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Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion - Dhamma Wheel

Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Jhana4
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Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:52 pm

For people like me who view Dhamma Wheel through the "new posts" link, I would like to say up front that this thread is being posted in "The Dhammic free-for-all" section. If you aren't a fan of having religious beliefs questioned I respect you, have no wish to offend you and would like you to consider this note as a warning.

Preamble done.

In the few weeks I have been here I have been surprised to find many westerners who have taken on the religious beliefs of Buddhism. I don't mean some of the more sober, rational views that seem connect with ordinary life.

It would make more sense to come across intelligent, thoughtful, otherwise modern Asians doing this. You grow up in a culture where a set of beliefs are dominant and those beliefs seep into you, giving you a propensity to accept them.

I think human beings have a drive toward "religion", by that I mean having/making a mental map of the world, a map they can relate to and one that offers some comfort.

I also think, like S.N. Goenka ( who would not agree with these thoughts ), that people are wrongfully impressed by sensations. Sensations are just sensations. Sensations are not descriptions of reality. Just because a person is depressed doesn't mean their life is that bad. Just because a person feels confident, doesn't mean s/he has ability. That is just how they feel.

My opinion is that many people think If they feel something, they have found something real.

I'm guessing these two things are behind "the new orthodoxy/myth set" of most Westerners ( may not be true for everyone ). I've experienced many powerful sensations through meditation over the years. I've read some of the less questionable ( by western secular standards) Buddhist beliefs and I have felt a psychological/emotional gravity towards calling myself a Buddhist when combined with those strong sensations giving a "sense of reality" to things.

I also think many westerners reconcile with some of the more unfounded beliefs of Buddhism by using generous interpretations of those beliefs. I've been finding this harder to do by actually reading the suttas and seeing what is emphasized there.

I realize things get lost in translation, but even allowing for that I just have not been able to find support in the suttas for the cool sounding interpretations westerners have.

No offense or disrespect to anyone. I'm just thinking out loud and I put this thread in a section reserved for provocative topics.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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kirk5a
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:10 pm

I'm still waiting for the provocative part. Buddhism isn't a "belief-based" religion.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:29 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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kirk5a
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:35 pm

Like what beliefs, for example?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:46 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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beeblebrox
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:34 pm

I think the problematic word here is "rebirth." If it's viewed as a "self" that gets reborn, then that's wrong. If the process is viewed without a "self," then you're somewhere in the ballpark. The suttas that you just quoted make sense if they're viewed in this way.

It might be helpful to not view a "life" as something that is contained to itself. The kamma of past lives affect it, and any kamma that is done in this life, will affect the future lives. It's as simple as that.

So, kill someone in this life, there will be "hell" in at least one of the future lives... do something good in this life, and then there will be "heaven" in one of the future lives. I don't see any problem. No one is self-contained.

:anjali:

rowyourboat
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:51 pm

So, what you think only westerners have figured how the universe works and all easterns 'believe' are wrong? :shrug:

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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beeblebrox
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:35 pm

I think that no one knows. (Or if someone knows, then he won't be able to make us actually see it in one way or other.) What's scary right now is that if we die, and then pop up in our next lives, we won't be able to remember that... just like we didn't with our previous ones.

We can only hope that we've laid our kamma well enough, and that these will lead us to the Dhamma again, still heading to Nibbāna. If there's no us in these next lives, then we've still done them a favor, anyway. We've made them a good life already, even pointed at the Nibbāna. That's how it really is... selfless.

:anjali:

Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:48 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ben
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:24 pm

MN 60: Apannaka Sutta

Regardless if one believes or disbelieves kamma and rebirth, if one engages in skilful action one will enjoy the fruits of skilful action (here and now). The Buddha did not try and tell his interlocutors tht they were wrong. He just led them through a rational argument to the conclusion that it was of benefit to engage in skilful action over non-skilful action.

Further, I think its a mistake to characterise "Asian" Buddhism as somehow deficient and its patronising. The development of wisdom, that is real wisdom bhavana-maya-panna, is impossible without devotion/confidence. Saddha is the first of the five bala. Some of the most impressive Buddhists I have met are Asians who had more wisdom in their little toe than the vast majority of western Buddhists I've met. Perhaps instead of evaluating Asian Buddhism as somehow less than the mark, try and critically examine your own understanding and practice of the Dhamma. This, I think, might be more beneficial to you.
No disrespect.

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:46 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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daverupa
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:41 pm


lojong1
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby lojong1 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:23 pm


Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:52 am

People are taking offense in this thread. I mean no offense to either Asian or Western Buddhists.

I'm stating my opinion that from what I have seen of the suttas, common western interpretations and some of the conversations here it seems like westerners are abandoning one orthodoxy for another.

Everybody has their own road to walk, I can respect that, but thinking out loud that is not for me.

I think the willingness to free inquiry, with accepting the answers whether or not they reenforce what you want to hear is too valuable.

Again, it isn't my intention to disrespect anyone.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Fede
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Fede » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:01 am

"Intention" and "result" are two different things.

No matter what one's intentions, they don't always hit the mark.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Prasadachitta
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Prasadachitta » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:16 am

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Goofaholix
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:15 am

I think the western view on Kamma tends to correspond much more closely to the teachings on Conditionality (idappaccayata) http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... e.html#ida that we find in the canon.

Kamma, Idappaccayata, and Paticcasumpada all seem to be interrelated teachings to me and when people talk about Kamma they may well using the most well known word and be referring to some or all three.

I understand a belief of Kamma was well established in the audiences the Buddha taught, wheras Idappaccayata and Paticcasumpada were the Buddhas very own teaching.

A good way to teach new concepts would be to use as an example a concept that is already ingrained in the culture and understood by the audience.

Obviously the OP wasn't just about Kamma but I think it gives an example of how looking at one teaching in isolation can result in a blinkered view wheras looking at interrelationship of various teachings gives a different perspective. One advantage westerners have in not having the cultural upbringing is the opportunity to do that objectively.

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ground
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby ground » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:26 am


Jhana4
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Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:47 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Sensations, Bait & Switch, Self Deception & Religion

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:50 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.


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