why did you 'guess' buddhism?

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why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby coldmountain » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:09 am

I think most of us who approach religion and spiritual practice do so because we are guessing, more or less. There are so many paths to choose from, and not all are compatible with each other as to their basic claims...even if the proponents of the so-called 'perennial philosophy' say otherwise. Although, one thing that the perennialists seem to have gotten right is that just about every major religion posits an ultimate, unchanging reality beyond the phenomenal world, and so in some sense can be called theistic, whether Christian, Muslim, or Hindu. Buddhism seems to stand rather alone in its contrary position.

Given that all religions make claims that are at least not practically verifiable to newcomers or even to pretty advanced practicers, again, it seems we all guess. Hinduism makes claims based on realized experience. Even Plato thru to Plotinus, with the theory of ideal forms, essences, and emanations from the 'One' all the way to the 'material world' claims to have realized these truths in contemplation. Buddhism makes powerful logical arguments against such ideas, but ultimately it seems that any such argument rests upon one's own presuppositions. For Advaita Vedanta, the Self is real and change is illusory, simply because their basic concept of reality is that of self-knowledge. For them, it makes little difference that it is not logical to say that the self both changes and doesn't change, because that is simply the power of the Self, and there is no separate reality apart from Self to judge otherwise.

So why did you 'guess' Buddhism? What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct above realized Hindu or Platonist masters?

Thanks.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:13 am

coldmountain wrote:What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct?


1) Dependent origination.
2) Emptiness.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Virgo » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:30 am

coldmountain wrote:I think most of us who approach religion and spiritual practice do so because we are guessing, more or less. There are so many paths to choose from, and not all are compatible with each other as to their basic claims...even if the proponents of the so-called 'perennial philosophy' say otherwise. Although, one thing that the perennialists seem to have gotten right is that just about every major religion posits an ultimate, unchanging reality beyond the phenomenal world, and so in some sense can be called theistic, whether Christian, Muslim, or Hindu. Buddhism seems to stand rather alone in its contrary position.

Given that all religions make claims that are at least not practically verifiable to newcomers or even to pretty advanced practicers, again, it seems we all guess. Hinduism makes claims based on realized experience. Even Plato thru to Plotinus, with the theory of ideal forms, essences, and emanations from the 'One' all the way to the 'material world' claims to have realized these truths in contemplation. Buddhism makes powerful logical arguments against such ideas, but ultimately it seems that any such argument rests upon one's own presuppositions. For Advaita Vedanta, the Self is real and change is illusory, simply because their basic concept of reality is that of self-knowledge. For them, it makes little difference that it is not logical to say that the self both changes and doesn't change, because that is simply the power of the Self, and there is no separate reality apart from Self to judge otherwise.

So why did you 'guess' Buddhism? What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct above realized Hindu or Platonist masters?

Thanks.

Come on, I don't guess, Dude. 8-)
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:50 pm

coldmountain wrote:What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct above realized Hindu or Platonist masters?.


I couldn't outsmart their positions. Later on, when I got to know some actual Buddhists who really got it, I wanted to be like them: kind, good-humored, generous, &c.

I've met very kind Hindus & Sufis too (never a Platonist though, must be running in the wrong circles) who obviously have some kind of attainment. I'm not convinced their teachings are without error but I certainly don't make a practice out of pointing this out to them.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Kyosan » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:22 pm

I think that most people follow a particular religion because that is what they were taught to do by their family and society. That's why if you were born and live in a predominantly Christian country you are more likely to be Christian and if you were born and live in a predominantly Buddhist country you are more likely to be Buddhist. So, most people don't think deeply about it and decide for themselves.

On this forum, the situation is different. I think that many of us have thought deeply about it and converted to Buddhism from other religions. Would I call it guessing? Well, in a way it is guessing because we don't know for sure, but I wouldn't call it just guessing. I had definite reasons for choosing Buddhism. The Buddhist dharma made sense to me. And though my understanding of the dharma has changed significantly over the years, it still makes sense to me.

So why did you 'guess' Buddhism? What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct above realized Hindu or Platonist masters?

