How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby cesar » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:05 pm

My Socks Smell wrote:I appreciated his talk on the importance of non-duality and vipassana going beyond just observing. They mentioned at the beginning how some Westerners are trying to have Buddhism without non-duality or rebirth, but I never did hear him specifically address the issue of rebirth. It was still a good video for other reasons though.


glad you enjoyed it.
it must of been one of the other talks on that page where Rinpoche's discussed it more. sorry about that.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:45 am

... ... ...

If scientists or philosophers were to prove that rebirth happens, the buddhanature is real and that nirvana is our potential, not to mention the fact of spontaneous rebirth--what would be the result? This doesn't mean that people would benefit spiritually from it. Evidence is always just evidence. It isn't wisdom, it doesn't force people to be moral, and it isn't equal to one's own mental cultivation. If anything, scientific evidence of these phenomena would only allow people to scrutinize their reality even further, and support personal skepticism. It would remove the meaning from them.

At any rate, from your own personal experience it is possible to understand these things for yourself and for yourself entirely. This is what the Buddha wanted, this is what he taught, and this is what his disciples followed.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:39 am

Son wrote:If scientists or philosophers were to prove that rebirth happens, the buddhanature is real and that nirvana is our potential, not to mention the fact of spontaneous rebirth--what would be the result?

Well, a lot more people would accept the Buddha's teachings, so there would be more people practicing Buddhadharma. That would count for something.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:54 am

Son wrote:... ... ...

If scientists or philosophers were to prove that rebirth happens, the buddhanature is real and that nirvana is our potential, not to mention the fact of spontaneous rebirth--what would be the result?


I don't really see why we should really seek the support and acknowledgement of either scientists or philosophers.

There is a tendency among religious people now to constantly want the green light from eminent scientists. It somehow feels more legitimate to engage in something that they approve of, or at least don't adamantly ridicule and condemn.

Buddhist traditions and scientific traditions can dialogue, but at the end of the day they're both directed at totally different ends. Science in its current form is also locked into materialism and hence is limited in its ability to explore the realms which Buddhist traditions do.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:31 am

Huseng wrote:
Son wrote:... ... ...

If scientists or philosophers were to prove that rebirth happens, the buddhanature is real and that nirvana is our potential, not to mention the fact of spontaneous rebirth--what would be the result?


I don't really see why we should really seek the support and acknowledgement of either scientists or philosophers.

There is a tendency among religious people now to constantly want the green light from eminent scientists. It somehow feels more legitimate to engage in something that they approve of, or at least don't adamantly ridicule and condemn.

Buddhist traditions and scientific traditions can dialogue, but at the end of the day they're both directed at totally different ends. Science in its current form is also locked into materialism and hence is limited in its ability to explore the realms which Buddhist traditions do.


Precisely my point.
Scientists today are like the brahmins of the Buddha's age. Science is actually limited in its ability to do anything. Essential limitation is how it is able to draw conclusions from empirical evidence. Key word here, is empirical. Science is good and necessary, but like you said it is directed at the opposite end of spirituality. And by spirituality, of course I don't mean New Ageism, but real introspective inquiry to one's heart.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:50 am

Son wrote:Science is actually limited in its ability to do anything. Essential limitation is how it is able to draw conclusions from empirical evidence. Key word here, is empirical. Science is good and necessary, but like you said it is directed at the opposite end of spirituality. And by spirituality, of course I don't mean New Ageism, but real introspective inquiry to one's heart.

Science may lack strong answers where it comes to introspective inquiry, but it provides a bounty of clues as to how the mind actually works. Each of us has the choice to either employ this additional knowledge to augment our understanding, or to simply ignore it.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:33 am

How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?
How can a person prove that enlightenment exists, or that Bodhisattvas or Buddhas exist?
What empirical evidence is there that any of the sutras, suttas, tantras and whatnot are true?

Before asking those questions, It would be great to solve the mystery of "truth". We use that word pretty often, but what does it mean? One of definitions tells us that something is true if it can be confirmed, but then you need to prove that the confirmation method is true in the first place. To do that you need another method, and another... Ad infinitum. That's the moment when Buddhism comes in, and teaches about emptiness, and delusion of concepts. Entire science becomes play of ideas based on other ideas, and although word "truth" is often used in it, it's just another idea.
Truth is something you know without the need of confirming it. You wont find even one such a "truth" in science, and Buddhism is all about this truth, which is reality itself beyond concepts.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby catmoon » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:00 pm

oushi wrote:Truth is something you know without the need of confirming it. You wont find even one such a "truth" in science, and Buddhism is all about this truth, which is reality itself beyond concepts.


