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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, cah5896 said:

@Walker

When I was deep, deep into Christianity I would have sounded similar to you if I was arguing against a doubter.

 

Strange. I thought you belonged to an evangelical group. Didn't you seek converts? I said I think it would be fine for you to follow your own path, and that it would be good to walk away from teachings if you don't like them. I honestly don't think you should join _____ group. But, if you wish to express strong opinions about _____, perhaps do your homework first. More on this later.

 

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You say I'm not looking deep enough under the surface. What have these religions we've been dealing with for the past 2000 years done for us except cause more hardship, more wars, and loss of freedom?

 

Sure, there is much evil connected to the many religions. And yet, seemingly paradoxically, the many religions have also brought a great many people comfort, peace, and gains in freedom.

 

So many double edged swords. what can ever be said about them that is not at least 50% wrong? This kind of paradox is one of the themes in Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart

 

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Maybe they help some people cope with life better because they pretend something is real mentally, but that's it. What do the people in Thailand get out of the monks except being required to give money in exchange for prayers, blessings, etc.

 

You know. Some years ago, I was close friends with and then briefly dated a Thai Buddhist woman with many Thai Buddhist friends. They told me they got many things from Thai Buddhism, among which were ample opportunities to attend intense meditation retreats all over the country, where they were the ones getting free food and lodging, in addition to in-depth teachings. At the time we were all living in China and whenever we went to PRC Buddhist temples they commented on the differences between them and the ones in Thailand. They preferred the ones in Thailand, because they were often open, grassy spaces where people could bring their whole families to relax, picnic, horse around, and laugh. The temples were like local parks, open to all, and lots of fun to hang out in.

 

But! My point is not about Thai Buddhism. My point is: howzabout you go and actually get to know some of the people you're here hum-hum-harrumphing about for a few years and see if maybe some of your hum-hum-harrumphy opinions change?

 

You might even meet a nice Thai girl in the process, never know...

 

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I'm never going to out-debate you without delving as deep into your religion as you have, but that doesn't make me automatically wrong.

 

Sure.

 

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And once again you seemed to misunderstand something about what I said regarding contradictions. I meant there are people like you who are Christians, Muslims, Hindus, etc who really believe in their religion and would want to convert me to it. You accuse me of not seeing the deeper meaning behind things, but you certainly take what I say at very face value and seem to think in words a lot.

 

For the record, I do not wish to convert you or anybody to anything. If we knew each other, I would not even invite you to any temple I regularly frequent, because sitting around bickering with some dude would just ruin a perfectly good afternoon and probably distract me from smelling the incense and chatting with the 65-year-old Taiwanese ladies. Mmm, incense. Mmm, 65-year-old Taiwanese ladies.

 

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Sure I don't know the "appropriate Buddhist meaning" of a word like empty, but that only matters if the Buddhist definition is the right one, and I'm done taking things on "faith" like what you do in Christianity. Does not understanding how the Muslims view Allah's character make me a less knowledgeable and wise person? I think that is absolutely ridiculous.

 

Uh, by definition, not understanding how Muslims understand Allah does make you less knowledgeable (wisdom is another issue). Because it does mean you lack knowledge, your paucity indeed behooves you to hold your tongue before making pronouncements about Islam and Muslim. Why? A very simple example:

 

In the PRC, people call potatoes 土豆/tudou and peanuts 化生/huasheng.

 

In Taiwanese, people call potatoes 馬鈴薯/malingshu and peanuts 土豆/tudou.

 

Let us say you live in Taiwan. You absolutely hate peanuts. Not only do you hate them, you are deathly allergic to them. Not only are you deathly allergic to them, you are convinced that they are actually poisonous for everybody, and that nobody should eat these damn fucking peanuts.

 

So then one day you meet a Chinese person from the PRC who asks if you would like to join him to enjoy a fine platter of 青椒土豆絲, or shredded potatoes and green peppers, a popular and tasty dish.

 

Well, you hear him say "tudou," and you realize this fucking asshole is trying to get you to each a plate of deadly, disgusting peanuts. This motherfucker is trying to kill you. And he doesn't even realize he's ingesting poison himself whenever he puts those tudou in his mouth. So you start to school him on tudou till you're blue in the face, and finally you can't stand the ignorant, brainwashed bastard, so you peace out.

 

Then the guy has a whole plate of delicious 青椒土豆絲蓋飯 all to himself, while even though you look very smart, you're still hungry, and now you have missed lunchtime.

 

Point being: if you want to try and talk about Buddhism (or Islam or Daoism or peanuts and potatoes), if you do not take the time to thoroughly understand the vocabulary, you will just make points that are moot the moment they drop from your lips.

 

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When you say ancient teachings have layers upon layers of meaning, I'm guessing what you really mean is other people have found all this meaning, and again, I'm supposed to put all my faith in them like I put faith in my Christian pastor.