I would say that I'm not convinced that Buddhism is the only correct philosophy/religion. I'm also not convinced that Buddhism isn't the only correct philosophy/religion. :) It seems like the more I learn the less I know. There were a lot of things that I thought I knew, but now I realize that I don't know them.
:namaste:
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:10 pm

So, the question seems to be based on the fact that 'belief systems' rely on just that....belief in whatever one cannot prove, at least to one's own experience.

Many of the teachings of Buddha reconfirmed things I had always felt or 'knew', even as a child. That is, we looked at things in the same way. Later as a young adult going through all the usual anguish, the 'truth of suffering' kept proving to be true. Later still, a variety of, let's say, 'very interesting and hard to explain coincidences and experiences' assured me that this was the right path for me.

But I am always a skeptical person. I have never seen a hungry ghost, and I don't know anybody who has. I simply cannot accept things on mere faith although I will give someone who asserts things I cannot perceive the benefit of the doubt, for the sake of understanding where they are coming from. There are many who can coast on faith, and that's fine. But a person must be honest with himself or herself. That is the starting point of knowing your own mind.

So, for me, maybe the question of, 'why did I pick a set of buddhist unprovables' over some other set doesn't really apply.

To answer the last part of your question, don't know that my lama friends and are correct. I bug them constantly. So, I'm really kind of selfish. I am only concerned with whether I am satisfied with what they tell me.
So far, they have a pretty good track record.

But it is a very interesting question.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Matt J » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:38 am

I don't know any realized Platonist masters. When I first started to meditate, there wasn't a single Platonist master in the area.

Also, I don't accept the idea that Buddhist teachers are more realized than other traditions. How do you measure realization? With a cup?
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:56 am

Matt J wrote:I don't know any realized Platonist masters. When I first started to meditate, there wasn't a single Platonist master in the area.

Also, I don't accept the idea that Buddhist teachers are more realized than other traditions. How do you measure realization? With a cup?


That is because you don't understand what Buddha meant by realization.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby xabir » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:27 am

The realization of anatta and sunyata/dependent origination.

Thusness/PasserBy's Seven Stages of Enlightenment - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/ ... ience.html
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Kyosan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:29 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Matt J wrote:....Also, I don't accept the idea that Buddhist teachers are more realized than other traditions. How do you measure realization? With a cup?


That is because you don't understand what Buddha meant by realization.

N

You are probably right that he doesn't understand. In fact, I doubt that any of us know precisely what Buddha meant by realization. For sure I don't.
:namaste:
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby kirtu » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:56 pm

As a young teenager (13-14) in Hawaii I began meditating by myself. Then during one meditation I had the direct experience of the complete interdependence of everything in the universe. So this doesn't mean that I saw the workings of karma (that would be quite something :jumping: - then I wouldn't have made any mistakes afterward!) but it means that I could "feel" more or less or see that all phenomena were deeply interdependent. This lasted a while actually and as it was beginning to dissolve a family member interrupted me. In order to figure out what had happened to me I read Winston's book on world religions which was in my school library. So I figured out that this only made sense in terms of Buddhism, esp. Mahayana Buddhism. And shortly after that my father took us to Byodo-In Temple on the other side of the island on our first of two trips there. However getting to Buddhist practice wasn't a linear thing in my life. I had been exposed to Buddhism when I was 10 and then 11 and so forth from then on (and this doesn't include seeing Buddhist images in movies when I was younger) but from 16-25 I was part of a conservative Christian group and was trying to mentally work through a personal syncretic Buddhist-Christian thing until I just gave up and just started practising Buddhism only beginning with Zen Buddhism (I also practised Taoist meditation at the same time as I began Zen practice but that was to change the flow of chi so I wouldn't be angry all the time as my parents, irrespective of other good qualities, were rageaholics - and that worked). The thing that tethered me to Buddhism was this deep, direct and personal perception of interdependence.

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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:04 pm

I have never been able to understand the Bible, New or Old Testament. I've seen the movies, they helped a little. the best version I have read is R.Crumb's illustrated Old Testament. Aside from that, I don't get any of it. I don't understand why anyone would believe it. Buddhism, on the other hand, I get.

Maybe.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby padma norbu » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:41 pm

Namdrol wrote:
coldmountain wrote:What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct?


1) Dependent origination.
2) Emptiness.


