when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby Jnana » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:01 am

songhill wrote:Are you suggesting that nirvana is simply the absence of craving that, in itself, it is not positive?

The Sūtrasamuccaya, attributed to Nāgārjuna, quotes the Saṃyuktāgama as follows:

    I shall point out to you, monks, nirvāṇa and the path leading to it. Then, what is nirvāṇa? It is this: the cessation of desire, aversion, and delusion. And what is the path leading to nirvāṇa? It is just this one: the holy eightfold path.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:12 pm

Referring to the analogy of the window, of cleaning the dirt from the window,
if the question is about what, if anything is gained (by "nirvana"),
when the window is clean, you don' t really even see the window.
That's the analogy of of "no self".
But you see everything that you didn't see before.
You can look out through that window and see the Sun, which is 93 million miles away.
That's not too bad of a feat!
When the mind isn't obscured, there is nothing to limit awareness.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:56 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
But to respond to a few of your comments,
No, the Pali literature does not threaten my understanding, or 'destroy the basis' of my practice.


Dunno why youre so fed up with Pali literature. I'm not really speaking about Pali literature nor am I saying that the Pali texts are right and the later sutras are wrong. My understanding is that the Pali texts have soe traces left of what the historical person Gautama has said, while other Sutras and Shastras might contain very cool stories and neat presentations of philosophical concepts, but are a prouct of the thoughts of monks and layman at their time. Thats all.

If you rely on snippets from one text or another, and apply them narrowly, then yes, you can establish a lot of contradictions.
But you can widen the context of your understanding and see
where all these different teachings and schools lead to the same thing.
People should really read from all these sources, I think.


Yes.

As far as why Buddhists need "faith" ...I would say "faith" (and you could substitute a lot of words for that) but i think in the Buddhist context it is more of a tool, or method for letting go of attachment.


That I want to see :tongue:
Let me give you two examples. Say you want a new car and you walk to the dealer and ask him for a car you like and the first thing the dealer says before showing you the car is that you need to awaken faith that this car is going to work. Wouldnt you raise an eyebrow? Or you are in a restaurant and the waitor brings you your dish and asks you to strongly believe that its going to taste well. Wont you start getting doubts about the food? And this is about things that you can actually see and touch.
What I dont understand in my past self nor you (meaning religous people) is that why dont you raise an eyebrow if someone tells you to believe in the content of some old text written by someone youve never even met and whichs content you cant verify.

Intellectual understanding is a great thing, but it can also be something that we cling to for in order to justify how right we are about this or that.


intellectal understanding is essential to know right from wrong and to distinguish myth from fact.

"Faith" is really, a totally stupid thing...and that's the beauty of it. Chanting to be reborn is Amitabha's Pure Land is probably one of the most idiotic things a person can do --from an intellectual perspective--and that is why it is so liberating. It is the manifestation of the complete letting go of the self. But Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on this sort of thing.


Here for example you present the "letting go of the self" as a result of chanting the name of a Buddha or his pureland as a fact. But its not.

There is a term used in Japanese Pure Land buddhism, ShinJin, which is usually translated as 'faith", but that is not really the right meaning. It doesn't mean blind faith or "belief" as one usually thinks of "belief in God". The meaning has more to do with absolute conviction based on what one considers to be valid reasoning. This does not contradict what the Buddha taught. A lot of Buddhists, especially , I think, in the west, are not motivated at all by fear of rebirth, or by karma or by some abstract notion of 'enlightenment'. Buddha said to test out the teachings, apply them fully to one's own experience and then see if, in one's own experience, they prove to be valid.


Yes Ive read that more than once in this thread and its wrong.
If you say that "because I can test it out for myself, therefore its right" than I would first acknowledge that this makes sense, you are saying "since A therefore B", which needs A as being existing. It doesnt exist in your case though since you cant test it out. If you want to test out if you really get reborn in Sukhavathi or get enlightenment through "direct perception" of emptiness etc. then to be able to use it as evidence you have to actually have that in your hands. You have to be in the pure land or be enlightened so your logic works.

