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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 1:13 am 
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Is it time for us as a species to agree on a universal definition of morality?

We are no longer being separated by things such as distance and language and to think that we as a species are not capable of agreeing on the basic treatment of ourselves and others is ludicrous. It seems like the only real argument left would be one of cultural differences. Even here I think we are able to agree that cultures are not sacrosanct and must give way to the greater good.

In Buddha's teachings, as well as others, I see a great foundation that could be used to help make that definition. As many of you have much deeper understanding of those same teachings, I'd be very interested in your thoughts.

As always thank you for your replies...


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 4:57 am 
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I think you're right on all counts and I would even say that it is (gradually) happening.
Here in Australia the need is particularly obvious because we have such large numbers of immigrants from such a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
What we are finding is that ethics and morality must be stated in non-religious terms, even when all or most religions agree. That is, we can't say, "Don't kill because jesus says it's a sin," but we have to say, "Don't kill because it makes the world a worse place."
In those terms, the Buddha's teachings on morality are fine - but have to be presented on their own merits, not "because the Buddha said so."

The Dalai Lama explored these ideas in a recent book called (iirc) "Against Religion". It's good.

:reading:
Kim


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 6:32 am 
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Sure.

But is it that easy to accomplish?

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NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 9:19 am 
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LastLegend wrote:
Sure.

But is it that easy to accomplish?

No, it won't be easy but it can be done, just like the slow changes in (e.g.) rights for women. Some people alive today were born in times when women didn't get a vote and weren't allowed to own property in their own name ... in "modern" "liberal" Western democracies.

:namaste:
Kim


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 9:46 am 
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It is time to abandon the concept of morality and get to the real nature of things.

I've never seen morality in the end yield anything else than suffering.

Best wishes
Gwenn


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 10:11 am 
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A humanist perspective seems to be emerging independent of vested dogma remnants. Personally I feel this will become a recognized and expedient need, as the connected and secular society leaves behind previous social organising methods.

:woohoo:

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 10:19 am 
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Sammytwp wrote:
Is it time for us as a species to agree on a universal definition of morality?

We are no longer being separated by things such as distance and language and to think that we as a species are not capable of agreeing on the basic treatment of ourselves and others is ludicrous. It seems like the only real argument left would be one of cultural differences. Even here I think we are able to agree that cultures are not sacrosanct and must give way to the greater good.

In Buddha's teachings, as well as others, I see a great foundation that could be used to help make that definition. As many of you have much deeper understanding of those same teachings, I'd be very interested in your thoughts.

As always thank you for your replies...



It won't happen. This is Samsara. Not only will it not get fixed...its doing its job perfectly.


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 11:44 am 
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lobster wrote:
A humanist perspective seems to be emerging independent of vested dogma remnants. Personally I feel this will become a recognized and expedient need, as the connected and secular society leaves behind previous social organising methods.

:woohoo:

It's certainly a need. How else are we to deal with the different perspectives and cultures now living side by side?
Back in the old days, nearly everyone you met was born within a few miles of where you met them - a "foreigner" was someone from the next county/state/province/duchy and probably shared your own religion and language anyway. Now? Here we are, chatting across half a world.
And in my small city (less than 200 000 people) I know there are people from fifty other countries. I can go down to the tennis club and play against (let's think) a Norwegian, his Tongan-born son, a Roumanian, a Seychellois :jawdrop: , a few Indians and English people, a Vietnamese guy, a Turk ... oh, and a few Aussie-born people with foreign-born parents. This is the new normal and we need to be able to make it work.

:namaste:
Kim


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:28 pm 
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go watch some hardest gangs documentaries on youtube, youll realize its really not that simple.

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If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:44 pm 
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or for that matter go to any ghetto.


Our Whole society has been built on deception, wish for power and lies. there is no basis for morality in our society. We are in kali yuga. You can dream about universal morality and live in that kinda dream box but if you look into our society you'll awaken to the fact that there are majorities who have no idea about moral values and people born into circumstances where they don't have a good father to teach them how to be a man so the whole system that would support morality just isn't there to begin with. we are not taught about moral and ethical values at school, you don't need to look further away from the kids even to see that they don't hold any universal moral laws. its a fantasy the naive dream about in this day and age.

