book's point of view. It goes into the 'real' story of Adam and Eve, which does make more sense than the Bible's version. It goes into the life of Christ. The story of the ark, etc. It claims to set straight the watered down version of the Bible, what was left out, etc. It goes into detail the history of the earth(Urantia), the universe, etc. from the aspect of a collective conglomerate of spirits. A must read!

A few brief excerpts, if I may: "Jesus founded the religion of personal experience in doing the will of God and serving the human brotherhood; Paul founded a religion in which the glorified Jesus became the object of worship and the brotherhood consisted of fellow believers in the divine Christ." And:" He (Christ) taught men to place a high value upon themselves in time and in eternity. Because of this high estimate which Christ placed upon men, he was willing to spend himself in the remitting service of mankind. And it was this infinite worth of the finite that made the golden rule a factor in his religion. What mortal can fail to be uplifted by the extraordinary faith Jesus has in him? Jesus offered no rules for social advancement; his was a religious mission, and religion is an exclusively individual experience."

I'll finish about this book with this: "And God consciousness is equivalent to the integration of the self with the universe, and on it's highest levels of spiritual reality. Only the spirit content of any value is imperishable. Even that which is true, beautiful and good may not perish in human experience... The father is living love, and this life of the father is in his Sons. And the spirit of the father is in his Sons-mortal men.

 

This last excerpt sounds uncannily like Taoism.

 

If I haven't lost you yet, please consider Vedanta. In terms of Hinduism, it makes the most amount of sense in regards to the relationship of God with material manifestations ( the how and why of causality). The science explains how and why God is too infinite to effect finite causal relationships. Brahman – the ultimate metaphysical reality. Ātman / Jivātman – the individual soul or self

Prakriti – the empirical world, ever-changing physical universe, body and matter

Over time, Vedanta adopted ideas from other orthodox (āstika) schools like Yoga and Nyaya, and, through this syncretism, became the most prominent school of Hinduism. Many extant forms of Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism have been significantly shaped and influenced by the doctrines of different schools of Vedanta.

 

For some good compilations on Vedanta, watch James Schwartz on YouTube. He has a comprehensive 15or 16 lessons that he taught in Germany. He makes a lot of sense. Maybe check out his website, too. He's written a couple of books.

 

So, there a few links to the puzzle. All things are possible that can be perceived by the mind. I enjoy reading everything I can get my hands on. I haven't gone into Alice Bailey's books yet. She compiled information from aTibetan monk. This person is only known as the 'Tibetan.' They discuss the relations of energy rays that effect all life force, intuition, sex, metaphysical psychology, human spirit, etc. I do, however see a similarity between all these teachings, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. They are all simply pieces of the great puzzle of existence. They are simply chapters that some smarty discovered and compiled either through the intuition of Akashic records, channeling through spirits, or awareness of existence. Or possibly a gift from the heavens, Christ? Who really knows or can say...I keep coming back to Taoism. In Urantia there is a sentence that says something to the effect that when you understand energy, you understand the universe. One aspect of Taoism is just that, the practice of and cultivation of energy. But as I understand it all ways lead to the Truth, eventually. And it depends on grace, practice, being ready. A fast track is being around enlightened beings, with readiness, grace, and spiritual practice and if the time is right then it will be your time for the confusion to lift. In the mean time read everything you can. That's why I read all these crazy tomes. A scientist must have an open mind to all things.

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Firstly there are many paths to cross to the other shore. Some are direct, taking the shortest route, some goes round and round and wayfarers can lose their way because of the lack of clear direction. But given time, effort, knowledge, wisdom and concentration, the other shore can be reached. Buddhism is one route, the shortest possible complete with road signs and a map, the Buddha-Dhamma. However, crossing to the other shore do not require the belief of an Omiscient Entity. The question of God in the context of Buddhism centres on whether all living creatures and the world are God's creation. There is one poetic verse given by a contributor here that rhetorically denies the existence of such a God. There is also a sutta that recounted that even the Almighty God, MahaBrahma, did not even know how he came about and asked the enquirer to check with the Buddha. The Buddha himself upon attaining Enlightenment under the banyan tree exclaimed that he could not find the 'builder of this house (self)'. He can't find the Creator God. So at this point, I have to make a distinction between Gods and the Creator God. Within the 6 realms of existence, there are heavenly realms (may correspond to the 'many mansions' in the Bible) inhabited by Gods of both with forms and formless, each realm ruled by a God-head, eg MahaBrahma in a realm known as the 33 heavens. During the exposition of the first sermon, The Turning of the Wheel, various Gods from various heavenly realms exclaimed in joy. But no Creator God. The Gods are in their realms because of their store of virtues and karma, and they too are subjected to samsaric existence. If gods are even subjected to the unending cycle of births and deaths like any person, they would not hold the key to the ultimate release. If you are to look for this ultimate release from samsara, won't you look towards the Buddha-Dhamma?