If you think of rebirth as only occurring when the physical body perishes, and regard consciousness as a sort of "thing" that goes from one body to another, the way a soul goes to heaven in Christianity, that is a very common but simplistic way of understanding. Buddha taught that there is nothing that exists that can be truly regarded as a 'self", so what can die and what can be reborn? Yet, awareness persists from moment to moment, even in an ever-changing, ever dying and ever-being reborn body. We die and are reborn every second. Every part of the baby you were when you were born is dead! A dead baby. gone. It is the illusion of a continuous "me" that causes problems. So, from the Buddhist point of view, awareness is not dependent on any continuity of the body whatsoever to begin with, so rebirth from moment to moment or lifetime to lifetime is pretty much the same thing. An arbitrary distinction.


Dont see the point, sorry. :shrug:

Anyway, what is your point?
.


Just making conversation.

Joda, please correct me if I am mistaken,
but I think you are regarding "enlightenment"
in much the same way that Christians regard heaven,
as a sort of a final destination or goal thing.


Enlightenment is either when you destroy the three poisons in the stage of arahanthood or if you reach Buddhahood in Akanishta. It is a final goal.

But what the Dharma teaches is how to experience joy without depending on it
and how to experience sadness without dwelling on it.
A little bit of enlightenment gained from non-attachment to the passing appearances of things.


I honestly think thats something that good parents should teach their children. Has nothing to do with enlightenment.

In spite of many western scholarly interpretations,
The Dharma is really more process-oriented than goal oriented.
It's not like you are wallowing in samsara an then you try really hard and then suddenly you have achieved nirvana,
like trying to get a stubborn cork out of a wine bottle.
And so you often hear The Buddha being referred to as having attained
"Complete Enlightenment", meaning having completely eliminated
the generation (karma) of attachment, revulsion and ignorance
(called the three poisons) and all of their various manifestations (greed, anger, and so on).


We are going into repetitive-land here, really. I would just tell you again that I dont see any evidence that this final elimination is either possible or healthy. I dont think pursuing this exchange of ideas is going to give any new input.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:08 pm

porkchop wrote:First it's important to define Pure Land practice - you recite the name AND you visualize, not only the Pure Land, but the qualities of the Buddha of Infinite Light (a Tathagata).
Mantra recitation is a very well established form of single-pointed meditation.
The foundations of PureLand appear in Mahayana from the get go.
The Sukhāvatīvyūhasūtra was translated into Chinese around 147A.D. - it's safe to say it existed before that.


Its correct and I remember that the first PL sutra was quite old. I also remember tho that there was the theory that its actually a Persian cult originally. Its also correct that there is recollection of the Buddha as a practice of mindfullness. Those two things are not the same thing, though - there is no mentioning of visualisation or a buddhaland or mantras.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby joda » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:22 pm

wisdom wrote:
joda wrote:Sure, you are reducing the whole spectrum of all the complex problems of the world to the problem of rebirth. Makes sense - if you believe in it.


Not really. Rebirth doesn't even have to be mentioned when considering the causes of suffering. Whether or not we are reborn we suffer in the here and now, which is all that we have anyways.


Well I have written it in another reply a bit above, I dont see many of the problems we have as originating from attachment and ignorance. From the Buddhist POV thats right, yea, but mainly due to the metaphysical idea that realtiy itself is a manifestation of these two among other things. That Buddhists trace all our problems to avidya and Co seems mainly a perceptive error created by religiously biased perception.

The physical idea of reality as you call it would be the relative truth as opposed to absolute truth.


Dunno about that. Ive really never found an absolute truth in Buddhism or somewhere else. All is relative.

But an intellectual understanding is still different than experiencing the dissolution and subsequent illumination of realizing emptiness.


Why are you so convinced there is such a thing?

Sure I can!


Noooooes :tantrum:

But in all seriousness I didn't read every response in the thread so I actually though you were referring to whether or not enlightenment as a "thing" exists in "actual reality", which is why I took my response where I did. I really don't like twisting peoples words, and always try to reach an understanding with them even if I disagree.


No problem. Even I having read and written posts here dont remember much anymore of what happened :tongue: .

Sure it is, it gives a person the ability to completely liberate themselves in one life if they apply themselves. Everything anyone does to reach enlightenment eventually just ends up with awareness of your true nature. Enlightenment exists as an object only as qualities which develop and are displayed by a person, and those qualities are obtained naturally by abiding in ones true nature. It all comes back to the same point, at least as I see it.


