How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:00 pm

Mal wrote:Don't you have to accept that the Buddha existed? Someone had to invent Insight Meditation. By tradition, he's called the Buddha.


I think he was referring to ideas like manifest bodies (nirmaṇakāya) of a transcendental Buddha which readily interact with the world. This view is held by not just Mahāyāna proponents, but also the ancient Mahāsāṃghika school. However, there are also plenty of Buddhists who think Śākyamuni was a flesh and blood teacher and upon dying entered parinirvāṇa, never to be reborn again (which means no longer engaged in reality unlike how former two see the Buddha).


I don't know if we are "meant to suffer to some degree" or not.


Our suffering is largely meaningless and a result of our own past misdeeds and desires.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:19 am

Huseng wrote:
Mal wrote:Don't you have to accept that the Buddha existed? Someone had to invent Insight Meditation. By tradition, he's called the Buddha.


I think he was referring to ideas like manifest bodies (nirmaṇakāya) of a transcendental Buddha which readily interact with the world. This view is held by not just Mahāyāna proponents, but also the ancient Mahāsāṃghika school. However, there are also plenty of Buddhists who think Śākyamuni was a flesh and blood teacher and upon dying entered parinirvāṇa, never to be reborn again (which means no longer engaged in reality unlike how former two see the Buddha).

There are not mutually exclusive ideas. Even though the Buddha really existed, as historical evidence dictates, he still possessed the sambhogakaya or enjoyment body and the dharmakaya.


I don't know if we are "meant to suffer to some degree" or not.


Our suffering is largely meaningless and a result of our own past misdeeds and desires.

Whether it's meaningful to someone, or not meaningful, their suffering is based on the conditioning of cause and affect; with origin and cessation. There is only this cause and affect conditioning our own suffering. The only meaning that I myself have seen in that, is Buddha, which inspires me to follow the noble path.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:50 am

duckfiasco wrote:I think many of your questions are similar to someone being incredulous that astronomers can tell the composition and age of stars with spectroscopy and other sciences. If you don't understand the foundations and layers that support the more advanced principles, they'll seem like nonsense or non sequiturs. Not to mention that kind of knowledge is useless to someone not really interested in astronomy.

When you consider that Buddhism is not merely a new way of quantifying the physical world (hence why asking for empirical proof of some things is a bit odd), but rather a worldview entirely different from our usual inside/outside, me/others, true/false set of dichotomies, it becomes even more difficult to fit it into our nice little system of logical compartments.

I really recommend a patient, step-by-step approach. Do what you find helps you and others. They're pretty much the same thing anyway. Then your horizons of investigation will expand.


I disagree. If Dharma is so transcendent and hard to discern, thus being almost outside "our nice little system of logical compartments", as you put it, then why are there whole forums like this devoted to it? Why all the texts and books and commentaries and lectures on something which we cannot grasp?

The fact is that no one would know about Buddhism, much less anything else, without the faculties of logic, reasoning, empirical investigation and critical thinking.

You said, "I think many of your questions are similar to someone being incredulous that astronomers can tell the composition and age of stars with spectroscopy and other sciences. If you don't understand the foundations and layers that support the more advanced principles, they'll seem like nonsense or non sequiturs. Not to mention that kind of knowledge is useless to someone not really interested in astronomy."

My problem with this statement is that even if someone IS incredulous about these complex methods astronomers employ that person can still waltz over to a library, take classes at a university or get online and read and learn everything they need to know about the use of spectroscopy, etc. in discerning the composition and age of stars. They can view, test and experience for themselves the evidence that these methods work consistently. They can do the math.

Buddhism, on the other hand, while a very advanced and practical philosophy, makes certain assertions which cannot be proven with empirical evidence. And yes, empirical evidence IS and should be the rational basis for any belief. I would really love to believe in rebirth, but hearing all these flowery stories of somebody remembering their past life as a butterfly strikes me just as odd and unlikely as Christians who see visions of Jesus. Yes, meditation works... and yes, karma makes sense since cause and effect are natural, observable phenomena... but to extrapolate something like cause and effect and state that is accounts for reincarnations and interdimensional Buddha-beings is a stretch.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby futerko » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:29 am

Ikkyu wrote:Buddhism, on the other hand, while a very advanced and practical philosophy, makes certain assertions which cannot be proven with empirical evidence. And yes, empirical evidence IS and should be the rational basis for any belief lest we fall pray to bullshit. I would really love to believe in rebirth, but hearing all these flowery stories of somebody remembering their past life as a butterfly strikes me just as odd and unlikely as Christians who see visions of Jesus. Yes, meditation works... and yes, karma makes sense since cause and effect are natural, observable phenomena... but to extrapolate something like cause and effect and state that is accounts for reincarnations and interdimensional Buddha-beings is a stretch.