Edited by Sudhamma

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Posted (edited)

Addressing the OP's original question from a Zen standpoint there is this 4 line explaination:

No reliance on words or letters
A special transmission outside the Scriptures
Directly pointing to the Mind
Seeing one's True Nature. Becomming awakened

And then there is Bodhidharma's "Vast emptiness. Nothing holy."

Edited by kbe

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The Buddha said to Angulimala: "I've stopped, have you?". 

 

A single sentence spoken by the Buddha to a murderous Angulimala, stopping the latter in his track who was pursuing the Buddha. Angulimala was later converted and became one of the Buddha's foremost disciples.

 

"I've stopped, have you?"

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To find a beginning, or a Creator (one without a beginning who makes a new beginning) doesn't fit into logical sense. A very detailed and logical explanation of this using logical thinking is available in the book "The Quantum And The Lotus" as told by one of the two authors, Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard. This is in the chapter "In Search Of The Great Watchmaker."

 

And if we cannot use logic to wend our way through thoughts about why we are here then 'the Great Meatball In The Sky started it all' has as much validity to it as anything else.

Edited by kbe

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Specifically as I understand it the Buddhist belief system is in the Anatman, and this was done intentionally by Buddha to get people to think outside the Hindu/Yogic system where the Higher Self is called the Atman.

 

I guess what I would like to know is does the Buddhist belief system believe in God, and if so, what form is God for them? It seems in the Hindu/Yogic system God is you, me, each of us living sperately physically but all connected to the Source through our Higher Selves. We are all little peices of God and are at the same time God. I think I get what they say. But I would like to know what the Buddhist belief system says.

 

The reason I am asking this is because I come from the Christain belief system, and I am rapidly coming to the point where I will have to figure out where I stand. Is God some man on a throne somewhere? Is God merely the energy that we all have a part of inside that gives us life and is commonly referred to as The Source? Or is God me, or rather am I God? For whatever reason God decided to shoot a part of Himself off into this physical reality to live in my physical body. Or is God perhaps all of these and more, or none of these?

 

I have to make a choice in order to pursue my spiritual development. If I stick with my Christain beliefs then I can go no further. God may or may not be connected to me, I may or may not be connected to others, God may or may not be the source that connects us all and gives us life. This is as far as I can go in the Christain faith. Because if I start saying I am God I am in direct conflict with the Bible and the belief system of the Christian faith. It is, literally for me at this point in my development, hell or high water. Once I start calling myself God, if I am wrong, if the Christian faith is right, then I consign myself to an eternity of suffering in hell for blasphomy among other things. Do you see my predicament?

 

At some point I have to step off the narrow way and risk the jungle that waits beyond. Well in reality I have stepped off, and now it's a matter of turning my back on it and leaving it behind. I can't think of myself as a Center of Consiousness, and move beyond my body, within my former religion. I mean I moved beyond the religion itself but retained some of its beliefs. It is those I have to leave behind.

 

All this is compounded by the fact that I now see the truth about religion in general. It is a control, a leash, a cage, a collar. You can't find freedom in a belief, it is your beliefs that entrap you. Some of that entrapment is good. Your religion tells you that murdering someone is bad, well then you won't be going around killing folks. Your belief to respect life, to not kill, is stronger than any law. But in most other ways these constraints are bad, because they can be used to keep you blind, deaf and dumb to the truth so others can control you. It is apt that the Bible describes people as sheep...

 

Anyhow I think understanding the Buddhist viewpoint here will aid me in figuring out what mine will be. One of the main three, or perhaps a different one entirely. We'll see. I appreciate your help. Also let me be perfectly clear, I'm not posting this to challenge or belittle anyone's views on God. I didn't start this thread to argue. Just to hear a viewpoint. So feel free to share, I for one will welcome and appreciate it.

 

Thank you -

- DreamBliss

Hello,

 

I think that I may be able to guide you into understanding this approach for yourself.  In order to fully understand this topic, you will need to be able to legitimately question everything that you already think you know, believe, and perceive. 

 

When it comes to talking about religions, I think that the first thing that must be understood - is how they come to be, why, and over what timeframe....     because, when you discover that mostly every religion has an origin, lasts for awhile, and then ceases to be around... until the next religion pops up again. 

 

Also - the use and meaning of words is extremely important- to know and understand this requires historical study. 

 

So now onto it -

 

If you look at Buddhism, it is first and foremost an "ism"... which means that it is a philosophical observance of the state of reality, the world, existence, or whatever you want to call it, and the experience of living in it as an incarnated being.  