You dont grasp the problem it seems. Example.
Lets say I read the sutras and I read that the minimum amount of time one needs to get enlightened according to teh Sathipathanasutta is seven days. So I want to sit down and dotn get up until im done. There is no such map. There is no tutorial how to get it. Thats what I was saying. Honestly I dont buy into that "space out of which phenomena originate" stuff at all, for me its not even Buddhist - but that would be too offtopic here. Btu even if you say that you get direct perception of the nature of your mind through some sort of telepathical surgeon work of another person ( :crazy: ) - the same problem exists. Your texts say just abide in there and everything will work out and you choose tobelieve that. But you can neither explain that nor have any idea what youre actually doing. For me for example this introduction to the natrue of mind is merely showing you the way consciousness is. But theres nothing special about it at all. Sure it has weird features compared to matter, but I dont see any reason why abiding (what exactly abides there anyways) in this state (sinc ewhen is it a state) will get you enlightened (how). :shrug:
But here, too - its getting repetitive, I'm really just rephrasing the same things over and over again.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:50 pm

joda wrote:What I dont understand in my past self nor you (meaning religous people) is that why dont you raise an eyebrow if someone tells you to believe in the content of some old text written by someone youve never even met and whichs content you cant verify.


Well, I can only repeat what I have said before, with some additions.

1. I always take a skeptical approach...My eyebrows are very busy.
(I don't believe everything just because somebody says it,
although I am often willing to give my teachers the benefit of the doubt,
try out what they suggest, and see the results for myself)

2. You can verify the teachings by practicing them.
(But first you have to actually understand what it is you are trying to verify.)

Actually, let me clarify that.
You can verify everything that you need to verify, that applies to your own situation.
If you are referring to something such as Buddha lands
or something that you cannot directly perceive
then what difference does it make if you can verify them or not?
Don't worry about that. If somebody just made that up, so what?
All the different countries of the world are just figments of peoples imagination too.
Buddhism isn't like some types of Christian theological structures
where for example, if you don't believe in God or the virgin birth or the resurrection,
the whole things falls apart.
Dharma is a set of tools. You use what you need when you need it.
If you pick up a hammer and say, "well, where is this so-called house you are trying to build?"
and ten decide that since there is no house, the hammer is useless,
then you don't understand what the tools are for.
Aside from that,
You don't have to believe the dharma teachings in order to practice them.
But if you don't test out the teachings through practice, and see if they are valid or not,
regardless of belief or non-belief,
if you are merely speculating without actually doing,

...then this delightful conversation is pointless.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby redhen » Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:41 pm

steveb1 wrote:My friend says that viewing Jupiter's moons through a telescope is genuine evidence because it consists of sensually shared and observed data about objects "out there" that can be verified by plain sight. He says that meditation's data are not real evidence because they do not point to an observable "out there", but merely to a subjective, albeit possibly repeatable, personal experience.


So unless your friend can see an object, it doesn't exist? He's fallen for the scientism fallacy, which states that "if science can't see it, measure it, analyze it, it's not real". But that's a self defeating argument. How did he empirically prove this claim? It's not a scientific claim, it's a philosophical claim, and he came to this "knowledge" without any physical evidence. His argument is self-defeating.

Oh yeah, my first post here, hi all. /wave
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PorkChop » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:21 pm

joda wrote:Its correct and I remember that the first PL sutra was quite old. I also remember tho that there was the theory that its actually a Persian cult originally. Its also correct that there is recollection of the Buddha as a practice of mindfullness. Those two things are not the same thing, though - there is no mentioning of visualisation or a buddhaland or mantras.


I think you're splitting hairs to suit your argument.
So you're just going to ignore the obvious parallels between Pure Abodes and Pure Lands?
How much research exactly have you done into Pure Land practice?
There are definitely 2 levels to it and yes, at it's heart it is recollection of the Buddha as a practice of mindfulness.
What are the differences between recollection and visualization? ...and if the visualization is symbolic of the exact traits to be recollected?
So you're denying the capability of achieving single-pointedness of mind through mantra recitation?

Here's a pretty interesting discussion on your Persian theory (scroll down to the comments).
The only evidence I've seen for that claim is the Conze reference, which seems somewhat indirect - saying the trinities of both use similar symbolism.
Both Zoroastrianism and Pure Land sutras shared the same language, and thus the same terms.
I know Brian Ruhe likes to spout off that theory a lot, but he's displayed a consistency for spouting off bad info as some sort of position of fundamentalist orthodoxy.
The comments also reference that "Pure Land" should be translated as "Pure Abode" (śuddhanivāsa) - remember, Pure Abode is translated from Pali, Pure Land is translated from Sanskrit.

