How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:40 am

So in the end of the day,do you guys really believe Avalokitesvara etc. really do exists or ??
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby AlexanderS » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:35 am

GarcherLancelot wrote:So in the end of the day,do you guys really believe Avalokitesvara etc. really do exists or ??


I believe Avalokitesvara is as real or unreal as we are.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:45 am

GarcherLancelot wrote:So in the end of the day,do you guys really believe Avalokitesvara etc. really do exists or ??
I believe that it doesn't matter what I believe, not for you anyway. ;)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:06 am

To the original poster: Buddhists are never really sure of themselves until they have direct experience of the teachings. Then ironically it doesn't matter if they are Buddhists or not. This is not really open for debate. You have the experience and confidence or you just have words and concepts. A buddhist might worry about whether the deities exist or not but for someone with experience this is just another useless anxiety - more concepts to drape over direct experience.
The Blessed One said:

"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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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:32 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:So in the end of the day,do you guys really believe Avalokitesvara etc. really do exists or ??
I believe that it doesn't matter what I believe, not for you anyway. ;)


But for Pure Land sect,I think they must believe it right?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:44 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:But for Pure Land sect,I think they must believe it right?
You are a Pure Lander? Look garcher, the point is what do you believe? What you believe is what is important for you, what others believe...
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:But for Pure Land sect,I think they must believe it right?
You are a Pure Lander? Look garcher, the point is what do you believe? What you believe is what is important for you, what others believe...
:namaste:

No,well the point is i have trouble fully believing in one thing,one day you might think it is true owing to the "evidence",but if another day a bigger ,even stronger "evidence" might appear for let's say another faction,then how do I keep my faith?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:08 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:No,well the point is i have trouble fully believing in one thing,one day you might think it is true owing to the "evidence",but if another day a bigger ,even stronger "evidence" might appear for let's say another faction,then how do I keep my faith?
By verifying the "evidence" through personal experience. ie Don't believe the hype!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:47 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:No,well the point is i have trouble fully believing in one thing,one day you might think it is true owing to the "evidence",but if another day a bigger ,even stronger "evidence" might appear for let's say another faction,then how do I keep my faith?

No matter how much evidence we have of something, it still does not actually prove anything. We are still required to apply belief to reach an understanding. This would apply to the "direct experience" gained through buddhist practice also. My suggestion is to take all beliefs with a grain of salt, and choose whatever beliefs can be seen to lead to useful and healthy outcomes.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:00 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:No,well the point is i have trouble fully believing in one thing,one day you might think it is true owing to the "evidence",but if another day a bigger ,even stronger "evidence" might appear for let's say another faction,then how do I keep my faith?
By verifying the "evidence" through personal experience. ie Don't believe the hype!
:namaste:


How can a person have a personal experience of Avalokitesvara and separate that from a hallucination or wishful thinking? The mind does play tricks on us, after all.
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:10 am

I think there is a misunderstanding of what Avalokiteshvara is, or what a deity visualization is supposed to do.

One of the major functions of deity visualization as I understand it is to investigate the nature of an "in here" self that perceives an "out there" everything else, or a deity in this case. If you approach the thing with the notion of trying to prove/disprove such a deity with means firmly rooted in duality, then the entire experiment is subverted by the observer's assumptions, don't you think? You don't experience Avalokiteshvara then go "well, that's real" then mentally file it away next to how to do long division or where the store is. This is not still more conceptual information for our storehouse of other largely useless conceptual information.

I recommend again that if you are truly curious about Buddhism, to take a simple teaching from the sutras and apply it, no big fancy fanfare, no intellectual turmoil. You really remind me of my first steps into Buddhism. Just look for a thread I made about projection, and it gets pretty dang abstract as I tried to loop my understanding around concepts I obviously wasn't (and still am not) ready for. I decided to set that lack of understanding aside and try the teachings I felt were within my grasp. I trust at some point, I'll be able to reread those posts with wiser eyes :P

Just read some introductory books, give what you read a thought, and sit a few times during the day. For me, it's been a wonderful and strange path so far. Don't get stuck hemming and hawing at the beginning because you don't understand X, Y or Z! You have to become a student to be a student after all ;)
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:21 am

Great advice. I have been studying, reading and meditating on this subject for more than 30 years now, and the question of 'whether to believe in a deity' has never even come up for me. The imagination has incredible ability to project things - and then get scared of its own projections! Best to start with the 'what the Buddha taught' type of text, there really is a great amount of common sense in books of that type.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:09 am

Ikkyu wrote:How can a person have a personal experience of Avalokitesvara and separate that from a hallucination or wishful thinking? The mind does play tricks on us, after all.
When it happens, I guarantee you that you will know 100% that it is not a hallucination or wishful thinking.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:20 pm

Ikkyu wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:No,well the point is i have trouble fully believing in one thing,one day you might think it is true owing to the "evidence",but if another day a bigger ,even stronger "evidence" might appear for let's say another faction,then how do I keep my faith?
By verifying the "evidence" through personal experience. ie Don't believe the hype!
:namaste:


How can a person have a personal experience of Avalokitesvara and separate that from a hallucination or wishful thinking? The mind does play tricks on us, after all.

