Dzogchen and Ethics

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Re: Dzogchen and Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 24, 2012 7:30 pm

Adamantine wrote:Buddhadharma, even if it recognizes a greater value in human life, still sees significant value in the lives of all other beings, including animals. Part of this is recognizing that our own mindstreams can incarnate in such forms, and that any animals or other beings may have been a close relation to us in prior lives. This is a practical way to see an equalizing factor that instills a naturally arising empathy: Kantian theory doesn't even have a trace of this. I don't find any solace in his ethical theory regarding animals.


The point of this exercise was not to say that Kant's teaching was better than the Buddha's. The point was the remove the objection that a theory of rebirth was necessary to behave as a moral agent, which is essentially what DKR was saying. I did not agree with it when he said it in Walden, I do not agree with it now. And I never would be so foolish as to use it as an example.

However, there is a level of sophistication of discourse in western moral philosophy which is absent in Buddhist philosophy. As you know, moral philosophy did not end with Kant, nor begin with him.

It is a good thing we have such as a Journal of Buddhist Ethics, because slowly Buddhist philosphers will gain sophistication when discussing these issues among themselves and with others.

On the other hand, Buddhists also use animals as things all the time.

M
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu May 24, 2012 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dzogchen and Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu May 24, 2012 8:25 pm

Adamantine,

It's a different matter. It depends. Most worrying is why one denies rebirth or has trouble accepting it. What's behind such attitude? It may be because one is reifying illusion by different motives. Generally this happens when people are materialistically minded, so they tend to have a metaphysical realist worldview.
That is, IMO, the worst problem, not the ethical use of the theory of rebirth. I find such use a little selfish. I "behave" not out of compassion but because I don't want to suffer. The same for that "all beings were my mothers" pedagogical tool. It works, but it has attachment at its base: I am attached to my mother, so I like her (because she was good to me). If other beings were my mothers, then I must like them too (because they were good for me once). I mean, it works, but it's quite primitive.
Compassion, true compassion, is much deeper and has much deeper foundations on wisdom. :smile:
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Re: Dzogchen and Buddhism

Postby Adamantine » Thu May 24, 2012 8:36 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Adamantine,

It's a different matter. It depends. Most worrying is why one denies rebirth or has trouble accepting it. What's behind such attitude? It may be because one is reifying illusion by different motives. Generally this happens when people are materialistically minded, so they tend to have a metaphysical realist worldview.
That is, IMO, the worst problem, not the ethical use of the theory of rebirth. I find such use a little selfish. I "behave" not out of compassion but because I don't want to suffer. The same for that "all beings were my mothers" pedagogical tool. It works, but it has attachment at its base: I am attached to my mother, so I like her (because she was good to me). If other beings were my mothers, then I must like them too (because they were good for me once). I mean, it works, but it's quite primitive.
Compassion, true compassion, is much deeper and has much deeper foundations on wisdom. :smile:


Again, this doesn't even relate to any points I was making, and I believe it is off topic. We can have this conversation elsewhere but I did not raise the issue of the ethical use of the theory of rebirth. The point is, how do Dzogchen teachings function without any belief, in the sense of Batchelor's "Buddhism Without Beliefs? I don't think based on what and how ChNN teaches, that this is his intent.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Dzogchen and Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Sat May 26, 2012 6:16 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
In regards to the philosophical approaches to ethics within an existential or scientific-materialist framework, perhaps there can be found an infinite number of reasons to act ethically. But ethics are completely subjective in many ways, as is the idea of non-harm. For many, capital punishment, or abortion as a means of family-planning, or even torture are considered ethical for many. And even if some nominal sense of ethics can be found in materialistic traditions or those of other religions, your above quotations included, I think the six paramitas would be way outside of their comfort-zones, and would appear completely nonsensical.


It is quite clear from your statement you have not delved into the Western tradition of moral philosophy very deep.

The impact of Kant's metaphysic of morals is very simple, and can be stated as follows: "A rational being has the obligation to protect other rational beings, even and especially at their own expense because rational beings must never be used as a means for our own end as we would never wish to be used as means."