 

.... now the history comes in - at the time of the era of the Buddha, in eastern cultures, the word " God " was very seldom used if at all...  buddhism as taught by the Buddha sage Siddartha Guatama, is not an entire all encompassing theory of existence in so much as it is a collection of perceptions, experiences, etc... that are all recorded in writing or verbal speech - that are aimed at solving the Buddha's question of ending " dukkha " or " dissatisfaction "....  because the Buddha does not care about beliefs, and nonsense information.  The Buddha cared to understand how to live happily and at peace with oneself and the world at large....  therefore the collection of everything that came from what he intially laid down as the basis for his "dharma" or " rightful way ".... is in large part simply an expression of his experience.

 ...... so Buddhism - is not about worshipping anything at all, it is entirely different.  Buddhism seeks to resolve all of the sufferings of life through understanding their origin.  Because to the Buddha, that is what he thought needed to be shown to the world - not theories and beliefs that do nothing but cause more " dukkha"...

 

... So now delving into the 4 noble truths, and 8 fold path - these statements are the foundation of all currently held Buddhist's-  or people who follow the teaching.  What these statements basically lay out, and what is really cool to understand about them is that they were chosen by the Buddha, for a specific purpose.  They are the foundation of an " eternal dharma " or an " always true, and useful way of going about achieving whatever needs to be done in the right and true way ".  Because to the Buddha - "dukkha " will somehow always sprout up regardless of time.... the Buddh'as teaching can be applied at any point in time wherever for any being who seeks to live happily and free from "dukkha".

 

... So the practice of understanding the other questions that arise in the due course of pondering these concepts, is something that every person for themslves must see and realize, because no one can teach it.  Which is also another reason that the Buddha's 4 noble truths, and 8 fold path are somewhat open ended to explore for oneself using whatever means or way they like to do...    which in the end, becomes actual meditation...

 

- I was raised as a Christian, and so I may be able to help you I guess... 

 

But here is the summary that I basically work with when contrasting and comparing religions - 

 

Taoism - extremely old, developed circa 5,000 years ago - began as philosophy and scientific inquiry developed into symbolic religion with a dogma of a pantheon of gods associated to nature.  Original held effort of Taosim - flowing with the Tao... living according to the natural law on all levels of life.  Tao literally meant " way " or " method ".....   Tao has now come to mean  " God ".

 

Hinduism - extremely old, developed out of Vedic religion - began as consciousness practice or seeking to see what is behind or underneath the sensual physical world... to see into the substratum of life...   purpose of use of suck knowledge - to know and understand everything to not be bound to one's own ignorances....  the presupoosition here is that true knowledge provides peace of mind because when the mind is seeking all the time....it causes pain. Fruits of the efforts of hinduism - many.  Hindus - are people who attempt to increase what they call the " sattvik " vibration in themselves to move closer to and eventually "become" one with the actual creator of the universe. They attempt to increase the " sattvik" vibe because it to them represents and is actually truely the vibration of purity.  The other 2 vibrations they hold to exist are " rajas " = action and passion, and " tamas" - ignorance and inertia.  The rajas and tamas are seen as impure because they cause strong karmic bonds to develop everywhere in the universe.  Hindus properly understand the doctrine of karma as the law of how actions come to be...  

 

Buddhism - developed around same era as hinduism.  The sage Siddartha Guatama, was taught and instructed in ways of meditation by a hindu. Buddhism actually does not acknowledge or even attempt to correlate the existence of a " god ".  Buddhism seeks to be realistic and understand everything in terms of causes and effects and dependent origination, so that people can live peacefully - not ever in competition with each other.

 

... Eastern religions do not use the word " god " in their writings... and this is the most important fact that creates the divide that one will see in how they are extremely different then western religions.  Because if you look at Eastern religions, they are all basically aimed at achieving peace and understanding with oneself and the world...  through consciously comprehending the nature of life itself.... not through worship, praise, and whatever else that is anything that is not actually knowing the mystery of happiness, peace, etc...

 

Western Religions - 

 

Christianity, Muslim, Islam, Judaism - The biggest difference with all of these as compared to eastern religions is the truth the pose to you - monotheism.  They have gods.... but eventually all the little gods... became thought of as "one" "god".

-  These religions came about in a place of the world that was very contested, violent, and volatile - the fertile crescent in Mesopatamia. The background of appeasement and prostration to "higher and more powerful beings " to aid the course of humanity heavily influenced all of these religions.  All of these religions stem from the patriach of Abraham - a hebrew.

 

.....  these western religions were used historically as a means to keep people under control by whatever means necessary. 

.....  In actuality - lots of religions and belief systems are used as a means to keep people under control... which is why they suck in that regard. 

 

So - as one can see, what is common to all of these " endeavors " - what is the point of religion?  One will find, that each religion came from a certain place, and that environment and attitude of that place more or less determined what that religion would be...  however - there are vast differences that have arisen through the involvement of humanity over time...  that has in some cases totally lost all of the original meaning and intent behind what they were originally trying to achieve. 

