How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:52 pm

wisdom wrote:Buddhism is the science of the mind, and its the best mind-science that this world has to offer. Even psychology pales in comparison.

Buddhism (among other things) is the subjective science of the mind. Psychology is objective. The two complement each other. Because they are very different in both their purpose and their methods, it is not possible to weigh one against the other. As I see it, the best mind-science is a combination of elements from each.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:31 am

" Even psychology pales by comparison "...Why compare ?
They are different world views with different aims.
Psychology does not have a stated aim of Enlightenment or the cessation of suffering.
Its a discipline that leads to a series of strategies to enable functioning which is normative in the conventional understanding of the subjects culture.
Sometimes successfully sometimes not.
And thats it.

It would make no more sense to say " even engineering " or " even chiropody " " pales by comparison.

Psychology and the therapies it informs are not rivals to Dharma.
Anymore than dentistry is a rival to Dharma.

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby odysseus » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:22 pm

Psychotherapy does´nt advocate enlightenment, it wants to give the client a better understanding of themselves and their issues so the client can function in society. No special wisdom is taught but why should that be a goal? What does a psychologist do when the issues are getting deeper and the client does´nt respond to therapy, prescribe them Dharma?

This article takes a look on why Buddhism is superior to psychotherapy: http://www.buddhanet.net/crazy.htm
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:39 pm

Which is no more and no less meaningful than saying Buddhism is superior to car maintenance.
Well, next time you have a flat, try mantras... :smile:

Buddhism is for Enlightenment.
Psychology is to restore functioning.
Some people cant approach the former without addressing the latter.
One of my previous traditional teachers would insist that some people attend therapy before he would even consider teaching them.
He said that if they couldnt function in the world they would not be able to handle what he was going to ask of them. He also demanded that they were in full time employment incidentally.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby catmoon » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:08 pm

And just to confuse things further, let us note that Western psychology is presently borrowing extensively from Buddhist thought.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:12 pm

True that. Here is an example.. try googling mbct.co.uk/about-mbct/ Its having a real impact in the UK.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:29 pm

catmoon wrote:And just to confuse things further, let us note that Western psychology is presently borrowing extensively from Buddhist thought.


Little wonder. There's plenty of Buddhist practices which can help one function better in one's samsaric life.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby odysseus » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:50 pm

Simon E. wrote:Which is no more and no less meaningful than saying Buddhism is superior to car maintenance.
Well, next time you have a flat, try mantras... :smile:

Buddhism is for Enlightenment.
Psychology is to restore functioning.
Some people cant approach the former without addressing the latter.
One of my previous traditional teachers would insist that some people attend therapy before he would even consider teaching them.
He said that if they couldnt function in the world they would not be able to handle what he was going to ask of them. He also demanded that they were in full time employment incidentally.


If I was enlightened and my tyre was flat I would do the mantra and teletransport myself to my destination :alien: . Car maintenance is voodoo magic maan, but enlightenment will teach you that science also by direct experience!

Exchange the flat tyre yourself first then you can ask the mechanic to give you nitroglycerine next...
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:57 pm

I think you may have confused Enlightenment with being Gandalf or The Green Lantern.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby wisdom » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:52 pm

I still stand by what I said in the context of the OP. He asked about Enlightenment, its reality, and the reality of Enlightened beings. I told him that if he is seeking Enlightenment, Buddhism is superior to all other mind sciences, *even* psychology. Yes I made a comparison, but that comparison already exists since psychology bills itself as a science of the mind. The OP is clearly scientific minded, critical and inclined to disbelieving in anything that smacks of the supernatural (based on his own words). As such I made this comparison in order to dissuade him from thinking that psychology might have the answers he seeks, as well as to say that based on my own experience Buddhism is a science and not a bunch of made up stories about Enlightened beings that can't actually exist. That aside, Psychology and Buddhism is not apples and oranges and people go to both for largely the same reasons, both can offer remedies for the same kinds of problems. In the least it can be said that there are many Buddhists who seek the Dharma to "merely" alleviate their suffering without any thought of Enlightenment, and they find a cure in Buddhism. Then we get into the student-teacher and patient-therapist relationship and the similarities found there.

As for those who think I am somehow deluded in making comparisons, we have to respond to people at their level of understanding of reality and the Dharma and not turn every question into a discourse on non-dual wisdom. Talking about there being no comparisons and so forth makes no sense to a person who is not familiar with the Middle Way and especially makes no sense to someone who has not realized emptiness.

This is of course just my opinion, and people are free to do and think as they like.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Challenge23 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:12 pm

wisdom wrote:
As such I made this comparison in order to dissuade him from thinking that psychology might have the answers he seeks, as well as to say that based on my own experience Buddhism is a science and not a bunch of made up stories about Enlightened beings that can't actually exist. That aside, Psychology and Buddhism is not apples and oranges and people go to both for largely the same reasons, both can offer remedies for the same kinds of problems. In the least it can be said that there are many Buddhists who seek the Dharma to "merely" alleviate their suffering without any thought of Enlightenment, and they find a cure in Buddhism.