Probably shouldn't knock Pure Land till you've tried it.
If you knock out 10,000 to 50,000 mantra recitations in a day like a lot of Pure Landers do, I'd be surprised if your attainments in meditation didn't improve.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:48 pm

joda wrote:
Dunno why youre so fed up with Pali literature.

fed up??

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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:05 pm

joda wrote:
Lets say I read the sutras and I read that the minimum amount of time one needs to get enlightened according to the Sathipathana sutta is seven days. So I want to sit down and don't get up until I'm done. There is no such map. There is no tutorial how to get it. That's what I was saying.


I don't understand what you are saying.

What "map" or tutorial are you referring to?

Suppose two people decide to learn to play the piano,
so they get some instruction material and start practicing.
One person is able to play very well in a short amount of time, maybe a year.
The other practices and practices but never quite gets the hang of it.

having a good teacher is very helpful.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby Ukigumo » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:11 pm

I am coming very late to this thread, but to respond to the OP it sounds to me like your friend has quite a few silly beliefs themselves.

Specifically, it sounds like they believe one or more of the following:

*The only phenomena that are real are those that can be quantified and are subject to experimentation under controlled laboratory conditions

*The only knowledge which is valid is that which is obtained by the above methods

*Consciousness, subjectivity and mental phenomena are reducible to physiochemical brain states

*Death is a final end, with no continuity of consciousness or mental phenomena


I would turn around to your friend and ask them to provide evidence and argumentation in support of these metaphysical views. Science does not actually provide evidence for any of these propositions; you cannot justify the methodology of science by invoking the methodology of science, since that is tautological. Even the third one (consciousness being reducible to the brain) is actually not borne out by research. No one has found a neurological correlate of consciousness, and there is a vast philosophical literature debating this issue. The others, of course, are just speculative as any other views on the subject.

While I don't know your friend, if they are like many self-appointed "skeptics" and "rationalists", their belief system is probably build on more unexamined assumptions than your own.

:soapbox:
All compound phenomena are like a dream;
a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning
That is how to meditate on them
That is how to observe them
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby steveb1 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:01 am

Ukigumo wrote, "While I don't know your friend, if they are like many self-appointed "skeptics" and "rationalists", their belief system is probably build on more unexamined assumptions than your own."

Thanks, Uki, for the encouraging post - and again thanks to all others who are replying :)
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby greentara » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:59 am

Padma,"Buddhism isn't like some types of Christian theological structures
where for example, if you don't believe in God or the virgin birth or the resurrection,
the whole things falls apart."
I don't entirely agree with you, most Buddhists would believe in the possibility of nirvana(liberation) surely thats the carrot?
Remember Christianity is a desert religion. The desert is cruel and very silent. Most people fear silence whether you are Christian or Buddhist. People want distraction and only a few find comfort in the silence, even fewer find bliss.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:42 am

greentara wrote:Padma,"Buddhism isn't like some types of Christian theological structures
where for example, if you don't believe in God or the virgin birth or the resurrection,
the whole things falls apart."
I don't entirely agree with you, most Buddhists would believe in the possibility of nirvana(liberation) surely thats the carrot?
Remember Christianity is a desert religion. The desert is cruel and very silent. Most people fear silence whether you are Christian or Buddhist. People want distraction and only a few find comfort in the silence, even fewer find bliss.


One does not have to "believe" that when you remove the causes of suffering
that the suffering produced by that cause will cease.
It is easily provable.
When the nature of suffering is understood,
one can infer that a perfect cessation of suffering is feasible
when one cuts off the causes, perfectly.
You can call such an inference "belief"
but I don't think it is exactly the same thing.

People want peace in the mind, and seek in in distractions.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby greentara » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:03 am

Padma, "People want peace in the mind, and seek it in distractions" so true!
Obviously the 'road map' in Buddhism and various other eastern schools are better but you can't ignore devotion ... as it's the core, the juice of any spiritual path.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:38 am

I think devotion and religious belief are two different things.
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby greentara » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:04 am

Some are more fit for devotion then others.
If you have complete faith and devotion in your teacher, it will take you to the goal!
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Re: when asked for ... "evidence" ... ideas, please ?

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:24 am

Devotion is doing something for its own sake, doing it because it is worth doing, not because there is some external reason for doing it. It is the same as dedication. Easy to say, hard to do.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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