How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:15 pm

oushi wrote:Look closer and you will see. Bend the sphere of understanding in such a way, those two point to the same.
Truth is something you don't have to look for, and something you cannot escape from. How would you confirm it? Conceptual truth is based on duality of wrong and right. Sameness is entirely true, otherwise how would not true "things" exist at all?
And so everything is truth, wrong does not exist. I am not pointing to truth, as this is impossible, I'm changing the definition of it. It is not a virtual concept justified by other virtual concepts, like the "truth" we got use to.


So either something is true (according to your definition) or it is a belief?
It seems you are overlooking the idea of conventional truth, which may be arbitrary and relative, but nonetheless is not based upon a belief but on a convention which only becomes false the moment we mistake the tool for reality itself (which is the issue with Science that Buddhism addresses). Hence, I have no idea what "truth" means in your private language, but there is a degree of standardization and convention which suggests that your use of the term would appear to be an attempt to conceptualize emptiness. As a Buddhist (and using words in their conventional sense), I would say that "true things" do not "exist at all," and that your statement appears to be a reification.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:05 pm

Arbitrary, relative truth... what is that? Looking for such a truth one stays in the heart of delusion. In other words, conventional truth is like saying that something is true but really it isn't, or at least we don't know. 2+2=4 is true, but is 2 true? Is + and = true? Sooner of later you will end up with made up concepts, and relations with them. Those are build on extremes, something is and isn't, is beautiful or ugly, stinks or smells great, is true or false. Range of those extremes is build on past experiences and comparison. Duality is born and desire for something that is beautiful, true and smelling wonderfully arises. Looking for truth in Buddhism one sustains this delusion. Without right and wrong, there is only reality without division into true and false. Truth is everywhere and everything, even 2+2=5 is true.
Like Bodhidharma said:
"When you don’t understand, your wrong. When you understand, you're not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist."
In this way, you end up seeing thing as they are, as it would be impossible to see something that isn't true. Simply and effortless you gain confidence in the message of Buddhas, and you can be absolutely sure of yourself without the need of refuting views of others.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:30 pm

oushi wrote:Arbitrary, relative truth... what is that? Looking for such a truth one stays in the heart of delusion. In other words, conventional truth is like saying that something is true but really it isn't, or at least we don't know. 2+2=4 is true, but is 2 true? Is + and = true? Sooner of later you will end up with made up concepts, and relations with them. Those are build on extremes, something is and isn't, is beautiful or ugly, stinks or smells great, is true or false. Range of those extremes is build on past experiences and comparison. Duality is born and desire for something that is beautiful, true and smelling wonderfully arises. Looking for truth in Buddhism one sustains this delusion. Without right and wrong, there is only reality without division into true and false. Truth is everywhere and everything, even 2+2=5 is true.
Like Bodhidharma said:
"When you don’t understand, your wrong. When you understand, you're not wrong. This is because the nature of wrong is empty. When you don’t understand right seems wrong. When you understand, wrong isn’t wrong, because wrong doesn’t exist."
In this way, you end up seeing thing as they are, as it would be impossible to see something that isn't true. Simply and effortless you gain confidence in the message of Buddhas, and you can be absolutely sure of yourself without the need of refuting views of others.


Relative truth is one of the two truths of the two truths doctrine. 2+2=4 is a relative truth, and of course you will end up with made up concepts because all concepts are made up.
The consequence of your "reasoning" would be to not teach children language or concepts at all - would that then mean they would all be enlightened?

You quote the idea that the "nature of wrong is empty", but you seem to think that the nature of "right" is somehow not empty and that you have grasped it, so I can only refer you back to Catmoon's original response to you. As Nagarjuna wrote, "Those who are possessed of the view of emptiness are said to be incorrigible."

It would seem entirely appropriate to me given the question of the original post in the "Exploring Buddhism" forum to discuss the concepts of Buddhism rather than re-inventing definitions for terms according to your own view. I apologise if this gives the appearance of a refutation.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:55 pm

The consequence of your "reasoning" would be to not teach children language or concepts at all

As there is no wrong, why not teach something? I am not talking about picking this and abandoning that.
would that then mean they would all be enlightened?

They all are enlightened, no matter what language they speak. It's not about becoming.
You quote the idea that the "nature of wrong is empty", but you seem to think that the nature of "right" is somehow not empty and that you have grasped it, so I can only refer you back to Catmoon's original response to you. As Nagarjuna wrote, "Those who are possessed of the view of emptiness are said to be incorrigible."