Rebirth is not something to be believed in as such, but rather the result of taking a wider viewpoint. Empirical evidence is great for empirical questions, but empiricism presupposes a limit to experience which is not necessarily the actual limit - one's experience is in fact wider than that, and therefore leads to wider truths which can only be experienced by not placing such boundaries on experience.

A person saying their past life was a butterfly is no different from saying that a table was once a tree - it is nominally true, but it does not really account for the wider view.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Jyoti » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:53 pm

Ikkyu wrote:Buddhism, on the other hand, while a very advanced and practical philosophy, makes certain assertions which cannot be proven with empirical evidence. And yes, empirical evidence IS and should be the rational basis for any belief lest we fall pray to bullshit. I would really love to believe in rebirth, but hearing all these flowery stories of somebody remembering their past life as a butterfly strikes me just as odd and unlikely as Christians who see visions of Jesus. Yes, meditation works... and yes, karma makes sense since cause and effect are natural, observable phenomena... but to extrapolate something like cause and effect and state that is accounts for reincarnations and interdimensional Buddha-beings is a stretch.


Then you failed to see dependent-origination either through rational analysis or inference of valid cognition. Karma, cause and effect, all these phenomena does not make sense outside of the theory of dependent-origination. If you understand dependent-origination is about the individual, and its circle does not cease in the presence of conditions, you are looking directly at the permanence of buddha nature within the individual.

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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby undefineable » Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:29 am

Ikkyu wrote:And yes, empirical evidence IS and should be the rational basis for any belief lest we fall pray to bullshit


So if, by some quirk of fate, you entered and lived out your next life without ever forgetting your current one (which would then be your previous one), you would disbelieve what you knew simply because that evidence wasn't 'empirical'? :rolleye:

Ikkyu wrote:but to extrapolate something like cause and effect and state that is accounts for reincarnations _ _ is a stretch.


To assume we are who we are due to "pure chance", on the other hand, is unscientific - If all the early scientists had just thrown up their hands and said "there's no explanation", we'd have no science, just a metaphysical nihilism with more in common with Christianity.

the only 'stretch' in basic Buddhism is the claim that everything -not just the empirically measurable universe- functions according to natural laws whose effects can be rationally deduced - i.e. dependent origination.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:58 am

Ikkyu wrote:I disagree. If Dharma is so transcendent and hard to discern, thus being almost outside "our nice little system of logical compartments", as you put it, then why are there whole forums like this devoted to it? Why all the texts and books and commentaries and lectures on something which we cannot grasp?


It is with words and conventional truth that we ascertain the ultimate.


Buddhism, on the other hand, while a very advanced and practical philosophy, makes certain assertions which cannot be proven with empirical evidence. And yes, empirical evidence IS and should be the rational basis for any belief. I would really love to believe in rebirth, but hearing all these flowery stories of somebody remembering their past life as a butterfly strikes me just as odd and unlikely as Christians who see visions of Jesus. Yes, meditation works... and yes, karma makes sense since cause and effect are natural, observable phenomena... but to extrapolate something like cause and effect and state that is accounts for reincarnations and interdimensional Buddha-beings is a stretch.


There is plenty of evidence supporting what the Buddha taught. There are many cases of children who recollect past lives, for example, and this is documented in an academic fashion by qualified researchers.

There are also plenty of people who report having encounters with immaterial beings. Across all cultures and time periods normal, sane and healthy people report having encounters with immaterial beings. The present day mainstream materialist theories deny that this is possible because it fails to work in their models, hence they dismiss it as impossible, but they argue from theory, not evidence. Everywhere around the world people encounter ghosts and other assorted immaterial beings. It is a cross-cultural phenomena.

The reason modern day people (especially anyone who is thoroughly educated) are prone to scepticism about such things is because of the mainstream prevailing cosmology and official state sanctioned theories about reality. Materialism was the victor of the reality wars during and after the Renaissance, which is why mental and other such phenomena are given secondary status. People brought up in cultures that reject materialism are quite comfortable with the idea of immaterial beings like ghosts, spirits and pretas, as well as transcendental Buddha bodies.