The entire human rights movement grew out of Kant's moral metaphysics. In terms of moral philosophy, Buddhism is far behind the curve in terms of sophistication, for the most part still in the 14th century somewhere.

I agree very much. In our civil society, people of various backgrounds, beliefs, persuasions, financial means, methods of employment, and so on, get along just fine for the most part. Of course, humans are human so we will never have a perfect eutopia (and thinking we could would be harboring a supremely naive fantasy imo) but we do quite well I think.

K
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Re: Dzogchen and Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Mon May 28, 2012 2:04 am

Malcolm wrote:My father is a former philosophy professor

M

Wow that's interesting.

Kevin
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Re: Dzogchen and Ethics

Postby greentreee » Mon May 28, 2012 8:25 pm

Sönam wrote:What is unnecessary

Six things are unnecessary when you apply profound teachings to your experience:
If your good qualities flourish wherever you stay, you need not remain in solitude.
If you experience the freedom of your concepts in their own ground, you need not renounce sansara.
If you can guard against heedlesness, you need not worry about appreasing other's minds.
If you realize that mind itself is uncontrived, you need not study the scriptures.
If you realize that whatever you perceive is illusory, you need not try to ward off fixation.
If you recognize that the way of abiding is your own true nature, you need not seek buddhahood.
Those for whom these things are no longer necessary are great spirituel people, truly sublime beings.

- Longchen Rabjam - Man ngag rin po che'i mdzod - Precious Treasury of Pith Instructions -



great quote!

thanks.

i read this this morning.

from...
Treatise of the Samadhi of the Precious King

By mindfulness of Buddha we do not seek to be free from sickness. If the body were without sickness, then cravings and desires would easily arise.

In dealing with the world we do not seek to have no difficulties. If the world were without difficulties, then arrogance and sloth would surely arise.

In investigating mind we do not seek to be absent of obstructions. If the mind were without obstructions, then we would overstep the proper stages of our studies.

In our conduct we do not seek to have no delusions. If our conduct were without delusion, then our vows would not be firm. In making plans for things, we do not seek easy success. If we have easy success in affairs, then the will stays slack and proud.

When we form relationships with people, we do not seek to benefit ourselves. If we form relationships for self-aggrandizement, this damages morality.

We do not seek to have other people accommodate us. If other people accommodate us, our hearts are sure to grow complacent.

When we practice generosity, we do not expect a reward. If we expect to be rewarded for meritorious deeds, then we have ulterior motives.

When we see something beneficial, we do not seek to profit from it. If we seek to profit from what is beneficial, the mind of ignorance is active.

When we are oppressed, we do not seek speedy vindication. If we seek speedy vindication, then animosity and resentment increase.

Thus, when the sages established their teaching, they considered sickness and suffering as medicines, troubles and difficulties as freedom and ease, obstacles and barriers as liberation, and the multitude of delusions as the companions to Reality. They considered being bogged down in difficulties as success, broken relationships as sustenance, disagreeable people as gardens and forests, and the merit of generosity as worn-out shoes. They considered keeping away from profit as riches and suffering oppression as a method of practice.

Thus dwelling amidst obstacles nevertheless brings a way through them, and seeking a way through on the contrary brings obsctructions. Thus the Tathagata attained the path of enlightenment amidst obstacles and obstructions. The likes of [the murderer] Angulimalya and [the renegade] Devadatta came to do him harm, but our Buddha gave them predictions of salvation, and transformed them so they became enlightened. Is it not the case that [for those who truly follow Buddha's example], when others go against us, it is really favorable to us, and that when others try to damage us, it really helps us succeed? But at the present time, if conventional worldly people studying the Path do not first dwell amidst obstacles, then when obstacles do arrive, they will not be able to push them aside. Thus the great jewel of the Dharma King will be lost. Is this not lamentable?

page 216,217, 218 Basic Buddhism: Exploring Buddhism and Zen. by Nan Huai Chin isbn:1578630207

yes, it's not quite as condensed, and it's part of the Pure Land Sect. i just saw similarities and thought i'd pass it along.
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