If there is no wrong, right has no meaning. There are no empty, and non empty things. There is only that what is, embracing everything, without excluding anything. Quoting this part of MMK is totally missed here. Being stuck in emptiness refers to negating everything. This way, one negates even cure (as empty), that is why it's incorrigible. Actually, those possessed by such a view, are very very rare.
It would seem entirely appropriate to me given the question of the original post in the "Exploring Buddhism" forum to discuss the concepts of Buddhism rather than re-inventing definitions for terms according to your own view. I apologise if this gives the appearance of a refutation.

That is why, in my previous post, I directly referred to OP. This approach to "truth" is not something that I invented. It can be found in Buddhist literature as well. With conventional approach to truth, how can one be so sure of oneself? :smile: As our discussion shows, he can't.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:05 pm

Yes, I am bound to suffering...
Yes, craving perpetuates my own suffering...
Yes, if craving were extinguished, my own suffering could end...
Yes, having considered this there must be a way to end my own suffering.

Buddha seemed to understand this perfectly by accomplishing it. It would be wise to follow him, because he teaches to follow the wise. What greater wisdom could there be than the recognition of this fourfold truth, based on cause and its effect?

Furthermore, my very existence is based on the conditioning of cause and effect--there is no beginning to be confused about. By following the path to recognizing this noble fourfold truth, I can understand this chain of dependent factors that condition myself into suffering.

Therefore, I put my faith in this dharma, this "truth," in everything that I do. That is why I am so sure of myself.
I call it Dharma, and I worship it.


There is no need to cite literature to back up beliefs. That's not what Dharma is about. That doesn't a Buddhist make.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby viniketa » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:31 pm

oushi wrote:This approach to "truth" is not something that I invented. It can be found in Buddhist literature as well. With conventional approach to truth, how can one be so sure of oneself? :smile: As our discussion shows, he can't.


Oushi, you have a very good (and sane) approach to truth, that is entirely consistent with Buddhist teaching. :twothumbsup:

Even science, today, uses the word 'truth' only in a 'conventional' sense. Scientists aren't really seeking 'truth', they seek verifiable 'fact' (that can hopefully be turned into salable commoditites). :smile:

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:14 pm

viniketa wrote:Even science, today, uses the word 'truth' only in a 'conventional' sense. Scientists aren't really seeking 'truth', they seek verifiable 'fact'


:good:

Actually, these days scientists aren't even into searching for verifiable fact. Contemporary, post-Kuhnian science means attempting to find out and narrow down what presently appears to be closest to, or most likely to be, verifiable "fact". And the whole truth thingy in science started to crumble in the 19th c and had mostly disappeared by the 1950s.

Of course, there are scientists and scientists. Then there are also pop-scientists, media-scientists and pseudo-scientists.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:17 pm

viniketa wrote:
oushi wrote:This approach to "truth" is not something that I invented. It can be found in Buddhist literature as well. With conventional approach to truth, how can one be so sure of oneself? :smile: As our discussion shows, he can't.


Oushi, you have a very good (and sane) approach to truth, that is entirely consistent with Buddhist teaching. :twothumbsup:

Even science, today, uses the word 'truth' only in a 'conventional' sense. Scientists aren't really seeking 'truth', they seek verifiable 'fact' (that can hopefully be turned into salable commoditites). :smile:

:namaste:

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:23 am

oushi wrote:
You quote the idea that the "nature of wrong is empty", but you seem to think that the nature of "right" is somehow not empty and that you have grasped it, so I can only refer you back to Catmoon's original response to you. As Nagarjuna wrote, "Those who are possessed of the view of emptiness are said to be incorrigible."

If there is no wrong, right has no meaning. There are no empty, and non empty things. There is only that what is, embracing everything, without excluding anything. Quoting this part of MMK is totally missed here. Being stuck in emptiness refers to negating everything. This way, one negates even cure (as empty), that is why it's incorrigible. Actually, those possessed by such a view, are very very rare.


The quote equally applies to absolutists, dogma is dogma. In terms of the two truths of wisdom and compassion, the ultimate and relative, in your formulation the latter seems to have been subsumed by "sameness" which leads to you asserting that there is no wrong and therefore 2+2=5 is true. (It seems slightly strange just how easily scientific progress and technology has been dismissed here, especially considering we are all communicating via the web using computers, and that many of us use that to receive Dharma teachings.)

You seem to have mistaken the term Emptiness to mean negation, and therefore take the opposite view of complete affirmation of everything without discrimination, so what you are calling certainty here appears to be an assertion of the existence of an absolute. On the one hand you speak of a "cure" while at the same time claiming that, "They all are enlightened, no matter what language they speak. It's not about becoming." For me at least, my practice of Buddhism is about more than just the ultimate view to the exclusion of all else, and the idea that all is sameness, that "everything is truth, wrong does not exist" would not necessarily be the ideal starting point as an introduction to Buddhism.