_________________
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:49 pm 
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That was what democratic politics was originally intended to be: a way of agreeing on what is right and what is wrong when we don't actually agree. It has failed miserably at that, but no one has come up with a better way of doing it.

One of the biggest barriers is culture, as you say. And there, the biggest obstacle is that many cultures believe that their culture IS sacrosanct. So far, no one has found a way to deal with this other than extermination. Cultures are collectively paranoid. One of the characteristics of paranoia, whether collective or individual, is that efforts to address the paranoia are seen as the attacks that they feared all along, thus reinforcing it instead of eliminating it.

I think that the Dharma is the best attempt yet to develop a universal morality. A morality based on reducing suffering is the best universal principle I know of. Maybe we should be knocking on people's doors... (JK!)

Om mani padme hum
Keith


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:38 pm 
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Kim O'Hara wrote:
I think you're right on all counts and I would even say that it is (gradually) happening.
Here in Australia the need is particularly obvious because we have such large numbers of immigrants from such a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
What we are finding is that ethics and morality must be stated in non-religious terms, even when all or most religions agree. That is, we can't say, "Don't kill because jesus says it's a sin," but we have to say, "Don't kill because it makes the world a worse place."
In those terms, the Buddha's teachings on morality are fine - but have to be presented on their own merits, not "because the Buddha said so."

The Dalai Lama explored these ideas in a recent book called (iirc) "Against Religion". It's good.

:reading:
Kim

:good:
You and I are on the same page. It's why I used the word universal, we must go beyond religious reasoning and adapt cultural institutions to a basic morality. Many religions and cultures have great things to provide to humanity as a whole, and unfortunately the reverse is also true. I also agree that Buddha only shows you the path, its your job to walk it, and not just because he said so.


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:54 pm 
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KeithBC wrote:
That was what democratic politics was originally intended to be: a way of agreeing on what is right and what is wrong when we don't actually agree. It has failed miserably at that, but no one has come up with a better way of doing it.

One of the biggest barriers is culture, as you say. And there, the biggest obstacle is that many cultures believe that their culture IS sacrosanct. So far, no one has found a way to deal with this other than extermination. Cultures are collectively paranoid. One of the characteristics of paranoia, whether collective or individual, is that efforts to address the paranoia are seen as the attacks that they feared all along, thus reinforcing it instead of eliminating it.

I think that the Dharma is the best attempt yet to develop a universal morality. A morality based on reducing suffering is the best universal principle I know of. Maybe we should be knocking on people's doors... (JK!)

Om mani padme hum
Keith



This is an issue that I have spent much time and discussion with others on. How does one change a long held cultural belief without destroying the culture and it's people? The simple answer is you don't. Even if through education and reasoning one could change the cultural system, such change would wipe out the original culture. Change begets change so at some point its a different culture. I don't for a minuet think those things would work, humans don't change ways without an overriding reason. That is why your comment about extermination is spot on. A culture will only change if three things are present, one; a driving force of advocates, two; its beneficial for the survival of the established way of life, three; the cost to not change is greater than the cost to change. In history we have seen cultures that adapted and evolved and ones that died out. Is an abusive culture worth saving?


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 10:57 pm 
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KonchokZoepa wrote:
go watch some hardest gangs documentaries on youtube, youll realize its really not that simple.



I don't understand your comment, could you please elaborate?


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 11:06 pm 
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Gwenn Dana wrote:
It is time to abandon the concept of morality and get to the real nature of things.



If you mean understand that there are limits to things being only right or only wrong, then I agree with you. But, morality is just a word for an established code of conduct, and honestly it has worked increasingly well to safeguard not only societies at large but also the individual.

Gwenn Dana wrote:
I've never seen morality in the end yield anything else than suffering.


I find that hard to believe, could you please elaborate?


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 5:45 am 
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Sammytwp wrote:
... How does one change a long held cultural belief without destroying the culture and it's people? The simple answer is you don't. Even if through education and reasoning one could change the cultural system, such change would wipe out the original culture. Change begets change so at some point its a different culture. ... A culture will only change if three things are present, one; a driving force of advocates, two; its beneficial for the survival of the established way of life, three; the cost to not change is greater than the cost to change. In history we have seen cultures that adapted and evolved and ones that died out. ...

