How to reconcile both views?

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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:01 pm

doubledragon wrote:My problem is, I am very comfortable with a personal view that I have of a pragmatic, godless Buddhism which can't quite fit the mold of the Tibetan rites and mythology.

Comfortable, huh? There's the problem!
Yet, the more you try to move out of your comfort zone, the bigger it will get.

Once you understands that the colorful pantheon of Vajrayana Buddhism is an expression of your own enlightened mind,
you will quit holding on to the appearances that you have so neatly categorized to fit your own preferences. Any similarity between Buddhism and various religions, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Sorry to be so blunt. Actually, I can totally relate to what you are saying. I have been there myself. I simply cannot relate in an honest way to Tara practice or visualizations....so, I don't do them. On the other hand, there are some practices that really seem to speak to me. Everybody is different and has a different 'connection' with the Dharma. But seriously, give it a try. Make it a cultural-exchange field trip if that helps.

But most important, stop clinging to what you like!
:smile:
. . .
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby TaTa » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:08 pm

doubledragon wrote:Thank you sooo much for all the answers! Both sides of the equation have been perfectly addressed and now I feel as if I had invented the wheel.
I feel I can move more freely within my personal belief of Buddhism now, accepting everything that comes my way, without any prejudice or judgment and without pretending to think I have to understand it all.
I can learn to live in the question mark for grey areas I am not so sure about yet, and focus on how Buddhism has improved my life up until now and keeps doing so.
I have been curious about secular Buddhism for a while, but the more spiritual schools attract me too, so why not take the best of both?
I'll have to put my oldies by Rhys Davids to rest despite its quaint charm, and focus on a new bibliography.
I'm sorry I can't come up with the right words, guys, but this has been a most enlightening exchange. I can still prostrate to Tara and Kuan Yin as manifestations of my own inner compassion without feeling weird, but also apply the principles of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path with rigorous scientific objectivity.
I don't feel the need to reconcile both view anymore, but somehow the pieces have grooved together.


This is a very helpfull attitude and is the one that i took till i was convinced of the mahayana/vajrayana methodoly and metaphisical claims.
I really recomend this talks
""
""

The second one really make my skeptic about my own materialist beliefs.

You should also receive and read teachings on middle way view, and reflect on that it implies on a large cosmologic level.

Im glad that you choose that healthy attitude
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby doubledragon » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:43 am

seeker242 wrote:Carl Sagan once said, with regards to things like this, "It's really ok to reserve judgment. Which really mean it's ok to say "I don't know" and leave it at that. :smile:


Hi, dzogchungpa! As to rebirth, I began to read Theosophy and Vedanta Advaita books when I was twelve before passing on to Buddhism, so I've gone through every extreme of the spectrum on that issue. Carl Sagan's quote transcribed by seeker242 perfectly applies to my opinion at the moment. I neither deny nor adhere. I'd rather not grapple at the moment with metaphysical questions, but take from the Dharma the points that better help me lead a more fulfilling life here and now. I am sure our preferences for certain people, places, times in history, our déjà-vus, might find an explanation in rebirth, but for the time being I'd rather go one step at a time and focus on more practical solutions to my life.
As to Karma, I don't think you have to stray too far beyond Samsara, to confirm its existence. You reap everyday the consequences of your own actions.

I don't know with you all, but I find it strange that after so many years (I'm in my early forties), after so much learning, so much reading, I could sometimes find myself back to square one in my beliefs. I find myself questioning the same things again and again and have a feeling that I know nothing. I'm emptying my cup instead of filling it, which I suppose is positive because I am open to all the teaching that comes my way. I feel the Dharma has enriched my life in a positive way, not so much by providing all the answers but by opening me up to more meaningful questioning.Thank you, PadmaVonSamba and TaTa, your comments are real head-openers. TaTa, those clips are excellent. And Padma, I have been giving Buddhism a try for over thirty years. I do like Buddhism, but have found myself questioning certain parts of the Dharma recently, probably because as the other members have rightly pointed out, I have been nourishing myself on 19th century bibliography. In the end, I don't have to take it all in at once. I am very humble in my approach and can live with the limitations of my intellect until I can broaden to larger concepts.