I may well have misunderstood what you are saying due to your novel use of language, however it does seem to me that your use of words/concepts, such as in the statement, "Longchenpas "I", universal creativity, truth, reality, all are names of the same", appears to be an attempt to import conceptuality into a view of the absolute.

There is no ultimate reality that results from abandoning conventional appearances. :namaste:
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Jyoti » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:18 am

futerko wrote:There is no ultimate reality that results from abandoning conventional appearances. :namaste:


Right, as the buddha said "whoever see the dependent origination (conventional appearances), see the thus-gone (tatagatha)".

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby viniketa » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:35 am

futerko wrote:There is no ultimate reality that results from abandoning conventional appearances.


But there is no ultimate reality that results from 'grasping' conventional appearances, either. 2+2=4 is a conventional fact -- if a flock has 2 sheep and the shepherd buys 2 more, there are 4. This can be confirmed by 'counting' the sheep, comparing the sheep to names of numerals. Counting can be confirmed by correspondence of the numerals with 'four' fingers. Neither the fingers or the numerals are sheep of any number. All these are corresponding 'facts'.

As it turns out, one of the sheep the shepherd bought is pregnant. Soon, the shepherd will have 5 sheep (as result of the 2+2) from which to gather wool to spin & weave into cloth for the family, with some left over to trade for other necessities. The family benefits from the cloth and the trading; other families benefit from the trading. The shepherd has made a wise choice in adding to the flock. That is 'truth.'

We get confused when we think of 'true' and 'false' as opposites, confounding the meaning of both.

The facts uncovered by science are not truth. The technology to put the facts into good use to build the internet is not truth. The wisdom to utilize the science and technology underlying the internet to make dharma available to those who seek it is 'truth'. :smile:

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:33 am

futerko wrote:There is no ultimate reality that results from abandoning conventional appearances.

viniketa wrote:But there is no ultimate reality that results from 'grasping' conventional appearances, either.

Ultimate reality doesn't result from anything, it simply is. It's realized by accepting everything, even being mathematically wrong. It is true that 2+2=5 is wrong and it is true that it is true. Why, because when a kid in school makes such a equation there is unbroken, beginning less, casual chain that resulted in such a way. Everything is manifestation of this chain, and can't be otherwise. As such, everything is true from the logical perspective. Science knows it as chaos theory and quantum decoherence. Somehow, they lack the big picture, which emerges from sameness. Although, fee will is logically impossible, 99,9% of humanity holds it as given. Possibility of free choice justifies an idea of many future paths to chose from. Based on past memories, preference and desire is born. Entire dimension of right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, etc. arises, and leaning on social influence, the ideal path is designed, but... unreachable. Sometimes reality let us taste desired path, but that experience is not permanent. The question from OP is asking about the proofs for ones views. I say, reality is my proof, base and a teacher. Can you refute it with conventional notions of right and wrong?
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:25 am

viniketa wrote:
futerko wrote:There is no ultimate reality that results from abandoning conventional appearances.


But there is no ultimate reality that results from 'grasping' conventional appearances, either. 2+2=4 is a conventional fact -- if a flock has 2 sheep and the shepherd buys 2 more, there are 4. This can be confirmed by 'counting' the sheep, comparing the sheep to names of numerals. Counting can be confirmed by correspondence of the numerals with 'four' fingers. Neither the fingers or the numerals are sheep of any number. All these are corresponding 'facts'.

As it turns out, one of the sheep the shepherd bought is pregnant. Soon, the shepherd will have 5 sheep (as result of the 2+2) from which to gather wool to spin & weave into cloth for the family, with some left over to trade for other necessities. The family benefits from the cloth and the trading; other families benefit from the trading. The shepherd has made a wise choice in adding to the flock. That is 'truth.'

We get confused when we think of 'true' and 'false' as opposites, confounding the meaning of both.

The facts uncovered by science are not truth. The technology to put the facts into good use to build the internet is not truth. The wisdom to utilize the science and technology underlying the internet to make dharma available to those who seek it is 'truth'. :smile:

:namaste:


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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:33 am

oushi wrote:...the ideal path is designed, but... unreachable. Sometimes reality let us taste desired path, but that experience is not permanent. The question from OP is asking about the proofs for ones views. I say, reality is my proof, base and a teacher. Can you refute it with conventional notions of right and wrong?


I understand the point you are making, but I think that calling it "reality" is misleading in this case. :namaste:
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:51 am

futerko wrote:
oushi wrote:...the ideal path is designed, but... unreachable. Sometimes reality let us taste desired path, but that experience is not permanent. The question from OP is asking about the proofs for ones views. I say, reality is my proof, base and a teacher. Can you refute it with conventional notions of right and wrong?


