Guty wrote:Why do people love and believe in miracles? Why are they willing to die defending the most annoying, preposterous, stupidest stories in the world?
Because belief in miraculous persons gives them hope that their becoming and their doing, their conceptual minds based in hope, that future will bring something exceptional tomorrow and that one day will become "somebody special". It is an opiate. It helps escape reality that is too boring for dreamers. When you get rid of becoming and establish yourselves in reality, you'll see that these are redundant and toxic and help keeping minds in the loop of becoming. Once you find out you can't ever become anything else than you already are, the demand for the miraculous falls off.
This year will be the 30th anniversary of my taking refuge with a Tibetan teacher, who is very highly regarded.
In all of that time, I don't know that he ever did anything 'miraculous' that cannot also be given a different explanation.
I took the five precepts from him, including the vow to not drink. This was important for me, because I was in the habit of getting dangerously intoxicated on a regular basis, and pretty drunk every day otherwise, and had not been able to find an effective way to stop. Immediately after that (taking precepts), I completely lost any and all desire
to drink. Even when I was given some alcohol since then, the taste was not something I craved. Naturally, one could argue that this is all my own doing and there is no way to dispute it. Either way, the effect is miraculous even if the cause isn't
I have also been at a ceremony (vajrayana empowerment) in which, at one point, everything seemed to be radiating golden light, and many of the people, a couple hundred or so, in attendance, including myself were so moved by the experience that tears were rolling down our cheeks.
It was a ceremony conducted by a "high" lama, and it was as though for a few moments he had opened a window and shown everybody what was "really"
real. It was a kind of feeling.
Of course, you can turn on the TV any time and see church shows where people cry and faint and scream "Hallelu-yah" and have all kinds of similar experiences. So, again, as you say, there is no way to specifically say it was caused by the things people say it was (a teacher's enlightenment, the glory of god, etc.). But, if some truth of "miracles" are not what a person's interest in Dharma practice is based on, then I don't think it actually matters if people subscribe to them or not, regardless of whether the emphasis is actually on the result, or on the cause.
I just want to mention these events because with or without them, my Dharma practice/conviction, what motivates me, is not based on miraculous stories whatsoever. Like you, I do not put much stock in relics or rainbows. And honestly, even among my dharma friends who seem to me rather obsessed by relics, I don't know any Buddhists who, even if they are into these things, base their practice on such things. If they did, I think there would be reason great for the concern you seem to have. At the same time, I think the Buddhist teachings, and the Vajrayana in general, reveal an understanding of the infinite nature of the mind and of the objects that the mind comes into contact with. Likewise, those who have devoted their entire lives to the study and practice of certain yogas or whatever you want to call them, are quite possibly able to do extraordinary
things, but which are extraordinary
simply because ordinary explanations are based on a comparatively limited understanding of how the components of our 'reality' actually arise. Whether someone wants to pursue that or not is up to them. for me, and I think perhaps for you as well, it would be a distraction.
There was something you said earlier:
You will see, if you will ever care to investigate, that the historical backgrounds of many religious events is unverifiable and often in favor of the skeptical premise, that there never was this and that person, never happened this and that miraculous even, or that some place as told by ancients, never existed historically. You will see, if you will ever care to investigate, that the historical backgrounds of many religious events is unverifiable and often in favor of the skeptical premise, that there never was this and that person, never happened this and that miraculous even, or that some place as told by ancients, never existed historically.
...and this brings up an interesting factor that distinguishes Buddhism from religion. We do not know who the first person was who rubbed two sticks together and produced fire, or made sparks by striking flint against a piece of metal. We can imagine it was a cave man or something, but we don't know. However, we can do exactly the same thing today and get the same results (that is how cigarette lighters work).
Likewise, we do not have any tangible proof that a Buddha ever said any of the things he is supposed to have said, so even if we were to assume that the entirety of Buddhism has been made up over the centuries, the fact is that you can still practice those teachings, regardless of who said them, and in doing so be liberated from suffering, and that is what validates them. You'll just have to wait until you die to find out for yourself some of that other stuff.
Until then, what is the point of disparaging others?