Eden

Was the Buddha a Genius?

Recommended Posts

Just reading the sutras and his discourses, the guy seems like a genius. He knew so much?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the course of the centuries in Asia, anyone who came up with a brilliant understanding was often asked "Who taught you this thing?"... and the answer was inevitably "the Buddha, you don't need to question the validity of this idea. The Buddha said so, it must be the truth, just accept it". 

 

We used to have something similar here in the west. Have you ever heard the expression Ipse Dixit? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/10/2018 at 6:32 PM, Eden said:

Just reading the sutras and his discourses, the guy seems like a genius. He knew so much?

 

Yes, born with huge spiritual potential. O:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was probably very much loved at home.  Then he was very sensitive and shocked by what he saw outside.   Then he was very determined and spiritually inspired and worked long hours with the 2 ascetics and attained the 8th Jhana.   Then he was very honest and said he still didn't feel free.  Then he was pragmatic and tried to form a group with friends and had other experiences.   Then he was trying once again to go through all his memories for anything that might help him when he recalled a state in childhood that was peaceful and began meditation using that state to examine it.  Then he was very tired of his struggle and decided to make a last stand 35 days of meditation under a tree where he fought many adversaries (defilements), many which were cunning.   Then he surrendered and something mystical occurred.  Then everything changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/10/2018 at 5:32 PM, Eden said:

Just reading the sutras and his discourses, the guy seems like a genius. He knew so much?

 

I think he was THE genius :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/11/2018 at 1:17 AM, Cheshire Cat said:

Over the course of the centuries in Asia, anyone who came up with a brilliant understanding was often asked "Who taught you this thing?"... and the answer was inevitably "the Buddha, you don't need to question the validity of this idea. The Buddha said so, it must be the truth, just accept it". 

 

We used to have something similar here in the west. Have you ever heard the expression Ipse Dixit? 

Still.. the Buddha is also credited with '“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”' So not so 'Ipsey Dixiy'

 

Unless you dig deeper and find out its somewhat loose/poor translation based on the Kalama Sutta, but even then the actual quote is about using your own experience to make judgements. 

 

From Fakebuddhaquotes.com-

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

This is a bad translation of the Kalama Sutta — so bad, in fact, that it contradicts the message of the sutta, which says that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth.

And it’s very common as well.

Here’s the original version, from Access to Insight:

“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.

The Buddha is talking to some people who live near his home country. These people, the Kalamas, are confused by the multiplicity of teachings that they hear. Many teachers arrive, who extoll their own teachings and disparage the teachings of others. And the Kalamas want to know, “Which of these venerable brahmans and contemplatives are speaking the truth, and which ones are lying?”

 

The Buddha’s reply is very full, but it’s clear he says that “reason” (logical conjecture, inference, analogies, agreement through pondering views) and “common sense” (probability) are not sufficient bases for determining what the truth is. It’s not that these things should be discarded, but ultimately it’s experience and the opinion of the wise that is our guide.

 

So this brings up at least two questions:

1. If experience is to be our guide, does that mean we have to test out every theory and practice? No. If a teacher says something like “taking drugs is the path to happiness” you don’t have to try drugs. Your experience includes observation of other people’s experience, so that if you have seen others suffering through taking drugs you don’t have to repeat their mistakes.

 

2. Who is to say who the wise are? You are. Through your experience (see point 1, above), whom have you found to be reliable and insightful in the past? Those people are “the wise”. Now you don’t have to take everything they say as being the absolute truth. You can use your reason, your common sense, and your experience as a guide. Not all of “the wise” will agree, for example, so you’re still going to have to figure things out for yourself ultimately.

It’s this second criterion that is often overlooked.

 

The first instance of this version of the quote that I’ve found is in a libertarian book by the pseudonymous author, “John Galt” — Dreams Come Due. I strongly suspect that Galt’s libertarianism caused him to alter the quote in order to make it supportive of his position.

Incidentally, the “no matter where you read it” is an anachronism, since spiritual teachings were orally transmitted at the time of the Buddha.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2019 at 10:22 AM, thelerner said:

Still.. the Buddha is also credited with '“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”' So not so 'Ipsey Dixiy'

 

Unless you dig deeper and find out its somewhat loose/poor translation based on the Kalama Sutta, but even then the actual quote is about using your own experience to make judgements. 

 

From Fakebuddhaquotes.com-

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

This is a bad translation of the Kalama Sutta — so bad, in fact, that it contradicts the message of the sutta, which says that reason and common sense are not sufficient for ascertaining the truth.

And it’s very common as well.

Here’s the original version, from Access to Insight:

“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.

The Buddha is talking to some people who live near his home country. These people, the Kalamas, are confused by the multiplicity of teachings that they hear. Many teachers arrive, who extoll their own teachings and disparage the teachings of others. And the Kalamas want to know, “Which of these venerable brahmans and contemplatives are speaking the truth, and which ones are lying?”

 

The Buddha’s reply is very full, but it’s clear he says that “reason” (logical conjecture, inference, analogies, agreement through pondering views) and “common sense” (probability) are not sufficient bases for determining what the truth is. It’s not that these things should be discarded, but ultimately it’s experience and the opinion of the wise that is our guide.

 

So this brings up at least two questions:

1. If experience is to be our guide, does that mean we have to test out every theory and practice? No. If a teacher says something like “taking drugs is the path to happiness” you don’t have to try drugs. Your experience includes observation of other people’s experience, so that if you have seen others suffering through taking drugs you don’t have to repeat their mistakes.

 

2. Who is to say who the wise are? You are. Through your experience (see point 1, above), whom have you found to be reliable and insightful in the past? Those people are “the wise”. Now you don’t have to take everything they say as being the absolute truth. You can use your reason, your common sense, and your experience as a guide. Not all of “the wise” will agree, for example, so you’re still going to have to figure things out for yourself ultimately.

It’s this second criterion that is often overlooked.

 

The first instance of this version of the quote that I’ve found is in a libertarian book by the pseudonymous author, “John Galt” — Dreams Come Due. I strongly suspect that Galt’s libertarianism caused him to alter the quote in order to make it supportive of his position.

Incidentally, the “no matter where you read it” is an anachronism, since spiritual teachings were orally transmitted at the time of the Buddha.

You're making a fine point , however the approach of both methods still works out to be the same thing IMO. 

 

Q- Where you have common sense juxtaposed with probability , what is the best translation of the word used, as you understand it ? They are not the same. 

Neither is it the same to know for oneself , and to adopt the experience of the 'wise'.  As I read it. 

And that's why either translation works out to be the saying same thing. 

You're supposed to buy in,  because inside you know it to be true for you. 

He thinks people are decent at heart.

So he doesn't have to be a genius , nor do you or I, ... his genius status its unimportant, but clearly he was comfortable with complex and subtle thoughts, but that ain't always what people think genius is.

I doubt he would want to be considered in that light , as a genius ,

if it meant that it would make folks believe that his insights were outside the reach of ones own.

 

My reason for feeling confident on this, goes as follows,

Since action is a single summation of all the factors which go into our decision making -including their relative weights, one needs to look at what action we are going to make a decision about having read the passage. In this case the action is whether to follow advice or whether not to in favor of our own heart and minds sentiment...essentially to - Heed the yogi or not. 

The argument makes no sense to be distinguishing whether a yogi has a valid point , if you heed him over yourself ,, and does make sense if you have to look inward. 

So thats the point .. 

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”'

 

Obviously all that, is my opinion , and the way you are suggested to regard it is if it rings true to you.

If it does not , that doesn't mean that its untrue, but it would not be good for you to incorporate what I said in that circumstance. 

Edited by Stosh
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites