Ikkyu wrote: What proof do we have that Buddhism does anything to the Self? Who's to say Buddha won't just give us full Buddhahood? Can't Buddhism, like any other religion, be reduced to magical thinking and a lack of proof regarding such issues as karma, rebirth, skandhas, etc., etc., just to name a few? This is why Buddhism is a religion. It's a good idea... not dogma set in stone. And I'm fine with that. My brand of ego is in a constant state of flux, as is everything in the fleeting universe. I am still on a journey. Who knows the destination?
No need to get defensive or be sensitive. I mean no offense. I'm not the one posing the question of effects of entheogens, religions, Buddhism, or anything on the brain, mind or the self. I personally don't even ascribe to a Self. But we're not talking about me or my positions, we're talking about your questions on this subject. I've only written this much in the spirit of exchange, not 'confrontation' or challenge. Getting the thinking juices going does not have to be a threatening process, I'm simply responding to your notion that you posted about.
Where's the PROOF, indeed? Proof, as the old saying goes, is in the pudding. I believe what I see and can verify. I can't verify the role of entheogens on the brain, I can verify the application of the four noble truths from suffering to its cessation in many many people's lives. Again, facts. Buddhism maybe a religion to some. To others like myself it is simply a series of observations taught by the Buddha who taught nothing of Buddhism, that came MUCH later. I'm just a fan of truth and facts, not big on -isms. I'm more interested in dharma than I am Buddh-ism. A fine distinction, IF you know what I mean. And I do write a lot of poetry. And could be a closeted zennie, but that's another story...
My points to you are not to get your riled up, but to get you to think about your own statements... IF that is what you're actually interested in doing... if not, my apologies, skip this post altogether. Just in case... here goes...
Ikkyu wrote:Peruvian shamans were just an example I was using. The point I was trying to make is that entheogens have their place in the spiritual heritage of mankind.
yes, they do. But what do they have to do with you or your culture was my original question and why use them at all in what you pose if not to support/validate your own use of drugs and meditation? You can't leave out that their place was within a much larger spiritual and cultural matrix that played a key role for the rites of passage of those cultures which you have little to do with. I simply pointed out that these bear little relevance to the current topic you were addressing, didn't think it would go over like an offensive..
Ikkyu wrote: I am not tied to any particular belief... and despite how derogatory and prejudiced you seem to be against everyone in the Occident -- as is evinced by such a sweeping judgement -- there are actually Westerners who are not consumerist idiots and not spiritually materialistic and who do stress living out a genuine, devout spiritual practice. There are a number of those people on this very forum I'm sure. Cherry-picking isn't limited to Westerners... what makesyou think Asian Buddhists, Muslims, Christians from Syria and others don't cherry-pick regarding their religions, their Bibles, Qur'ans, and whatnot? Is it really disingenuous to put it all together yourself in order to see what works? We don't solve a jigsaw puzzle the first time around. It takes a lot of different piecings together to get it right.
You misunderstand my simple observation of half of the very culture I grew up in as 'being against it' or connoting some idiocy to the matter of the fact. I wrote nothing derogatory about you or Western culture. If pooh stinks, is it derogatory to recognize its stinkiness AND does it make pooh somehow morally bad? Moreover, does the ability to recognize pooh's stinkiness somehow make me unable to recognize it IS ALSO what makes vegetation grow? Pooh is after all key to human sustenance... Basic judgmental thinking is a very good thing, in most schools of dialectics it's called logic, going back to the most ancient philosophies.
No, friend, I do not make the negative qualities of pooh or Western culture, or cast any aspersion on these qualities, they are in my own ways as well, being half entrenched in this culture. But just because they exist, and even though I didn't create them, I don't fear seeing them. You may interpret it as negative and derogatory, but my own position is not what you described. Those are your mirrors looking back at you in the void of toneless internet postings.
For your clarity, my position is that materialism is simply a condition of the western cultural matrix, which is also changing many other parts of the world through an ever globalizing technology spread. I have no positive or negative against it personally, it's what it is, it has pros and cons. Good for business, economy, world trade, etc. Just like air is also composed of oxygen, it is how it is, I'm not calling it evil because it also has high levels of CO2 in it... Of course, every culture osmotically picks up on what it comes into contact with, or vehemently rejects it. Cherry-picking will happen everywhere Facebook reaches. It's called exposure, cross-pollination, and globalization. It's basic cultural "physics," and it's how humans grow and evolve in large groups... but we're swaying off topic like dialectical drunken monkeys here.
It's actually (we - if that makes you feel better) Westerners who get all uptight about this point of spiritual materialism getting observed. It's so built into the cultural matrix and we tend to be so unprepared for what it really means that we tend to react to it like it's a horrible moral judgment against our worthiness towards spirituality. Be assured, there is nothing 'wrong' with materialism in any form. It is a priority focused on material outcome. It's practical, to the point. Moreover, it is simply human, as old as mankind itself. We all have it in this or that form. Simple observation of these things does not impute any judge, nor jury. You can relax.