Hm. I know a lot of people who believe in this kind of truth. I've met people who know there is a God, who know that gay people are evil, and who know that the earth is 6000 years old. I know people who know there are UFOs and that the government is hiding them, and that nobody has ever been to the Moon. None of them feel much need to confirm these beliefs or examine them carefully.

On the other hand, there are many people who are attracted to Buddhism precisely because it advocates examining and confirming things, not necessarily trusting the teacher, the authorities or what one feels must be true.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:44 pm

catmoon wrote:
oushi wrote:Truth is something you know without the need of confirming it. You wont find even one such a "truth" in science, and Buddhism is all about this truth, which is reality itself beyond concepts.


Hm. I know a lot of people who believe in this kind of truth. I've met people who know there is a God, who know that gay people are evil, and who know that the earth is 6000 years old. I know people who know there are UFOs and that the government is hiding them, and that nobody has ever been to the Moon. None of them feel much need to confirm these beliefs or examine them carefully.

I would say that they strongly believe, like most people believe in science. Those beliefs are based on "because" and are triggered by some events in the past. Truth doesn't need to be proven, and cannot be contradicted. Can anyone contradict presence?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:13 pm

oushi wrote:Truth is something you know without the need of confirming it. You wont find even one such a "truth" in science, and Buddhism is all about this truth, which is reality itself beyond concepts.


I see Truth in Buddhism as something quite easy to confirm and fairly logical, and I see Buddha himself as being quite straightforward on this in disproving the impossible ways of being.
I would rephrase the idea of truth "beyond concepts" as in fact being the truth about concepts.
It seems that given the idea that all we can "know" of the world is appearances, we are tempted to ask what is beyond, but Buddhism teaches that is a pointless and futile direction of speculation - the truth is not out there but in fact lies within.
I personally think that science is pretty good at discovering external reality, but the idea of Truth is about our relationship with ourselves and with external reality, so self-knowledge would seem fundamental in any assessment of that relationship.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:20 pm

Buddha himself didn't teach directly even once (as Longchenpa stated).
the truth is not out there but in fact lies within.

In fact, it does not lie here or there, within or outside. Truth simply is, and cannot be expressed by concept. You wont find it inside, nor can you disprove it outside.
but the idea of Truth is about our relationship with ourselves and with external reality, so self-knowledge would seem fundamental in any assessment of that relationship.

Idea, relationship, assessment... those are cornerstones of conceptual realm. One can build on those, and use the result to build another concepts, but none will be based on solid truth. In Kwan Um, they put strong emphasis on "Don't know". How useful it is, one can see in one day. It is enough to follow every thought and idea with "I don't know". After one day you will know that everything you have is a belief, even self-knowledge. :smile:
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:58 pm

oushi wrote:Buddha himself didn't teach directly even once (as Longchenpa stated).
the truth is not out there but in fact lies within.

In fact, it does not lie here or there, within or outside. Truth simply is, and cannot be expressed by concept. You wont find it inside, nor can you disprove it outside.
but the idea of Truth is about our relationship with ourselves and with external reality, so self-knowledge would seem fundamental in any assessment of that relationship.

Idea, relationship, assessment... those are cornerstones of conceptual realm. One can build on those, and use the result to build another concepts, but none will be based on solid truth. In Kwan Um, they put strong emphasis on "Don't know". How useful it is, one can see in one day. It is enough to follow every thought and idea with "I don't know". After one day you will know that everything you have is a belief, even self-knowledge. :smile:


I believe Longchenpa also stated a clear, well reasoned, and philosphically rigourous argument.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:51 am

futerko wrote:I believe Longchenpa also stated a clear, well reasoned, and philosphically rigourous argument.

Actually, it isn't so :smile: .
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:03 am

Do not go by revelation;
Do not go by tradition;
Do not go by hearsay;
Do not go on the authority of sacred texts;
Do not go on the grounds of pure logic;
Do not go by a view that seems rational;
Do not go by reflecting on mere appearances;
Do not go along with a considered view because you agree with it;
Do not go along on the grounds that the person is competent;
Do not go along because "the recluse is our teacher."
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:07 am

oushi wrote:
futerko wrote:I believe Longchenpa also stated a clear, well reasoned, and philosphically rigourous argument.