The transformative power of that experience is much more important than the experience itself. If you gain a lot from it, if it helps you greatly, does it really matter if it was a hallucination? Does it really matter if it was your mind playing tricks on you? Or what really matters is how that experience helped you greatly?
I wouldn't mind having hallucinations like that on a regular basis. ;)
With time perhaps you discover if it was a hallucination or not.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Anders » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:43 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:The transformative power of that experience is much more important than the experience itself. If you gain a lot from it, if it helps you greatly, does it really matter if it was a hallucination? Does it really matter if it was your mind playing tricks on you? Or what really matters is how that experience helped you greatly?
I wouldn't mind having hallucinations like that on a regular basis. ;)
With time perhaps you discover if it was a hallucination or not.

:good:
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:31 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:The transformative power of that experience is much more important than the experience itself. If you gain a lot from it, if it helps you greatly, does it really matter if it was a hallucination? Does it really matter if it was your mind playing tricks on you? Or what really matters is how that experience helped you greatly?
I wouldn't mind having hallucinations like that on a regular basis. ;)
With time perhaps you discover if it was a hallucination or not.

Well said, but for the last line. Didn't you just say it was irrelevant?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:52 pm

Don't forget the "perhaps". Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't. It doesn't take away the benefit of the experience.
More, if Buddha considered reality, or what we take as reality, as an illusion, in the end all may be a hallucination of sorts until Enlightenment. Maya, in general, is a hallucination of sorts (not in the clinical term).
Pick the "hallucinations" that help and leave the rest.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:24 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Don't forget the "perhaps". Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't. It doesn't take away the benefit of the experience.
More, if Buddha considered reality, or what we take as reality, as an illusion, in the end all may be a hallucination of sorts until Enlightenment. Maya, in general, is a hallucination of sorts (not in the clinical term).
Pick the "hallucinations" that help and leave the rest.


So are beliefs in Buddhism more means to an end than ends in themselves?
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:44 pm

Ikkyu wrote:So are beliefs in Buddhism more means to an end than ends in themselves?

Definitely.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby wisdom » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:00 pm

Ikkyu wrote:[b]How can a person prove that enlightenment exists,


There are no guarentees in Buddhism. Nobody is going to say "This is the one true way, believe blindly in it!". Buddha himself said not to blindly believe him, but to come and see for yourself. Only by putting the *practices* into practice for yourself and gaining experience with them will you be able to confirm or deny the reality of the Buddhist doctrine.

Ikkyu wrote:or that Bodhisattvas or Buddhas exist?


At first people take it on faith that a Buddha exists. This appears to contradict the previous statement. What is meant by this though is that you are taking it on faith that the Buddha nature exists in you and in all sentient beings, *but* you are not going to just let it be blind faith. You are going to believe, but you're also going to confirm it for yourself through practice. If you fail to do this, you just sell yourself short and your Buddhism will stay at the level of pure religion, and you will not gain many of the benefits that true Dharma practice offers. On the other hand if you choose to blindly deny the existence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas because nobody is able to do a magic trick to cause your mind to stop being full of doubt, that's just as ignorant as someone who blindly believes but never confirms it for themselves.

Ikkyu wrote:What empirical evidence is there that any of the sutras, suttas, tantras and whatnot are true?


The experience of millions of Buddhists. The experience of thousands or tens of thousands or more individuals who have experienced various stages of Enlightenment for themselves, and confirmed it as reality for themselves. If you are looking for some kind of materialistic scientific proof, you won't find it. But Buddhism is the science of the mind, and its the best mind-science that this world has to offer. Even psychology pales in comparison.

Ikkyu wrote:I mean, most Buddhists are non-theistic. I too am a skeptic and was lead to believe that there isn't a personal god/sky-daddy watching over us, as the idea isn't supported by scientific fact. What real, hard evidence is there that bodhisattvas exist, that enlightenment is possibility or that rebirth can happen either? Outside of philosophical conjecture is it really possible to prove this? And if can't be proven, why become a monk and give your life to something that might not be true?


This is why you have to actually practice, and not merely study the Dharma. Without a teacher and steady practice you will just remain in doubt. If a Bodhisattva or Buddha walked right up to you and declared they were Enlightened, you will still remain in doubt. Even if they were able to display a perfect understanding of the Dharma and Buddha nature, existing in doubt and without any experience, it would just appear to be gibberish to you.

Ikkyu wrote:I'm not saying that these things aren't true, but before I take precepts I would like some evidence that Buddhism is actually something more than a dried up philosophy. I mean, claiming that you're a supremely enlightened individual is a pretty big deal, amirite? I'm considering the precepts but I'm still a skeptic. So prove me wrong.


Prove yourself wrong, its the only way.
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