 

 --- So even further to the point - underlying all of the religions everywhere - is an attempt to see truth as a means to live harmoniously and in peace , or to blind people to the truth and enslave them into servitude to a false ideal, or whatever...

 

.... the great yin yang action of what can be when certain information is used.

 

... I wonder when people will release themselves from the bonds of worship, conquest, and utter stupidity. 

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Who was it that said... if you can't explain something simply and clearly, then you don't really understand it?

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Who was it that said... if you can't explain something simply and clearly, then you don't really understand it?

....

....

....

 

ok..... explain something simply and clearly please.  Because I disagree.  The comprehension of something is not entirely tied to the way that one's understanding is communicated...  especially somthing complex - like invisible energies and an entire historical saga of the world's history...   could be explained simply, but the simplicity would most likely lack specific detail, and hence would therefore engender a prompt for further inquiry. Wouldn't one think?

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Jadespear,

 

Thanks for sharing some of your understanding of religions.

 

I definitely agree that the conditions of society at the time of the beginning of each religion profoundly influenced the nature of those religions.

 

Also, there's no doubt that, as you said, religions change over time, with the additions, variations, and sometimes corruptions of people. I wonder if evangelical Christianity is anything close to what Jesus originally intended it to be.

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Here's what I think are some of the key concepts of Buddhism.

 

1. Beliefs aren't very emphasized. You don't need "faith" in Buddhism, but discernment, which comes through mindfulness.

 

2. Attachment is the problem. Attachment creates suffering when it isn't fulfilled.

 

3. The nature of life is impermanence. Impermanence is the simple and observable fact that all relative phenomenon and experiences are temporary and constantly changing. Through the understanding of impermanence, attachment and suffering can be transcended.

 

4. Mindfulness is the way to gain insight and recognize impermanence.

 

This is my take on it, which is largely just what I've found helpful in my own experience. I feel that we mainly get from reading and studying that which works for us, what we personally find helpful.

Edited by roger
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Here's what I think are some of the key concepts of Buddhism.

 

1. Beliefs aren't very emphasized. You don't need "faith" in Buddhism, but discernment, which comes through mindfulness.

 

2. Attachment is the problem. Attachment creates suffering when it isn't fulfilled.

 

3. The nature of life is impermanence. Impermanence is the simple and observable fact that all relative phenomenon and experiences are temporary and constantly changing. Through the understanding of impermanence, attachment and suffering can be transcended.

 

4. Mindfulness is the way to gain insight and recognize impermanence.

 

This is my take on it, which is largely just what I've found helpful in my own experience. I feel that we mainly get from reading and studying that which works for us, what we personally find helpful.

Very well observed, Roger.  :)

 

From the recognition of impermanence the seeds of bodhicitta are sown. 

 

The sprouting of the seeds of bodhicitta gives rise to the gradual insight into knowledge of the whole path of what Buddha Dharma is about. 

Edited by C T
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Jadespear,

 

Thanks for sharing some of your understanding of religions.

 

I definitely agree that the conditions of society at the time of the beginning of each religion profoundly influenced the nature of those religions.

 

Also, there's no doubt that, as you said, religions change over time, with the additions, variations, and sometimes corruptions of people. I wonder if evangelical Christianity is anything close to what Jesus originally intended it to be.

...thanks brother. 

 

... I being a raised christian.. albeit not intense at all....... Wonder the same - and what I eventually conclude is that, all religion enshrouds the truth that is perceived with an explanation.  Which is entirely ok, as is the natural way of understanding things..... but; however good of explanation it may be does not entirely explain everything now does it?

 

 

... for the real truth, the real way of things - is also explainable, because it can be seen, and experienced.  However- the dogma of religions should be taken lightly in attitude and on the approach if one is to endeavor beyond it entirely.  For, in religions one does find pebbles, pools, and streams of thought that one may connect with, BUT - how do they all connect?

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Who was it that said... if you can't explain something simply and clearly, then you don't really understand it?

Physicist Richard Feynman for one, in so many words. It is discussed in one of his 4 steps on how to learn and master a subject. www.wimp.com/how-to-master-any-subject/

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Jadespear,

 

 

 

....Also, there's no doubt that, as you said, religions change over time, with the additions, variations, and sometimes corruptions of people. I wonder if evangelical Christianity is anything close to what Jesus originally intended it to be.

 

An interesting book on the multitude of differences between the extant copies of the books of the New Testament is 'Misquoting Jesus'. Most are minor but a number are in conflict with each other. The author, an expert biblical scholar/translator, points out probable omissions, spurious additions and changes of varying importance to the meaning and spirit of the texts.

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