 

No. Faith is not remotely necessary to go much deeper into the teachings than you have gone. I know many professors who can offer incredibly detailed, multi-layered explanations of Buddhist teachings they do not have faith in and do not practice. All I'm talking about is simple, old-fashioned, boring studying.

 

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You're cut from the same cloth as a lot of other people I've had experience with. You strike me as someone who would probably have more in common with an average Christian pastor than Laozi. You're probably pretty good at manipulating people emotionally too, and I've gone through some of your post history, and there seems to be a trend. I'm a student of Nietzsche too.

 

Hahaha, well, whatever man. Who am I to say your analysis is wrong?

 

I never read Nietzsche. But every time I bump into Nietzsche-ites, I'm like, "thaaaaaaaaannnnk god I never ran into that guy's books when I was a grumpy 20-year-old."

 

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"Others are sharp and clever, 
But I alone am dull and stupid. 
Oh, I drift like the waves of the sea, 
Without direction, like the restless wind"

 

A refreshing poem!

 

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With that, I've already broken many Taoist principles with this thread and probably should be done, while you who claim to have much more figured out, but of course would never admit having it all figured out to appear humble, stay in your bubble of tradition and knowledge that comes across more Confucian-Buddhist, while I go to a mountain to try to figure things out on my own.

 

Have a fun trip. Don't break any principles. Or backpack straps. And if you're sharing your tent with somebody, don't break wind, either. Unless it's three of you in there. Then you can blame the other guy. If your butt is quiet enough.

 

9 hours ago, cah5896 said:

@Walker

The more I read over those first two paragraphs in your last response the more I feel justified in being a bit nasty to you.


Thank you for the clarification, and I am glad to know that you feel justified.

 

And I do so like it when you get nasty with me. Rawr.

 

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That's absolutely false logic and there are contradictions in the Tao, there are good and evil. In fact the Tao is all about contradictions. Just because we see the beauty because there is ugliness doesn't change the fact that ugliness is ugliness.

 

That is just one level, one angle. Zoom in, zoom out, change angles, empty the mind, fill the mind, turn into a dung beetle and you will find poop very attractive, turn into a goose and you will see the most beautiful human woman on earth but fall from the sky because you forget how to fly due to being shocked by how damn ugly that hairless she-ape is. Zhuangzi 101 right there. But beware of retorting, "what, so you're saying what Hitler did was okay, because everything is relative, huh, huh?" The answer is of course Hitler was unmitigated scum.

 

9 hours ago, cah5896 said:

@Walker

If people actually thought with the logic you use in the first paragraph we'd all be complete doormats, treating falsehoods and drivel the same way we treat precious truth in the name of having "no contradictions".

 

What is so bad about doormats? If you have drivel on your shoe, you can wipe it on a doormat before you go into your mountaintop clubhouse (or your fart tent). I sure wish I had a complete doormat.

Edited by Walker
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Posted (edited)

@Walker

You're still twisting everything subtly, taking everything at face value, and thinking in words.

 

Of course we tried to make converts, and arguing with people is one way to possibly convert.

 

Yes, you have tremendous emotional intelligence that I don't have. So what. You're putting it to bad use.

 

In regards to Buddhist Thailand, you're using one example to sound like universal truth. And also it's based on someone's own testimony, which assumes that their assessment (ie. Meditation is important, having grassy picnic space is important) is universal truth that applies to me also. Of course this is classic American reasoning as well. We'll go to war based on one testimony that ends up being false later, like https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_testimony, or https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_and_the_Iraq_War

 

Also how is knowing the characteristics of a fictional being real knowledge? And oops, I backtracked and made the assumption that knowledge is always valuable, which it isn't.

 

Peanuts objectively exist, but not Allah or Buddhist emptiness. And why would I want to learn more about Buddhism unless it brought more value to my life.

 

What I gather is everything I think, feel, and have experienced is invalid in your mind, and I'd do well to defer to literally anyone except myself, because they all know better than me, the Buddhist, the Muslim, everyone. I'm just a dumb person in my 20s who thinks I know everything, and need to be whipped into shape.

 

There's a certain tendency of people in your generation to have a God complex, and you seem to fit the type. You'd like me better if I were more like 

eh?

 

Edited by cah5896

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And may the hard work of Deng Xiaoping and the CCP not be in vain as the threats of the crazy orange man threaten China.

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@Walker

It's like you want me to think anything anyone else believes is true, all while denying everything I believe. I'm just supposed to be an extension of those around me eh? "Die to self"

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17 minutes ago, cah5896 said:

It's like you want me to think anything anyone else believes is true, all while denying everything I believe. I'm just supposed to be an extension of those around me eh?