I would have to disagree with that. The primary thing the Dharma is good for is Enlightenment. The primary goal of psychology is to help the patient maintain a consistent emotional baseline as well as function reasonably well in the society the patient lives. Enlightenment can have happiness or health as a side effect but it isn't a necessary part of that state. I can think of numerous examples of people who took up the Dharma who have actually become significantly less healthy from the point of view of psychology. They can go into spiraling depressions, display extreme anxiety, or even in some cases become unable to function in society for extended periods of time. If you practice intensely enough and/or for a sufficient period of time you might be able to make it through that and then achieve the goals of psychology as a side effect but that is like a HHDL level accomplishment.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:45 pm

Precisely Challenge23.
Dentistry cannot in itself lead to Enlightenment. But although at at advanced level in might be possible to dwell in the natural state while having toothache, most of us will be aided in our efforts to dwell in the natural state if we are free from toothache, at least initially.
Just so, psychotherapy cannot Enlighten us, but being free from persistent clinical anxiety might render us able to utilise the means that enable us to dwell in Rigpa.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Challenge23 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:35 pm

Simon E. wrote:Precisely Challenge23.
Dentistry cannot in itself lead to Enlightenment. But although at at advanced level in might be possible to dwell in the natural state while having toothache, most of us will be aided in our efforts to dwell in the natural state if we are free from toothache, at least initially.
Just so, psychotherapy cannot Enlighten us, but being free from persistent clinical anxiety might render us able to utilise the means that enable us to dwell in Rigpa.


I can't remember where the quote came from(but if citing sources is needed I'll look it up) but I remember reading in a meditation manual that when one starts meditating it helps tremendously to be in an isolated, quiet area. As part of that if you are suffering from negative conditions such as asthma, impacted teeth, physical addiction issues, schizophrenia, etc. then almost any Buddhist practice will become much, much harder. In my experience, this is why so many people who try to use Buddhism as beginners to correct issues like that have such a hard time(say, if I tried to use it to overcome a bad tooth) but people who are extremely accomplished in Buddhism use that to deal with the same conditions do a lot better(say, Rinpoches who don't need to be put under for surgery). In order for the methods in the Buddhist toolbox to work you have to be very good at them. It is extremely difficult to get good at them if you are dealing with these negative conditions.

However, if you use these other disciplines to relieve these immediate conditions, then practice becomes MUCH easier. If you go to the dentist to get that impacted tooth removed then it will be much easier to do the practice and get good at it. Of course, some people might say that experiencing pain can help one's practice. I've noticed this seem to be true..up to a point. Too much suffering seems to make practice almost impossible, like trying to learn to juggle if someone just chopped off three of your fingers.

tl;dr: Buddhist practice is awesome, but if you have a sucking chest wound, go see a doctor!
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:13 am

Simon E. wrote:Dentistry cannot in itself lead to Enlightenment.

This is a reckless claim. While it can be said that dentistry doesn't aim toward Enlightenment, it does not follow that it cannot lead to Enlightenment. It is this kind of limiting thought that serves to perpetuate our limited view. Equally, to believe that dentistry does lead to Enlightenment is also a limited view. The same can be said of Buddhist practice.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:26 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Dentistry cannot in itself lead to Enlightenment.

This is a reckless claim. While it can be said that dentistry doesn't aim toward Enlightenment, it does not follow that it cannot lead to Enlightenment. It is this kind of limiting thought that serves to perpetuate our limited view. Equally, to believe that dentistry does lead to Enlightenment is also a limited view. The same can be said of Buddhist practice.


Thats a fair point.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:48 am

You spend all this time in Vajrayana seeking not to identify Self with your body, and successfully manage to be in a state where 'there is toothache' but not 'I have toothache' - then along comes Dzogchen and non-dualism and you get to remove limitations and be one with all the toothache in the universe. Sometimes life sucks! LOL :)

I do, strangely enough, actually have raging toothache at the moment and antibiotics etc. but it is quite possible to separate the pain from being 'my pain' and to dwell in a relaxed state. Years of Japanese martial arts gave me a little 'fudoshin' and 'mushin' but as this was also linked to Zen practice I must give Buddhism credit for my ability not to 'own' my pain and to be able to focus on the path.

Why would a Buddhist not be sure of themselves in terms of such simplicity expressed in the 4NT etc. ?

What I'm not so sure about is the value of amazing feats of debating logic which start out with an assumption which may be unproven, such as the belief that there is one correct view on emptiness to be arrived at through refuting the only other views people have cobbled together.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:14 am

Is your view of "amazing feats of logic " View ?
Is your view of " other people " who have " cobbled views together " View ?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:20 am

Understanding the nature of experiences leads to enlightenment (so-called). How far one goes in understanding experience is the key point of practice. Specifically one must go beyond brain-based constructions of experience. Types of experience are not important - be they dentistry or other conventionally labelled experiences. What is important is that we ask questions such as 'do experiences contain real 'moments'? Are the experiences of the 'elements' really true if they are simply brain-based. And so on...Generally the view is the meditation - self-liberation of experience is the action. The view, meditation and action are all beyond or looking beyond just brain-based functioning.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:27 am

The salient point is...if you have a gum abscess get yourself prescribed an antibiotic.
If you suffer clinical anxiety or depression get therapy.
If you wait to get sufficient detachment to your suffering by emulating your teacher you might just die first.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Blue Garuda » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:22 am

Simon E. wrote:Is your view of "amazing feats of logic " View ?
Is your view of " other people " who have " cobbled views together " View ?


We all do to an extent. :)

The point is that when we start out with an unproven premise, however clever the logic we utilise and however smug we become, the conclusion is as shaky as the initial premise. Of course, monks winning debates in the Gelugpa monasteries may just be right, but then again it may be utterly pointless. LOL :)

ChNNR uses the word 'confidence' quite a lot I notice. I like that word better than 'faith' etc. and sometimes we need to discover that our confidence is based on quicksand.

I also like the teaching he gives that while we are on the path we still need to live in a world with dualities and use secondary practices to help us.
In the context of Buddhism, only Buddhas can be confident they have everything right.
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