Like Jeeprs (I love Matthieu Ricard, by the way) and Ovi, sometimes I find myself leaning towards a more secular, atheist, Buddhism. But then Johnny Dangerous, PorkChop and Seishin provide the metaphysical element that enriches the equation. And then KeithBC and Seeker242 sort of round up the issue with a bit of both, and confirm my suspicion that it is okay to remain in the question until I am ready for other answers. Thank you Yan Kong and Dakini boi (I like Lama Yeshe) for your points, too.
Astus, you say that Buddhism is not a "practical religion" as seen through the 19th century lens conception of practicality. But don't you think Buddhism is very practical and pragmatic, from the standpoint that you can apply its teaching to your life and make your life more meaningful in "practical ways"? With visible results?
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:30 am

I lean towards secularism, but am not atheist, although that is not something I discuss much here. But I am in general agreement with Soyen Shaku's sermon The God-conception of Buddhism.

(Soyen Shaku was a Rinzai Zen master who spoke at the first World Parliament of Religions, in Chicago in 1888, and is generally regarded as the first emissary of Zen Buddhism to America. He was D. T. Suzuki's teacher. His speeches at the Parliament were published as Sermons of a Buddhist Abbott and are still in print.)

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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby smcj » Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:36 pm

jeeprs wrote:I lean towards secularism, but am not atheist, although that is not something I discuss much here. But I am in general agreement with Soyen Shaku's sermon The God-conception of Buddhism.

Soyen Shaku uses the term "panentheism", which I've tried to use with no acceptance. Oh well, at least I've got one dharma authority on my side!
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:03 pm

doubledragon wrote: I don't know with you all, but I find it strange that after so many years (I'm in my early forties), after so much learning, so much reading, I could sometimes find myself back to square one in my beliefs. I find myself questioning the same things again and again and have a feeling that I know nothing. I'm emptying my cup instead of filling it, which I suppose is positive because I am open to all the teaching that comes my way. I feel the Dharma has enriched my life in a positive way, not so much by providing all the answers but by opening me up to more meaningful questioning.


I think, returning to square one is almost certain. Common to most Dharma students.
It reminds me of a line from the teaching, On Believing In Mind:

When the deep mystery of one Suchness is fathomed,
All of a sudden we forget the external entanglements;
When the ten thousand things are viewed in their oneness,
We return to the origin and remain where we ever have been.

In a way, it's how everything opens up. we start at the beginning, and when we get so far, we have to look at the beginning to measure how far we have traveled. For me, returning to square one has included rethinking all of the terms and definitions that I started with, and redefining them with the things I know now that I didn't know when I first started to ask.

This is especially true when thinking about the topic of rebirth.
If there is no actual "me", then what is born and what dies?
Thoughts change constantly, and every cell of the newborn baby I once was is now dead.
So, "me " can't be the mind, and t can't be the body.
I can only conclude that "rebirth"
which is really just an imaginary sensation of a self that one clings to,
happens constantly, many times a second,
and the notion of a a single 'lifetime" sandwiched between the first breath and the last, like a set of bookends
is a mistaken appearance, just as the Earth appears to be flat, when it is actually round.
So, to me, it is not even a matter of believing or not believing in rebirth,
because the whole concept is off.
Yes, rebirth happens, but it isn't what people are expecting.
They imagine "the next life' as a single thing
because they imagine this life as a single thing,
rather than as an uncountable chain of replicating events.
They think there has been a constant "me' that lived all these years,
and then question what happens to that "me" when a person dies.
but if you understand that there has never been a constant "me"
then the question doesn't make sense any more.
So, I think that when a person can't get the right answer
it is usually because they have been asking the wrong questions.
Likewise, with deities and ghosts and so forth,
"Are they real or not?" is only a valid question
if one is comparing things to what they now assume is "real".
But if they never question the reality of their own experience, their own perceptions,
their own sensation of a "real" self,
how can comparing the reality of ghosts and deities make any sense?
. . .
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Jesse » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:15 am

They think there has been a constant "me' that lived all these years,
and then question what happens to that "me" when a person dies.
but if you understand that there has never been a constant "me"
then the question doesn't make sense any more.
So, I think that when a person can't get the right answer


I think it's really an opinion on what constitutes 'me'. Sure what I am is nothing but fleeting phenomena coming in and out of existence. essentially, we are the sum of our parts, and yet the sum of those parts creates a sentient being.
Yes the sense of 'me', is an illusion created by the continuity of experience, and the ability to compare the present with the past(Via memory), and contemplate both the past and present against the future.

So here I am, fully aware of myself, my state of being, my memories, even aware that I am mostly an illusory creature. Still, I don't feel that way, and in many ways I am not. So I wonder, what makes ultimate reality so much more important than subjective reality?