 

Well the good news is you're pissed off at the liars.

 

The bad news is you're pissed off at beliefs while still being full of them.  Religious beliefs are nothing but crutches for weaklings.  If you want beliefs then go join some friggin' church.  Taoism has a church for those kinds, and they have a spiritual practice for those who are more mature.  Which one are you?

 

Next you need to learn the difference between knowing and beliefs.  I won't hold my breath.

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15 minutes ago, cah5896 said:

@Starjumper

What good is knowing things that you don't believe in?

 

I have no idea how to relate to that statement.  Like I said last time, beliefs are crutches for weaklings and sickies.  You've been using crutches for so long you are getting crippled.  Forget beliefs, fuck beliefs, reject beliefs, grow up ... or not.

 

"Believe" means "Don't know", see if you can take it from there.  If you need some assistance then put 'don't know' where you wrote 'believe' 

 

 

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@Starjumper

Would you agree with what seems to be walker's reasoning, that other people creating supposed knowledge about supposed beings or terms in the English vocabulary is real knowledge that I should apply also?

 

Other than that, I absolutely see your point now.

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Posted (edited)

@Starjumper

Or I suppose in terms that would align more with your mind, is your knowledge of the word empty the same as walker's, as well as your knowledge of Allah?

Edited by cah5896

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You can use other people's ideas if they are useful.

For instance if you see a guy who has a beautiful garden full of tall trees and sweet-smelling flowers, then you can ask him about gardening and think, this guy knows; but you also have to learn to be a good judge of situations.   What happens if this guy just moved in and inherited the garden from the previous owner ... 

But in general you shall know a man by the fruit of his work.

Another way to use knowledge is like a mountain climber uses a map; he looks at the map and then uses it to make decisions; then he puts the map in the bag, and starts walking and he sees the mountain with his eyes, and breathes that mountain air.   After an hour, he looks at the map again.

Up here he can tell if the map is good or if the map is rubbish.

So ... with spiritual concepts, and meditation techniques you should do the same thing.

Does this information help me climb up the real mountain ?
If you find somebody who gives you information and by following it you end up high up a mountain, then you can take that person as your teacher.

 

Often people give you information ... but ... after you listen to it you see that these people have no intention of climbing any mountains.   They just like to talk.

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You remind me of my son... his mental paradigm of the world is also his emotional paradigm he wears on his heart and sleeve.   One can be an great observer of life but it doesn't mean the criticisms [we sees] are what defines who we are.  I see all the same criticisms but they are never personal or emotional; I am not internally nor externally moved or affected.  Even just take your comment on the 'orange man'... he really has nothing to do with you, Taiwan, China, etc.  That is a political issue not a personal one.  So I don't take such stuff personally but you seem to have a lot of hate with it.

 

So, it seems to me there are deeper issues to deal with than just, Christianity did this to me, what master can I find.   I was also incredibly deep into Christianity.  I had a library for research and was dead set to become a pastor...  but then I began to see that the professing people seemed to not even know what they were espousing; the pastors were just feeding the cattle some grass.  I became quite disillusioned with it all and walked away from it.  I wandered through Existentialism... ok, not my cup of tea but the existential poets made a lasting sense on me... Buddhism and that seemed to make a little sense but not enough. Found Zen and laughed for many years but realized it just kind of did a reset for me in the 'thinking puzzles'... then found Laozi.  I was immediately struck with, "I have arrived".

 

In the entire journey, I never had a personal resentment on what I observed, despite I could make lots of criticisms.   Every step we take, every breath we take, every decision we take, every thought we have, has brought us to where we are today.  Never resent the past nor the things you encounter and observe.   Consider this:  Consider even 1 second of any day of your entire life, you did something different than you actually did... wake up a second later, turn left instead of right, eat eggs instead of cereal one morning, etc... you would not be here on this forum?

 

So... here you are :)

 

Back to christian roots... I studied all the christian traditions and was delving into calvanism vs arminianism... also how methodism arose: I read John Bunyan.  I had old books on Luther... and about the 'great giants who were pre-Adamites'...  When I was in the military, the chaplain let me 'preach' (tell stories) in his service.  We would hotly debate as he was very much about baptismal regeneration but I had a very close relationship with a strict calvinist (ie: TULIP).  I was listening to John McArthur who was the darling of conservative chrisitanity... he told the story of skipping a meeting because they said it was optional but then he endured the wrath of doing so...  I walked away from it all...  but I remember it all...   But in all of it, I was greatly moved by the christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer's words: "There is something instead of nothing".   He would also say, “If you demand perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing.”

 

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Posted (edited)

Cah, check it:

 

You asked:

 

On 6/14/2019 at 1:47 AM, cah5896 said:

What do the people in Thailand get out of the monks except being required to give money in exchange for prayers, blessings, etc.