Materialism of any kind has its weaknesses and therefore its strengths, remember... non-duality? The coin with two faces? Not a Buddhist concept. One shared by many many cultures, including your Peruvian friends there... A strength in the materialistic approach is the logical, concrete approach that skeptically addresses what it encounters. A weakness - the space to hodgepodge conditions out of context like 'things' (which aren't solid or THINGS to begin with) in such a way that we can justify oh, for example, wanting to do drugs, maybe be Buddhist, and maybe have a twist of Peruvian shamanism in the mix. Just kidding, don't get your panties in a bunch... Did you see Madonna with her sacred Kabalah water? That was funny... What I'm saying is your mind will lead you all sorts of ways, you HAVE to be judgmental, or your mind will be so 'open' it'll fall out your head. That is one of a few AMERICAN weaknesses... But hey, it leads to great rock and roll.
Ikkyu wrote:Again. I am not a shaman, but the value of the plants and the materials which effect the mind in these unique ways is certainly beneficial in some instances. I don't need to be a Peruvian shaman to know that my consciousness can be expanded and that sometimes this yields beneficial spiritual results.
sure, and their use is completely anyone's choice which no one here has any issue with... But what's that got to do with dharma or Ikkyu or your interest in either?
Ikkyu wrote: I grew up in the US. I'm sorry if that apparently makes me "spiritually materialistic".
I don't plan to be anything like a half-drunken vagrant monk or a "tweaked out" shaman (I would hardly call the effects of Yage as "tweaked out"). My ideal is simply that of happiness. I connect with Ikkyu more than anything as a poet. I connect with his influence on the Komuso of Japan and the shakuhachi flute.
What you seems to think you can "see" in a person based on an obscure post in a forum matters little in terms of reality. It's quite judgmental actually.
That I can observe with my own discriminating sense (6th sense - thinking consciousness) that you are an American (male?) does not equate me judging you negatively in any way or casting some kind of moral judgment. My ability to observe something (like looking at a rough sea will tell me there's wind blowing at x-knots per hour) is not a judgment of the fish swimming there somewhere in its depth. My observations are not judgments of you, I don't know you, nor did I ever call you spiritually materialistic directly or indirectly, or made any derogatory remarks about your person. I've simply pointed out one major feature of western culture that encompasses millions of individuals, which you and I are both part of, THAT YES I PICKED UP ON in your writing, and you reacted to that, like the fish biting the hook in the depths of that rough sea, as if I were calling you unworthy for seeing your home as rough terrain. Dude, it IS rough terrain, but SO IS THE REST OF THE WORLD. Ease up, we're all in the same boat.
That I can use my judgment is in fact a very positive trait, it is for any human being - a major driver for survival and continuation of the species even... Perhaps it wasn't a welcome reply, but by simple observation, I nailed it on the head, both where you're from and what you were inferring. I could have pointed out some equally true trait of Asian or Latin culture, truthfully, it makes no difference to me where you're from. Every culture has noteworthy weaknesses and strengths. I note what I see and make my decisions based on evidence presented and what might be helpful to look at for others as well as myself. I have no investment either way in whatever you do, for whatever reason.
We simply are more naked to others than we realize (we all are). I have a brain, I use it. I clearly stated I do not focus on morality (moral judgment), but practicality - and while taken personally, my observations have not been incorrect thus far... So while they may not be liked, they have yet to be disproven.
Here is an easy definition of judgment in how I use it - for your reference, so you don't think I'm like hating on ya or anything.
dictionary definition wrote:judg·ment [juhj-muhnt] noun
1. an act or instance of judging.
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
3. the demonstration or exercise of such ability or capacity.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind.
5. the opinion formed.
Clearly - judgments change with the data presented as they are formed through evidence. If the evidence changes, so does the opinion (one would hope)...
Ikkyu wrote: Again, this is painting with such a broad brush. I know many Westerners who use entheogens as a means to reach higher states of consciousness. To compare the use of sacred plants and medicines to cannibalism seems unreasonable.
Tell that to the cannibals who consider their act just as spiritual... Again, it is you who is taking the cultural matrices of primitive rituals out of context for the exact reasons that Western culture does such things. It's a form of 'self-improving' it's how we got to where we are as world superpowers, but broad brushes are what we're using in talking of shamanic practices in this thread, so, I am simply countering with another broad stroke. The comparison only seems unreasonable because of your own cultural filters. The cannibals, I assure you, would not share that sentiment. IT ALL comes down to filters, btw.
Ikkyu wrote:ogyen wrote:If you use substances, simply be present with yourself when you make your choices. That is all. Don't use or draw upon anything outside yourself to justify, validate, that is just grasping. The urge comes from within, the answer to transcending its impulse also comes from within - the discipline emerges from within. The path is noticing it and being there when it happens within. Just pay attention, and your questions on this will be answered by the most important authority on the matter - you."
I agree completely.
See? That wasn't so bad after all. Just another day in the forum... Btw, I also grew up in Europe where much of my education was (or as Eddie Izzard says, where the history comes from ), if my remarks are ever intended to be personally against you, you WILL get them in the form a PM, if at all. I have too much common courtesy to attack anyone in any public forum. I am a firm believer of civil exchange, and dialectically follow in the footsteps of many great thinkers, including my all time philosophical idol , Hypatia of Alexandria. I only replied because of your title: An eager noobist. If that was a misleading title, I am happy to back off and leave you to your thoughts. Have a great one!