Is Buddhism hopeless?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Paul » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:10 pm

Do you meditate much? I'm of the opinion that buddhism is pretty pointless if you don't. Dr. Brunnholzl who wrote the massive Center of the Sunlit Sky mentions that madhyamaka is meant to be a meditative tool. I see many people just like to use it to argue etc. It''s a habit I had and hopefully am close to getting rid of.

Epistemes wrote:
I think I'm a better person now than I ever was as a Catholic, and I was a damn fine Catholic. I mean, heck, I was inches away from signing up with the Trappists. :lol:


They do better beer than us buddhists.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:18 pm

Paul wrote:Do you meditate much?


I try to meditate everyday. I'm up to about 40-45 minutes everyday.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Josef » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:19 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Paul wrote:Do you meditate much?


I try to meditate everyday. I'm up to about 40-45 minutes everyday.

What do you actually do for those 40-45 minutes?
Who taught you what to do with that time?
Why are you timing yourself?
What do you think meditation is?
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:37 pm

Nangwa wrote:What do you actually do for those 40-45 minutes?


Think. :lol:

For the remaining time, I try to do shamatha or vipissana.

Who taught you what to do with that time?


Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Geshe Tashi Tsering, and Pema Chodron - indirectly.

Why are you timing yourself?


'Cause I've got this really neat meditation timer app on my iPad.

What do you think meditation is?


An opportunity to really get to know your true self and the world around you.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby KeithBC » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:18 pm

Epistemes wrote:I cannot imagine being reborn as a stinkbug precisely because there is nothing to imagine. I quite simply would not be there at all. If rebirth is true, neither I nor any of my loved ones survive death. With rebirth, for me – the actual person I am – the story really is over. There may be another being living its life in some sort of causal connection with the life that was me (influenced by my karma), but for me there is no more. There is no more to be said about me.

Epistemes, you have a talent for not questioning your assumptions, for accepting them as though they were facts. To understand the Buddhist view, you need to start questioning your assumptions.

The big one in this passage is: what is this "I" that you talk about? You have assumed an identity for it. Is that who you actually are? What is the basis for assuming that? Where does one "I" stop and a different "I" begin?

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby AlexanderS » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:21 pm

i don't think you will reborn as a stinkbug if that helps.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Virgo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:32 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Paul wrote:Do you meditate much?


I try to meditate everyday. I'm up to about 40-45 minutes everyday.

Samatha simply calms your mind and may temporarily supress some gross defilements, that's about it (in general). Vipassana as it is traditionally taught I'm not a big fan of, but I won't go into that.

This is just a suggestion and only a suggestion: Get yourself a mala (preferally made from Bodhi seeds), and work with some mantras. Specifically, to begin with, the prajnaparamita mantra is very good-- Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha. This helps to foster an understanding of emptiness. The Chenrezig mantra is amazing-- Om mani padme hung. It helps to develop compassion. And the vajra Guru mantra, the 12 syllable mantra of Guru Rinpoche, helps clear away all obstacles to understanding and otherwise. So why not work with these 3 mantras? For example, doing a round of the prajnaparamita, a round of Chenrezig, and a round of the Vajra Guru mantra? Or three rounds of each, or a few rounds of one for a few weeks, or months, then a few rounds of the next for a few weeks or months, etc.?

Also, the suggestion for yoga was very good. Various Buddhist yogas are also used in Vajrayana. Why not start a daily yoga practice, and then at the end, chant a few rounds of mantra?

Even if you start with the light excercises, or vyamas, and one round of mantra per day that is good. You can build yourself up from there, increasing more practice every few days, by the week, or whenever you feel ready to. In Buddhist practice, consistency is important.

Just suggestions, nothing more..

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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Kyosan » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:45 pm

Paul wrote:Do you meditate much? I'm of the opinion that buddhism is pretty pointless if you don't. Dr. Brunnholzl who wrote the massive Center of the Sunlit Sky mentions that madhyamaka is meant to be a meditative tool. I see many people just like to use it to argue etc. It''s a habit I had and hopefully am close to getting rid of.