This is what convinced me to begin with, although I have a bit of difficulty keeping the Dzogchen perspective on this straight. I think it is just that illusory perceptions arise from emptiness. How is not exactly clear (no clear light pun intended).
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Kyosan » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:30 am

Kyosan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Matt J wrote:....Also, I don't accept the idea that Buddhist teachers are more realized than other traditions. How do you measure realization? With a cup?


That is because you don't understand what Buddha meant by realization.

N

You are probably right that he doesn't understand. In fact, I doubt that any of us know precisely what Buddha meant by realization. For sure I don't.
:namaste:

I'd like to clarify what I said. I think that all of us understand the Dharma at some level and that is why we are Buddhists, and that is especially true for people who choose themselves to become Buddhists. We see truth and value in the Buddhist dharma. But that doesn't mean that we understand the dharma at the same level as a Buddha does.
:namaste:
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:39 am

Kyosan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Matt J wrote:....Also, I don't accept the idea that Buddhist teachers are more realized than other traditions. How do you measure realization? With a cup?


That is because you don't understand what Buddha meant by realization.

N

You are probably right that he doesn't understand. In fact, I doubt that any of us know precisely what Buddha meant by realization. For sure I don't.
:namaste:


Then you are are like a man shooting arrows in the dark.

N
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:41 am

Kyosan wrote:I'd like to clarify what I said. I think that all of us understand the Dharma at some level and that is why we are Buddhists, and that is especially true for people who choose themselves to become Buddhists. We see truth and value in the Buddhist dharma. But that doesn't mean that we understand the dharma at the same level as a Buddha does.
:namaste:


When someone understands what the Buddha meant by "realization" then they will understand that this term does not apply to those outside the Buddhist fold.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Kyosan » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:59 am

coldmountain wrote:I think most of us who approach religion and spiritual practice do so because we are guessing, more or less. There are so many paths to choose from, and not all are compatible with each other as to their basic claims...even if the proponents of the so-called 'perennial philosophy' say otherwise. Although, one thing that the perennialists seem to have gotten right is that just about every major religion posits an ultimate, unchanging reality beyond the phenomenal world, and so in some sense can be called theistic, whether Christian, Muslim, or Hindu. Buddhism seems to stand rather alone in its contrary position.
Thanks.


I think that Buddhism says there is an ultimate, reality that we see when we eliminate our delusion and view the world through enlightened eyes. I wouldn't say that this reality is beyond the phenomenal world because it is the phenomenal world.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Kyosan » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:09 am

Namdrol wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I'd like to clarify what I said. I think that all of us understand the Dharma at some level and that is why we are Buddhists, and that is especially true for people who choose themselves to become Buddhists. We see truth and value in the Buddhist dharma. But that doesn't mean that we understand the dharma at the same level as a Buddha does.
:namaste:


When someone understands what the Buddha meant by "realization" then they will understand that this term does not apply to those outside the Buddhist fold.

N

I think that the one Buddha vehicle and the way of bodhisattvas can be very broad. That is how I envision them.
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:52 am

coldmountain wrote:So why did you 'guess' Buddhism?

I met Buddhists who seemed happy and wanted to be like that...
coldmountain wrote:What convinces you that realized Buddhist masters are correct above realized Hindu or Platonist masters?

For me it's a working hypothesis.

:anjali:
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Re: why did you 'guess' buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:00 pm

Kyosan wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Kyosan wrote:I'd like to clarify what I said. I think that all of us understand the Dharma at some level and that is why we are Buddhists, and that is especially true for people who choose themselves to become Buddhists. We see truth and value in the Buddhist dharma. But that doesn't mean that we understand the dharma at the same level as a Buddha does.
:namaste:


When someone understands what the Buddha meant by "realization" then they will understand that this term does not apply to those outside the Buddhist fold.

N

I think that the one Buddha vehicle and the way of bodhisattvas can be very broad. That is how I envision them.


There is a great fault in being closed minded. There are equally great faults in being overly broad minded.

In reality, without the realization of the meaning dependent origination, one is not an awakened person. Dependent origination is solely the teaching of the Buddha. Yes it is true that some persons figure out dependent origination without the benefit of being taught by a Buddha. But such people do not teach.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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