Is it because we have no choice but to accept it? Because one day we will die, and we will lose what is subjectively us. This is what most people are afraid of. Then they wonder, if these thing's aren't me, then what I am must be the awareness behind it all, so will there ever be a moment of awareness again? (The answer is Maybe. It's Impossible to know.)

So then, we must accept non-self, because there is a distinct lack of choice in the matter. I find this pretty annoying. I do not see how subjective and ultimate reality are reconcilable. In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be. Enlightenment is a sham. (Sorry).

(End Angry Rant)
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:18 am

"a constant 'me'" is a nice expression.

When "me" is an I observing an I, it is awareness being aware of awareness being aware of awareness that is aware of awareness.

:rolling:
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby smcj » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:21 am

In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.

You may be wrong about this.

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be.

You may be wrong about this.

Enlightenment is a sham.

You may be wrong about this.

(Sorry)

Me too. :shrug:
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Jesse » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:25 am

smcj wrote:
In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.

You may be wrong about this.

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be.

You may be wrong about this.

Enlightenment is a sham.

You may be wrong about this.

(Sorry)

Me too. :shrug:


I may be wrong, why? Because it's scary to think about? No wai it can be true.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:57 am

Jesse wrote:So here I am, fully aware of myself, my state of being, my memories, even aware that I am mostly an illusory creature. Still, I don't feel that way, and in many ways I am not. So I wonder, what makes ultimate reality so much more important than subjective reality?

Is it because we have no choice but to accept it? Because one day we will die, and we will lose what is subjectively us. This is what most people are afraid of. Then they wonder, if these thing's aren't me, then what I am must be the awareness behind it all, so will there ever be a moment of awareness again? (The answer is Maybe. It's Impossible to know.)

So then, we must accept non-self, because there is a distinct lack of choice in the matter. I find this pretty annoying. I do not see how subjective and ultimate reality are reconcilable. In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be. Enlightenment is a sham. (Sorry).

(End Angry Rant)


I like your rant.
ultimate reality/subjective reality, both are descriptions of the same reality.
What it comes down to, when people start thinking about how there is no self,
is basically, "oh shit...if that's true...then what will I do with all of my stuff?"
Which is also what scares people about the idea of dying.
And all of that "my stuff" is all of our emotions and thoughts and memories...just as you say.
And if a person says that enlightenment (a vague term I don't think the Buddha actually used)
is replacing one reality with another, then yes, that is a sham.
But who says there is a "we", or a destiny? That too is just more stuff.
The need to control is a sham as well.
The point isn't to replace the reality you have made up for yourself
with some other reality that somebody else made up.
the point is to be free to let stuff go, and just be.
because, since there is no self, then in every second, you are a new person.
--that's the practical application of all of this nonsense.
because you are a new person, and that person lasts for less than a second,
constantly,
then, even if you have debts and apologies to make and a lot of worldly responsibilities,
even if everything in your experience is your subjective reality,
you are finally free.
That is what the Buddha called, "the cessation of suffering"
and Mahayanists call 'liberation of sentient beings".
The only really hard part is that you just have to do it.
. . .
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Jesse » Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:01 am

The need to control is a sham as well.


Yeah. I've heard this before and it quite passes me off. If I am not in control, then who is? I don't trust the universe. There is no god to put faith in. So just hope things turn out well because we have no control?

Its akin to being a slave. Then being happy about it because the only other choice is misery.

And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible. More than likely we will never have any control over our rebirth between lives and that's based on the fluffy and cozy idea that death is not eternal annihaliation.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:48 am

Jesse wrote:
The need to control is a sham as well.


Yeah. I've heard this before and it quite passes me off. If I am not in control, then who is? I don't trust the universe. There is no god to put faith in. So just hope things turn out well because we have no control?

Its akin to being a slave. Then being happy about it because the only other choice is misery.

And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible. More than likely we will never have any control over our rebirth between lives and that's based on the fluffy and cozy idea that death is not eternal annihaliation.


So, before, you say:
we are not in control of our destinies
And now you ask:
If I am not in control, then who is?

Well, we are in control
or rather, one can be,
...not that it matters to you.

But what said was:
The need to control is a sham as well.
.
.
.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby dude » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:57 am

Jesse wrote:
The need to control is a sham as well.


Yeah. I've heard this before and it quite passes me off. If I am not in control, then who is? I don't trust the universe. There is no god to put faith in. So just hope things turn out well because we have no control?

Its akin to being a slave. Then being happy about it because the only other choice is misery.

And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible. More than likely we will never have any control over our rebirth between lives and that's based on the fluffy and cozy idea that death is not eternal annihaliation.