Epistemes wrote:
I think I'm a better person now than I ever was as a Catholic, and I was a damn fine Catholic. I mean, heck, I was inches away from signing up with the Trappists. :lol:


They do better beer than us buddhists.


I agree that Buddhism is about practice; it's not about philosophizing. Meditation is very important but practice doesn't just happen during sitting meditation. Ideally, a person practices all the time, which means being mindful and preventing evil thoughts from arising.

Buddhism has merit because it helps sentient beings. Judgement of Buddhism should be based on that. It's not good enough for someone who hasn't practiced Buddhism very long to say it's useless based on some philosophical argument.

And this thing about criticizing Catholics and other religions. I think that time is better spent just practicing. Buddhism is not a us-verses-them thing. Us-verses-them is one of the many forms of attachment which are to be avoided in Buddhism.
:namaste:
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:50 pm

Epistemes wrote:The thing which we all wrestle with is the death of our loved ones. Especially if you're strongly attached like me. You spend countless hours and dollars with them and on them, all of which has the appearance of meaning, and then it's over one way or another. I understand the Buddhist premise that we should be more emotionally available to all beings and not limited in our loving-kindness, but, while not impossible, it doesn't necessarily completely dispense with certain attachments that we're naturally going to have with our loved ones. But what do I know? I'm afflictively attached to people in my life, to myself, to "my world," and so much more, and I probably have accumulated only about 45 total hours on the cushion.


Life has no meaning, your relationships, your job, etc.

But when you have Dharma, then your life has meaning, and your relationships, and your job, etc.
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: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Virgo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:53 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Epistemes wrote:The thing which we all wrestle with is the death of our loved ones. Especially if you're strongly attached like me. You spend countless hours and dollars with them and on them, all of which has the appearance of meaning, and then it's over one way or another. I understand the Buddhist premise that we should be more emotionally available to all beings and not limited in our loving-kindness, but, while not impossible, it doesn't necessarily completely dispense with certain attachments that we're naturally going to have with our loved ones. But what do I know? I'm afflictively attached to people in my life, to myself, to "my world," and so much more, and I probably have accumulated only about 45 total hours on the cushion.


Life has no meaning, your relationships, your job, etc.

But when you have Dharma, then your life has meaning, and your relationships, and your job, etc.

No truer words ever spoken.

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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:59 pm

Virgo wrote:This is just a suggestion and only a suggestion: Get yourself a mala (preferally made from Bodhi seeds), and work with some mantras. Specifically, to begin with, the prajnaparamita mantra is very good-- Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha. This helps to foster an understanding of emptiness. The Chenrezig mantra is amazing-- Om mani padme hung. It helps to develop compassion. And the vajra Guru mantra, the 12 syllable mantra of Guru Rinpoche, helps clear away all obstacles to understanding and otherwise. So why not work with these 3 mantras? For example, doing a round of the prajnaparamita, a round of Chenrezig, and a round of the Vajra Guru mantra? Or three rounds of each, or a few rounds of one for a few weeks, or months, then a few rounds of the next for a few weeks or months, etc.?


Thank you. I've been practicing some mantras with my bodhi seed mala. I do find they calm the mind which makes for a "good" meditation session.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:01 pm

Namdrol wrote:But when you have Dharma, then your life has meaning, and your relationships, and your job, etc.


I, at one time, said that about Jesus Christ. Just saying.

I'm holding up one finger, not two.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:02 pm

KeithBC wrote:Epistemes, you have a talent for not questioning your assumptions, for accepting them as though they were facts. To understand the Buddhist view, you need to start questioning your assumptions.

The big one in this passage is: what is this "I" that you talk about? You have assumed an identity for it. Is that who you actually are? What is the basis for assuming that? Where does one "I" stop and a different "I" begin?