I understand the point you are making, but I think that calling it "reality" is misleading in this case. :namaste:

It may be, if we divide things into real and unreal. But for me, reality is like a great pearl. Noting abandoned, nothing purified, as there is no need, or way to do that. There is no more of it here, or less of it there. I do not cling to real, and ignore imagined. When scale of extremes disappear, what remains? Timeless reality beyond words, unstoppable Tathagata, beyond coming and going. And there is not even one person, thing or atom that is outside of it, even for a fraction of a second. Reality doesn't pass, grow or decline.
This is the finger pointing to my certainty.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby catmoon » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:24 am

oushi wrote:I would say that they strongly believe, like most people believe in science. Those beliefs are based on "because" and are triggered by some events in the past. Truth doesn't need to be proven, and cannot be contradicted. Can anyone contradict presence?


There are a lot of people who believe in science simply because it is there and they do not understand it. I think of myself differently. I "believe in science" so to speak because I can crank the math, make the predictions and get the results. I have done many of the fundamental experiments myself in the lab with my own hands, and have seen the accuracy first hand. And I've seen a certain amount of misunderstanding and bs passed off as science and have learned to tell the difference. For those who know, there is little faith involved.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:50 am

Yes, patterns are traceable, no doubt. What I'm pointing to, is the fact that tracing patterns, is just another pattern. People think that by predicting the future, they are able to change its course, like the causality chain starts from the mere idea. It doesn't. That is why, scientists are one of the worst adapted social class, not a ruler class. They can predict the future, but they cannot change it. Actually, all people work like that, predicting circumstances, and building library of antidotes. It is enough to analyse the content of human thoughts. 90% of those is addressing future problems, and when time comes, we pick from "ready" solutions, blocking creativity. That's what koan practice is pointing to: give me an answer for this! Can't find it in you library? :smile:

Delusion is based on the belief that we, as individuals or as society, can control conditions. Science lies in the center of this delusion.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby catmoon » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:11 pm

Ah but we CAN control conditions in the sense that I can make the car start and then go where I want to. But a recurring problem in science is that we develop these extremely powerful methods, but lack the foresight to see their longterm consequences.

In it's day, leaded gasoline was seen as a real boon allowing more efficient, powerful engines to be built. No one had a clue about lead poisoning being a direct result. Same with nuclear power, early xray machines, pesticides, enzyme detergents, on and on. Great technology recklessly applied. Or blindly applied. Take your pick.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:06 pm

catmoon wrote:Ah but we CAN control conditions in the sense that I can make the car start and then go where I want to.

That is interesting. We cannot find the self (Anatta) but still people believe it has free will to control conditions. "I can make the car start" , can you? Or there are infinite number of conditions resulting in this activity? Can you break causality? Can you walk on water? I can't. Isn't your wanting a result of past events, past karma, and present conditions?
Like Longchenpa said "Deliberate action deceives". Conviction that we can pick from many future paths is the trunk of delusion. By cutting it down, we end up in.. somewhere where we always have been, just without this extra dimension of right and wrong, which is the cause of suffering.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Mal » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:48 pm

Ikkyu wrote:I still have yet to come across proof that beings such as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas actually exist.

Isn't it presumptuous to assume that human beings are really powerful enough to attain the highest state of being possible... that so-called "enlightenment" or bodhi? How do you know we aren't meant to suffer to some degree? What if suffering is actually a natural part of life that goes hand in hand with happiness? Even if it isn't, what makes Buddhists believe it is actually possible to get rid of it completely?


Don't you have to accept that the Buddha existed? Someone had to invent Insight Meditation. By tradition, he's called the Buddha. So as long as you accept that traditional name (and why not!) there is a Buddha. Through Insight meditation I've attained the highest state of joyful calm that I've ever experienced. I wouldn't call this enlightenment, but it might be the highest state possible (at least for me.) If it is, if that's all I get, fair enough, it's not bad - thanks Buddha!

I don't know if we are "meant to suffer to some degree" or not. The Buddha discouraged us from asking such unanswerable questions, another major plus point for the Buddha there. The point is, surely, to find and apply a technique for easing suffering. Meditation does this, to some extent, at least for me. Supposedly it works for other people as well. So why not try it?

If suffering just went hand in hand with happiness then you would never ease any of your suffering through any technique. But you can ease suffering through meditation (and even some Western therapeutic techniques!) So your whole idea of "no end to suffering" doesn't hold any water at all. Note, I myself am not sure if you can rid of suffering completely, but I'm certain you can ease it considerably using Buddhist techniques, having done so. Isn't that good enough?
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