There is more to reality than dead chunks of matter floating around empty space.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:38 pm

My problem with this statement is that even if someone IS incredulous about these complex methods astronomers employ that person can still waltz over to a library, take classes at a university or get online and read and learn everything they need to know about the use of spectroscopy, etc. in discerning the composition and age of stars. They can view, test and experience for themselves the evidence that these methods work consistently. They can do the math.


Yes one can go and read and supposedly 'learn' what the theory these scientists use as a basis for the claim.
But this is just that, a theory.

If one practices Buddhism and tries to see if the teachings of Buddha are true, as he said to do, one will find they are true.
The teachings apply to this human existence and its suffering, there really is no question there.
But they also show us that by following the teachings there is an end to the suffering.......even though it may take several existences.
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby undefineable » Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:58 pm

Huseng wrote:There is more to reality than dead chunks of matter floating around empty space.


Well I wish there wasn't, and that I was normal enough to draw inspiration from that absence.

Materialism is a religion (in the sense of a set of dogmas) that brings comfort to hundreds of millions of westerners and aspiring 'westerners'. It's a genuinely western religion with its roots in ancient Greek and Roman Pragmatism, unlike Middle-Eastern/Asian Christianity and Judaism, which have their roots in Persian Zarathustrianism. {The Hindu gods also have some Persian roots, to my knowledge.}

Without materialism, western culture and those who belong and aspire to it would lose the characteristic 'devil-may-care' lightheartedness that it brings them, and that -I feel- would be tragic in every sense of the word.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:55 pm

undefineable wrote:
Huseng wrote:There is more to reality than dead chunks of matter floating around empty space.


Well I wish there wasn't, and that I was normal enough to draw inspiration from that absence.

Materialism is a religion (in the sense of a set of dogmas) that brings comfort to hundreds of millions of westerners and aspiring 'westerners'. It's a genuinely western religion with its roots in ancient Greek and Roman Pragmatism, unlike Middle-Eastern/Asian Christianity and Judaism, which have their roots in Persian Zarathustrianism. {The Hindu gods also have some Persian roots, to my knowledge.}

Without materialism, western culture and those who belong and aspire to it would lose the characteristic 'devil-may-care' lightheartedness that it brings them, and that -I feel- would be tragic in every sense of the word.


The promise of oblivion swallowing up your sins and depositing you in permanent eternal unconsciousness, thus excusing you of the consequences of your actions, is appealing to many people. When they are happy and enjoying themselves, it might seem terrifying, but in the presence of sustained hardship and suffering, or emotional trauma, people with such views easily throw themselves out windows. It is conceived of as a permanent cessation of suffering. Just kill the brain in some way, and you are excused from subjective existence and all the hardships that comes with it. Forever.

Such a way of thinking easily prompts towards suicide, but collectively on a society-wide scale people stop caring about the long-term future, too. What does it matter if our actions are collectively cooking the planet? Just as long as we can live it up now and then when we die it won't be our problem anymore. Live life to the fullest, they say, because you "only live once". I hear this from people all the time. "Just as long as I don't have to live through it..."

I think if the modern world generally had a conviction in rebirth or even some kind of conception of the divinity of nature, we wouldn't have such rampant industrialization gone horribly wrong. India apparently still does, yet has a horrible track record environmentally, though I think that is largely as a result of the elites and middle-class being westernized. The sadhus certainly don't command industry or government.

Then again it is arguable that industrial revolution would not occur in a culture with widespread concern for transcendental matters. Ancient India for example was fantastically wealthy, but invested a lot of their surplus resources into ashrams, viharas, stone monuments and the populace. They invested in institutions that investigated the mind to remedy suffering rather than figuring out how to manipulate the physical universe for ultimately destructive ends.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:57 pm

undefineable wrote: {The Hindu gods also have some Persian roots, to my knowledge.}


The Hindu pantheon is largely descended from prehistorical Indo-European religions, of which Persian religion was also descended from.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo ... n_religion
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby undefineable » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:02 pm

Huseng wrote:The promise of oblivion swallowing up your sins and depositing you in permanent eternal unconsciousness, thus excusing you of the consequences of your actions, is appealing to many people. When they are happy and enjoying themselves, it might seem terrifying, but in the presence of sustained hardship and suffering, or emotional trauma, people with such views easily throw themselves out windows. It is conceived of as a permanent cessation of suffering. Just kill the brain in some way, and you are excused from subjective existence and all the hardships that comes with it. Forever.