Om mani padme hum
Keith


I actually have a talent for making you think I don't question my assumptions.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Virgo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:03 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Virgo wrote:This is just a suggestion and only a suggestion: Get yourself a mala (preferally made from Bodhi seeds), and work with some mantras. Specifically, to begin with, the prajnaparamita mantra is very good-- Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha. This helps to foster an understanding of emptiness. The Chenrezig mantra is amazing-- Om mani padme hung. It helps to develop compassion. And the vajra Guru mantra, the 12 syllable mantra of Guru Rinpoche, helps clear away all obstacles to understanding and otherwise. So why not work with these 3 mantras? For example, doing a round of the prajnaparamita, a round of Chenrezig, and a round of the Vajra Guru mantra? Or three rounds of each, or a few rounds of one for a few weeks, or months, then a few rounds of the next for a few weeks or months, etc.?


Thank you. I've been practicing some mantras with my bodhi seed mala. I do find they calm the mind which makes for a "good" meditation session.

Absolutely, they work on very subtle levels. They work at any time but they are arguably even more effective after yoga, simply since the mind is calmer and ready for a good state of meditation naturally at that time. Alternatively, three or four rounds of the Vajra Guru mantra just after waking up will change your life. Why not do 2 or 3 rounds of Vajra Guru in the morning before yoga, then do a short (or long) yoga set, and then a few rounds of mantra afterwards, when your mind is super calm.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Paul » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:07 pm

Epistemes wrote:Think. :lol:

For the remaining time, I try to do shamatha or vipissana.



Personally, I think that the Theravada's vipassana techniques are the quickest way outside of tantra to see that the mind's not physical and that rebirth is much more rational than the "worm food" hypothesis. Just watching the arising and passing away of phenomena is incredible.

'Cause I've got this really neat meditation timer app on my iPad.


Is it Equanimity? I have that on my iPhone and I think it's amazing.
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"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Virgo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:11 pm

Paul wrote:Personally, I think that the Theravada's vipassana techniques are the quickest way outside of tantra to see that the mind's not physical and that rebirth is much

I did a month long intensive Mahasi retreat in Thailand, meditating 10-14 hours a day. I think it was crap. And you are talking to someone who has read everything the Mahasi Sayadaw has ever written that has been translated into English, books by other masters on the topic, and received instructions from long time teachers of it. Studying the Abhidhamma did far more for my vipassana than any technique ever did.

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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Epistemes » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:16 pm

Paul wrote:Personally, I think that the Theravada's vipassana techniques are the quickest way outside of tantra to see that the mind's not physical and that rebirth is much more rational than the "worm food" hypothesis. Just watching the arising and passing away of phenomena is incredible.


I agree. It is amazing. It also pisses me off. And then I have to watch me getting pissed off at getting pissed off. :lol:

Still, the world tends to reinforce the constancy and permanency of "me," and my febrile mind relishes in it.
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Virgo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:26 pm

Expositor
"the Bhikkhus who study the Abhidhamma experience infinite rapturous joy in reflecting..'The Teacher taught things mental and material, dividing them into various parts- things subtel and abstruse such as the aggregates sense organs, elements, controlling faculties, kamma and its results; and the distinction between mind and matter' The Thera Mahagatigamiyatissa ...was on the upper deck of a boat he looked at the great ocean...He thought to himslef which is more extraordinary - the ocean..or the basis of the method in the Patthana (last book of abhidhamma)The limits of the ocean became apparent but the limits of the universal patthana are not apparent. Abundant rapture arose in him as he reflected on the abstruse and subtle Dhamma and increasing insight he ..became established in arahantship"
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Re: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:27 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Namdrol wrote:But when you have Dharma, then your life has meaning, and your relationships, and your job, etc.


I, at one time, said that about Jesus Christ. Just saying.

I'm holding up one finger, not two.



The difference is, Jesus is outside, and he does not exist [well, dead, at any rate]. The dharma is inside of your lived experience, and depends on no one but you. It lives with you and is carried with you from life to life time. Had you not practice dharma in the past, you would not be interested in it today.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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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: Is Buddhism hopeless?

Postby Acchantika » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:28 pm

Virgo wrote:Samatha simply calms your mind and may temporarily supress some gross defilements, that's about it (in general).


I'm not sure what you are referring to, but shamatha as taught in the Tibetan traditions has nothing to do with this.
...
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