Yeah, I'm kind of annoyed by a "just accept it" attitude too, especially as it applies to pain and suffering in the mundane world. Either we have a way to reduce our suffering and progress on the way to end all suffering, or we don't. It's not unreasonable to demand proof.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:05 am

Jesse wrote:
The need to control is a sham as well.


Yeah. I've heard this before and it quite passes me off. If I am not in control, then who is? I don't trust the universe. There is no god to put faith in. So just hope things turn out well because we have no control?

Its akin to being a slave. Then being happy about it because the only other choice is misery.

And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible. More than likely we will never have any control over our rebirth between lives and that's based on the fluffy and cozy idea that death is not eternal annihaliation.


These terms, expressed as you have expressed them...
There is no god to put faith in
So just hope things turn out well
the only other choice is misery
purify our karma

...shows that your understanding of the concept of rebirth (in the Buddhist context)
is a lot more superficial than you think it is.
If what you think Buddhists believe is a load of crap
perhaps what you think Buddhists believe is a load of crap.
. . .
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:09 am

dude wrote:
Yeah, I'm kind of annoyed by a "just accept it" attitude too, especially as it applies to pain and suffering in the mundane world. Either we have a way to reduce our suffering and progress on the way to end all suffering, or we don't. It's not unreasonable to demand proof.

1. Who says, 'just accept it" ?
2. what are they telling you to accept?
3. for 2500 years people have been using Buddhism to relieve suffering.
4. you can't make somebody end their own suffering if they don't want to,
and frankly, most people would rather just keep repeating their mistakes because that's what they know how to do best.
. . .
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:10 am

Jesse wrote:And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible.


What would 'proof' consist of?

The way I see it, Buddhism provides ways of approaching big questions about the meaning of life that very few people seem to have any insight into. Its value doesn't necessarily lie in the external manifestations - they are like props in some ways. But meditation definitely transforms the mind - I regard that as proven. Insight into what causes suffering in your own life is also something that doesn't really require any particular belief. And being with like-minded people is also a big plus in my experience.

Jesse wrote: In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.


It doesn't seem a very hopeful or happy perspective, forgive me for so saying.

I am interested in why you are posting on a Buddhist forum. Do you think Buddhism has anything to offer? Or is it simply a comforting delusion?
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:27 am

The proof of rebirth is that you have the experience of being essentially the same person now as you were when you were a child. You don't think that you stopped being one person and suddenly started being a totally different person.
Yet, that child's body is dead now, and that child is no longer having any thoughts.
Thus, that experience of continuity, of being the same person, is not restrained by a physical body.
You may remember the past, but memory is a reconstruction that happens in the present moment
(like refreshing a web page).
No, a person doesn't die and that same person takes rebirth somewhere else.
although this is the usual way it is expressed, for the sake of convenience.
That is a Hindu concept based on the notion of an eternal soul.
Buddhist rebirth is a different concept,
A whole different process, involving uncountable mental components that are experienced as a single "me".
But I don't have time to go into more detail than that.
. . .
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby smcj » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:25 am

Jesse wrote:I don't trust the universe.

That's understandable. Horrors beyond imagination are a daily occurrence.


And just to add, faith In some nonsensical process that allows us to purify our karma and stop the cycle of rebirth. Ha find me a single shred of proof its even possible.

If I may I'd like to offer as proof the 12 step recovery process. If you make an analogy between the cycle of addiction to the cycle of rebirth, the benefits of spirituality become immediately apparent. I've seen career criminals turn their lives around and become productive and respected members of society. You can extrapolate out and see the same process on a grander scale of lifetime to lifetime if you need some evidence.

And guess what? The addicts I've known didn't trust the universe during their criminality either. They couldn't see in their addiction (unawareness) that their own behavior was what was ruining their lives--just like the Buddha says. Seeing the universe as "all wrong" and trying to make life right according to one's own impulse caused havoc in their lives. You can trust the universe to show you the error of that strategy by the suffering that ensues. It is 100% reliable. Every addict creates their own suffering from their addiction, and they don't see it (unawareness)!

Dzogchen says that everything is "perfect just as it is". What is perfect about hell? It perfectly makes apparent the wrongness of the actions that created it, just like the addicts life is in havoc. You can trust it to be true.

Just sayin'...
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Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Andrew108 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:24 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The proof of rebirth is that you have the experience of being essentially the same person now as you were when you were a child. You don't think that you stopped being one person and suddenly started being a totally different person..


I'm not sure how that would qualify as proof?
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"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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