 

I replied:

 

On 6/14/2019 at 11:13 AM, Walker said:

[The half dozen Thai people I knew in China] told me they got many things from Thai Buddhism, among which were ample opportunities to attend intense meditation retreats all over the country, where they were the ones getting free food and lodging, in addition to in-depth teachings. At the time we were all living in China and whenever we went to PRC Buddhist temples they commented on the differences between them and the ones in Thailand. They preferred the ones in Thailand, because they were often open, grassy spaces where people could bring their whole families to relax, picnic, horse around, and laugh. The temples were like local parks, open to all, and lots of fun to hang out in.

 

There is nothing universal about the word "they," and it certainly doesn't include you. But then you write:

 

On 6/14/2019 at 6:28 PM, cah5896 said:

In regards to Buddhist Thailand, you're using one example to sound like universal truth. And also it's based on someone's own testimony, which assumes that their assessment (ie. Meditation is important, having grassy picnic space is important) is universal truth that applies to me also.

 

 

My man, something in your mind--perhaps simply your anger--is so strong that you are seeing much more than was actually there... and then feeling the need to defend yourself from that which was not there to begin with.

 

Perhaps you think I am totally wrong, but please note that I am not the only person in this thread who has suggested your thinking is clouded by anger. It might be beneficial to contemplate the possibility that there is something to what people are saying to you. I don't mean that is something we need to discuss here. I mean it is something you may need to face in your life sooner or later if you wish to reach the type of goals you have mentioned having in this thread.

 

I do not pretend to know what feeds your depression, anxiety, anger, and isolation. It sounds like you grew up in a difficult environment, and I would not be surprised if you faced some very difficult challenges and maybe even people who truly abused their power when you were a child and adolescent. Having to leave your circle in order to remove yourself from these people and a religion that repulses you must have been difficult. Such things almost inevitably create burdens in people's hearts, and these burdens can be very heavy and cause much additional pain later, even decades down the line. Usually we can't "just put them down," so we need to learn how to work on such burdens. Unfortunately, on Planet Earth people who really understand these things are few and far between, so it is possible to go years without making much progress. One must be very fortunate to encounter the teachings one will need to learn how to deal with deep trauma. Additionally, dealing with such things while transitioning to adulthood from adolescence especially difficult. There have undoubtedly been hundreds of millions of young men who ended up full of anger and spite at your age. It is a very large club, one I was a very proud member of. So, I sincerely hope things improve for you in time, regardless of how you may interpret my posts at present. If you still think I'm a manipulative, word-twisting old motherfucker with a God complex who thinks everybody should shut up and defer to Muslims and Buddhists and whatever, that is cool, too. Thank you for capitalizing my G, at least. Thank you also for imagining a beautiful world in which Muslims and Buddhists get along perfectly, even if they do so at your expense.

 

Anyway, you have found your way to a spiritual message board. In addition to people who prefer to contemplate philosophy on their own, there are people here who have studied with representatives of a great many "traditions" and religions, some for a very long time. Many of the people here disagree about a great many things. But among those who do practice, I would say almost all agree on these five things:

 

1-Human beings are plastic. We can change. We can even utterly transform. (If we could not, then there would be no point to practice and study).

2-We all have to take full responsibility for our own personal transformation. This is true for you whether you start as a relatively clean slate, or as a "dirty slate." This is true for you no matter how much bad shit the world and its denizens may have done to you in the past. It is still true even if the world and its denizens do more bad shit to you in the future. This part is difficult for all of us, because assigning blame and lashing out because of it is almost a reflexive reaction unless one possesses ample reserves of equanimity and insight.

3-A significant degree of humility is needed throughout the process of transformation. Not because humility is somehow a "universal good," but because a lack of humility comes from thinking one understands more than one really does. This kind of delusion makes one stiff, stubborn, and indeed stupid. Transforming, improving one's lot, and lessening one's suffering will be difficult if one does not entertain the possibility that one's strongly-held ideas are at least partially wrong.

4-You can find examples of truly fucked up people, ideas, and customs in all religions. Even so, most or all religions contain some wisdom amid their teachings, and can boast some members who are quite highly "achieved"--in other words, close to the Dao. Given that this is so, if one has the opportunity, one can selectively study and benefit from the wisdom contained in religions. It is absolutely possible to do so without joining outright or "drinking the Kool Aid."

5-You can also walk the path of self transformation while having little or no contact with anything we would call religious. In any case, points 1-3 remain the same.

 

That is all I have to say to you. Good luck and good bye.

 

 

 

 

Oh, wait, I lied. One more thing: picnics are dope. That is a universal motherfucking truth right there.

Edited by Walker
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I'm not seeing the things you speak of in Walker's posts, cah5896. There's definitely some misinterpreting going on.

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