Actually, it isn't so :smile: .


I guess not to someone who believes that the concept of truth "is reality itself"
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:19 pm

Son wrote: Science is good and necessary, but like you said it is directed at the opposite end of spirituality.


I've come to have mixed thoughts about science.

On one hand, humanity has benefited a great deal from scientific knowledge while at the same time creating numerous new problems. For example, on one hand humanity got rid of numerous old diseases which used to plague humanity, but cancer rates have risen as a result of industrialization and all the synthetic toxins in the environment. Get rid of one problem and another one arises.

From an anthropocentric view science is arguably quite beneficial, but it has enabled humanity to damage the planet in ways our ancestors could never have done despite all the bloodlust and conquests of past ages. The animal world has not benefited at all from science. In fact it has been harmed, maimed and permanently damaged as a result of scientific developments. Consider how many lab rats, monkeys, rabbits and guinea pigs have been put to death in the name of biological research. Think of all the dead marine life after nuclear bombs were tested in the Pacific.

On an ecological level scientific knowledge coupled with industrialization has enabled pollution on scales that are killing off vast numbers of marine and land animals. Think of the plastic garbage patches in the pacific. It ends up in the food chain damaging all the species involved (including us).

Ultimately I think science uncovered a lot of knowledge about the universe that has and continues to be used for misguided ends. Humanity is collectively too irresponsible and short-sighted to use such profound knowledge in a reasonable and sane manner. It should have remained unrevealed for the sake of animal and human life.

The religion of progress where people believe that human progress is cumulative, eventually resulting in extrasolar colonization even if we have to jump over some hurdles, has only added fuel to the machine which is rapidly undermining ecosystems and humanity's collective well-being. However, the reality is that we're not going to leave this planet given the vast distances between earth and other star systems, to say nothing of how hostile the rest of the solar system is.

In the end in retrospect the world as a whole (all species included) might have been better off without the scientific revolution. We might not know as much about the material universe, but we earth dwellers would have been better off. A bunch of Buddhists building cozy stone temples and discussing Meru cosmology might not impress advocates of science, but those Buddhists couldn't have built a Fukushima reactor or chemical weapons.

Religions might not be so directly beneficial to humanity material-wise, but they can't cook, warp, disfigure and utterly mess up the whole planet.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:29 pm

futerko wrote:
oushi wrote:
futerko wrote:I believe Longchenpa also stated a clear, well reasoned, and philosphically rigourous argument.

Actually, it isn't so :smile: .


I guess not to someone who believes that the concept of truth "is reality itself"

Concept of truth is just a concept. Neither is it reality itself, nor is it outside reality. As for Longchenpa:
"I determine all events and meanings,
Because no objects exist which are not me
...
Because I am unborn reality itself,
You are beyond concepts of reality, subtle reality just is."
That's just a small example, but still you will have problems with classifying it as clear, well reasoned, and philosophically rigorous argument. You can dig into concepts and look for truth, but as I stated before, you wont find anything "solid", only beliefs. Longchenpas "I", universal creativity, truth, reality, all are names of the same.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Nothing » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:00 pm

"How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?"

If you know, you will know.
If you don't, you will be asking!.....hence you will have a view.

There are NO views in Buddhism......Nothing!
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:49 pm

oushi wrote:Concept of truth is just a concept. Neither is it reality itself, nor is it outside reality.
...

You can dig into concepts and look for truth, but as I stated before, you wont find anything "solid", only beliefs. Longchenpas "I", universal creativity, truth, reality, all are names of the same.


seems a very different idea to what you wrote earlier...

oushi wrote:Truth is something you know without the need of confirming it. You wont find even one such a "truth" in science, and Buddhism is all about this truth, which is reality itself beyond concepts.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:16 pm

Look closer and you will see. Bend the sphere of understanding in such a way, those two point to the same.
Truth is something you don't have to look for, and something you cannot escape from. How would you confirm it? Conceptual truth is based on duality of wrong and right. Sameness is entirely true, otherwise how would not true "things" exist at all?
And so everything is truth, wrong does not exist. I am not pointing to truth, as this is impossible, I'm changing the definition of it. It is not a virtual concept justified by other virtual concepts, like the "truth" we got use to.
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