In these comments and some others I sense a view that a "culture" is a unitary, independent, relatively stable thing like (e.g.) a brick.
It isn't. It's no more stable or immutable than an individual "person" - and we know, if we have been mindful, that we are not the same from day to day or even minute to minute.
In some ways a culture is less changeable than a person, since a change is really the average change of all the people in it. It is also less clearly defined than a person, since it always encompasses a range of views, e.g. "American culture is homophobic" and "American culture is Christian" are both untrue to a certain extent.
So all cultures do change constantly. On the other hand, they are rarely "destroyed" or "die out", since every member of a culture contains - and carries - their culture wherever they go, just as they carry the genes of their ancestors. Greek culture (in fact, the specific Greek culture of the 1950s and 60s) is alive and well in the suburbs of Melbourne, brought to Australia by that wave of immigrants. In another two or three generations only traces of it may be visible, but those traces will be dispersed right through the city's population, just as the Greek genes will be.
That's a bit tangential, perhaps, so ... :focus:

:namaste:
Kim


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:19 am 
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Kim O'Hara wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Sure.

But is it that easy to accomplish?

No, it won't be easy but it can be done, just like the slow changes in (e.g.) rights for women. Some people alive today were born in times when women didn't get a vote and weren't allowed to own property in their own name ... in "modern" "liberal" Western democracies.

:namaste:
Kim


The right to protest is a privilege that most non-Western countries do not have.

_________________
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:51 pm 
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Kim O'Hara wrote:
Sammytwp wrote:
... How does one change a long held cultural belief without destroying the culture and it's people? The simple answer is you don't. Even if through education and reasoning one could change the cultural system, such change would wipe out the original culture. Change begets change so at some point its a different culture. ... A culture will only change if three things are present, one; a driving force of advocates, two; its beneficial for the survival of the established way of life, three; the cost to not change is greater than the cost to change. In history we have seen cultures that adapted and evolved and ones that died out. ...

In these comments and some others I sense a view that a "culture" is a unitary, independent, relatively stable thing like (e.g.) a brick.
It isn't. It's no more stable or immutable than an individual "person" - and we know, if we have been mindful, that we are not the same from day to day or even minute to minute.
In some ways a culture is less changeable than a person, since a change is really the average change of all the people in it. It is also less clearly defined than a person, since it always encompasses a range of views, e.g. "American culture is homophobic" and "American culture is Christian" are both untrue to a certain extent.
So all cultures do change constantly. On the other hand, they are rarely "destroyed" or "die out", since every member of a culture contains - and carries - their culture wherever they go, just as they carry the genes of their ancestors. Greek culture (in fact, the specific Greek culture of the 1950s and 60s) is alive and well in the suburbs of Melbourne, brought to Australia by that wave of immigrants. In another two or three generations only traces of it may be visible, but those traces will be dispersed right through the city's population, just as the Greek genes will be.
That's a bit tangential, perhaps, so ... :focus:

:namaste:
Kim


I think your absolutely right, cultures do evolve and it's not an all encompassing thing to be used to label everything. I thought I had gotten that idea across, I am glad you brought it up. Our cultures are merging, and I believe that its this mixing of doctrines and the problems that generates makes the need for a defined morality even more pressing. The world is to small and to fragile to allow for radical cultural behaviors that endanger the species as a whole and I believe we are capable of creating such a universal morality.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:41 pm 
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LastLegend wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Sure.

But is it that easy to accomplish?

No, it won't be easy but it can be done, just like the slow changes in (e.g.) rights for women. Some people alive today were born in times when women didn't get a vote and weren't allowed to own property in their own name ... in "modern" "liberal" Western democracies.

:namaste:
Kim


The right to protest is a privilege that most non-Western countries do not have.

I don't know whether they have the "right" but I do know that they do nevertheless protest - often at far greater risk to themselves than in the West, and I honour their courage.
And it pays off, eventually.

To me, one of the keys is communication - first to become aware that others have better lives than people in our own city/village, then for education, then for publicity and organisation. It can be pretty simple stuff, sometimes - villagers watching the one TV in an Indian village seeing US soap-operas and seeing how Americans live, for example.

:namaste:
Kim


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:44 pm 
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LastLegend wrote:

The right to protest is a privilege that most non-Western countries do not have.




Reminds me of a joke.....I want to protest against protesting but I don't know how. :lol:


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