How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Ikkyu
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How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:06 pm

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? 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?

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.


:namaste: :toilet:
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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Wesley1982
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Wesley1982 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:31 pm


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

Postby gingercatni » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:36 pm


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Fa Dao
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Fa Dao » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:58 pm

Ikkyu,
very simple...
#1 study the Buddhas teachings (whichever sect/school that catches your interest, doesnt matter really)
#2 Put them into sincere practice in your daily life
#3 Then you will Know without any doubt the Truth of what you are asking.
People can give you wonderful logical rational arguments all day long but at the end of the day you wont really be any closer to your answer. The ONLY way to really Know, is to Know through your own experiences that ultimately transcend experience.
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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

Postby Anders » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:13 pm

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

Postby Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:17 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Monlam Tharchin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:22 pm

Believing that enlightenment is possible without having a foundation of mindfulness and other practice will do you as much good as believing there's a magical teapot orbiting the Earth.

Come and try it for yourself. Apply with sincere effort just one of the Buddha's teachings in your life. Does it do what he said it would? In my experience, it has. If not, I've always later found there was something not quite right on my end. In that way, I take it on good faith that the other teachings are also sound and wholesome.

I take things one step at a time. "That worked when I was happy earlier. Now I feel like crap. Will it still work? Oh, it does."
"Even a sliver of mindfulness in my day has given me great equanimity in difficult situations. I wonder what more mindfulness will do..."

Trying to consider all of the teachings at once is like trying to swallow a whole pharmacy. Befriend your ignorance and ills, then apply the appropriate medicine the Buddha prescribes.

If you don't feel ready to take the precepts, don't. Try them out first. See how concern for all life, even insects you carelessly trod on before, affects you. See how mindful and careful speech affects your relationships. I think you'll find the precepts have a funny way of making you get out of your own head. Then you'll be eager to take them for the wonderful good they do in the world around you, and not solely the benefit you can derive.

Hope that's helpful :) Good luck in your adventures!

:buddha1: :heart:
on hiatus since September, 2017

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

Postby AlexanderS » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:28 pm


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Lhug-Pa
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:57 pm

By applying the Scientific Method by actually doing the practices everyday and observing.

For those who are too stuck in their intellect to actually take action (or who haven't studied the practices enough to implement them), studying comparative Esotericism shows that all traditions have the same core doctrines and that this could not be mere coincidence nor merely a product of materialistic evolution.

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

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:06 pm

Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:22 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:49 pm

"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:53 pm

"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:59 pm

"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:02 pm

"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:08 pm

"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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

Postby Seishin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:09 pm


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

Postby Ikkyu » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:20 pm

In response to Seishin:

Yes, as I've stated, Buddhist practice is clearly praiseworthy as in terms of practicality and utilitarian function it works and works very well. However the proof of a metaphysical claim does not necessarily stem from utilitarian function.

Here's a conjecture:

1. Buddhism and its associated practices work at making people free from suffering, which is ostensibly its purpose.
2. Buddhism asserts the existence of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, enlightenment, rebirth, etc.
2. Therefore Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, enlightenment, rebirth, etc. exist (simply because their invocations, etc. make people free from suffering)?
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
-- Arcesilaus (but I'm not sure)

(cutting through bullshit, and sometimes failing... that's ok, though)


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David N. Snyder
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:28 pm

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

Postby Seishin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:31 pm

Sorry Ikkyu but I'm not sure what you are asking. Some people have faith in the things that have no proof. Some suggest that we will understand these things through practice and attainment, which again requires faith. This bears most resemblance to a religious path.

Or you can go down the route that others have taken (Steven Batchelar et al) and remove from your sphere of practice those things which cannot be scientifically proven and continue to practice none-the-less.

Gassho
Seishin


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