m0rl0ck wrote: kirtu wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:And that is the heart of the whole matter. Do you beleive your experience or indulge in the comfort of faith?
That also is complex.
But it neednt be. it only becomes complex when you suborn your practice in service of views and ego. Its called spiritual materialism.
As I understand spiritual materialism (and I'm not so fond of Trungpa Rinpoche's presentation), spiritual materialism addresses acquisition of spiritual forms for ego purposes or acquisition of spiritual power for ego based purposes or generally wrapping oneself in spiritual forms for entertainment purposes or for some kind of validation purposes (again more psychological speak all the way around but one is using spirituality or spiritual forms for other than cutting suffering of self and others). An example of this is any of the forms of spiritual charlatanism that can be seen sometimes or ego based spiritual "empires" that can be seen. Another example is a kind of spiritual tourism.
What I was addressing has nothing to do with spiritual materialism (it seems that some charges of spiritual materialism are perceptions that a person is indulging in a costume party of sorts - so for example if I went around in robes or in some kind of costume that people thought I was wearing in order to draw attention to myself this sort of appropriation would be a form of spiritual materialism at least in part because people have strong cultural identifications and expectations. Some people would say the same if I visited Buddhist temples [which I do] and offered incense [which I do too] because they prejudicially think that this is a foreign acquisition of an Asian cultural form and that I am trying to draw attention to myself or act Asian*).
And that is the heart of the whole matter. Do you beleive your experience or indulge in the comfort of faith?
That also is complex. The Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism definitely says that true knowledge comes from scripture, holy teaching and also from one's experience. Of course experience (and also interpretation of scripture and teachings) can be interpreted too.
In the above exchange I think you set up a false dichotomy. Experience and faith as polar opposites (or as you put it, the indulgence in the comfort of faith - you seem to actually be advancing the thesis that people have experience on one side and the acquisition of a form of faith or a [possibly foreign] belief system on the other side - through which you are passing judgment on others [an unfortunate tendency that so-called Westerners and so-called Asians very much have in common]).
Experience and faith are not poles and are not in opposition. They inform one another and reinforce one another. Faith in Buddhism is confidence - confidence in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha or if one likes just in Buddha and Dharma or just in some Dharma and not in other Dharma, etc. depending on where one is. Different people can be in different places even if any two people say they have full faith in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
In my response above I specifically mention what the Sakya school specifically asserts: truth is known through scripture (sutra and tantra), commentary and personal experience (thus similar to the Christian Catholic view). However scripture, commentary and esp. personal experience are all interpretable and interpretations are made from the standpoint our our own mind and our minds are deeply deluded.
This is a serious problem in any tradition purporting to be a wisdom tradition: humans are deeply deluded by definition - how can we make valid assertions about truth (and would we even recognize truth)? In the West this sparked the whole Enlightenment enterprise. However the Buddhist response is different and part of the answer is that humans are not just deluded but also have some innate perception of truth (in fact this innate perception of truth created different religions as different medicines). Still human and Buddhist history is replete with examples of people doing exactly the wrong thing and not enough examples of people doing the right thing (it would be better if people just dropped their negativity regarding others but these patterns are deeply rooted and not even easily recognized).
My experience has always been that the mind survives death. Always. When I was steeped in a primarily Christian context (I was raised with both Christian and Buddhist influences although the later did not seem to affect others in my family much) the interpretation of this experience although that was inconsistent with the Buddhist interpretation that I also knew and held (thus holding two completely different and contentious interpretations of the experience at the same time). This then begs the question - how does one have an interpretation of death, survival of mind and rebirth in any way esp. as a young person [these are usually seen as topics of intellectual dissection arising in late teenhood]? And the answer is that I personally, my personal experience, always had the intuitive perception of mind surviving death and rebirth as long as I can remember. Later of course I was "educated" to suppress intuition (esp. as a male). It just comes down to that as a basis.
Then, examining the Buddhist scriptures literal rebirth really is always asserted - not a metaphorical rebirth. Increasingly this is discounted as a medieval construct - "we now know better of course". "Here be Dragons" is transmuted into "Here be No Dragons".
If people don't like rebirth (and it often just comes down to an assault on their modernist idolatry) then that is fine (esp. Zen people as the standard response from a Zen master about after death existence is "How would I know - I'm not dead yet?). However Shakyamuni in life after life based his lives fundamentally upon karma and the results of good and bad actions over many lifetimes. This is really key and can be seen irrespective of whether one "believes" in rebirth or not. Just in this life - if we indulge in negative actions we really create negative results. Usually if we create positive actions eventually we will see positive results. The truly blind are those who deny any such connection between action and result (and many people are like that too).
I would assert that if you restrict yourself to just your experience then you loose the benefit of the accumulated wisdom of any given spiritual tradition. In the case of Buddhism this means that you are actually asserting that the sublime masters of generations past were actually really restricted by the straitjacket of their times and cultural expression. And I personally don't buy that.