Such a way of thinking easily prompts towards suicide, but collectively on a society-wide scale people stop caring about the long-term future, too. What does it matter if our actions are collectively cooking the planet? Just as long as we can live it up now and then when we die it won't be our problem anymore. Live life to the fullest, they say, because you "only live once". I hear this from people all the time. "Just as long as I don't have to live through it..."

I think if the modern world generally had a conviction in rebirth or even some kind of conception of the divinity of nature, we wouldn't have such rampant industrialization gone horribly wrong. India apparently still does, yet has a horrible track record environmentally, though I think that is largely as a result of the elites and middle-class being westernized. The sadhus certainly don't command industry or government.

Then again it is arguable that industrial revolution would not occur in a culture with widespread concern for transcendental matters. Ancient India for example was fantastically wealthy, but invested a lot of their surplus resources into ashrams, viharas, stone monuments and the populace. They invested in institutions that investigated the mind to remedy suffering rather than figuring out how to manipulate the physical universe for ultimately destructive ends.


So you don't think Carl Sagan's proposed scientism-spirituality's working, then? I'm aware that many atheists claim their beliefs give them a greater appreciation of life, and also that many Christians -atleast in the US (as well as in Nero's day, Historians reckon)- feel that actively contributing to the destruction of the world will fulfill a religious duty by hastening Armageddon. Nonetheless, your argument seems to hold, although I can't really see why it should in the case of any culture with a 'resurrection to eternal life/death' religion - rather than one which proposes rebirth on this earth (or in a realm with ties to it).

However, I don't think 'New Atheism' runs as deep, atleast in the west (with its Christian heritage), as you make out. I think it's more comparable to what we all go through as children: We hear stories about Santa Claus but also stories about boogeymen, so when our mothers reassure us that boogeymen are just stories that rest in our imagination, we're soon happy to accept the same about Santa. We'd rather feel safe in a world in which everything is known by some grown-up whose knowledge we can call on, than continue to deal with a deepening internal world
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Son » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:14 pm

Huseng wrote:
The promise of oblivion swallowing up your sins and depositing you in permanent eternal unconsciousness, thus excusing you of the consequences of your actions, is appealing to many people. When they are happy and enjoying themselves, it might seem terrifying, but in the presence of sustained hardship and suffering, or emotional trauma, people with such views easily throw themselves out windows. It is conceived of as a permanent cessation of suffering. Just kill the brain in some way, and you are excused from subjective existence and all the hardships that comes with it. Forever.


An even sillier notion than the Christian beliefs...
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:43 pm

We need religion to stop us killing ourselves? Darn.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Nemo » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:49 pm

Why can't ones experiences from thousands of hours of meditation be considered empirical evidence? The Buddha gave all the necessary tools to find out for yourself. Faith is for the foolish.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Nothing » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:24 am

Ignorance is the only thing that stands in the way.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:52 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Anders wrote:Once you apply proper scientific and philosophical rigour and recognise the distinctions between philosophy and science, it's pretty clear that there are issues of philosophical interpolation involved in such assertions.

A good point, Anders. Although these issues may seem petty to a scientist, they are of great significance to a philosophical system such as buddhism.


But asserting the existence of supernatural beings or dimensions or states of being isn't a philosophical conjecture. It's just a baseless assertion. Philosophy involves rational analysis. It doesn't just proclaim revelation of transcendent truths like the Buddha did. Buddha never took the time to explain how he knew, beyond a reasonable doubt, that we can prove with empirical evidence the existence of Buddhas, or devas, or Iddhi or Pure Lands or bodhisattvas or enlightenment or rebirth or karma. He gave us some basic ideas like karma and conditioned genesis which seem to tie rebirth and non-self together. But that's about it. The rest seems pointless to believe in since it stands on no more evidence than stigmata or Muslim miracles or Hindu flying yogis.

There's a great book called "Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions". I'd suggest all Buddhists read the chapter entitled "The Argument from Religious Experience". It makes some interesting points about how we psychologically dupe ourselves into believing things which, for all intents and purposes, aren't true or can't be proven empirically. Sure, you could go for Descartes' dreamworld or the brain in the vat, but this is sweeping the issue under the rug and copping out. Just as the burden of proof lies on theists to prove their God, so does the burden of proof lie on Buddhists to prove their supernatural beings, their hungry ghosts and lokhas. If a theory doesn't stand up to logical analysis or, alternatively, the scientific method, it's probably not true/real, at least in our world. Experiential events don't prove the existence of Yidam's more than Teresa of Avila's stigmata or Constantine's cross cloud.

But, y'know, as Pascal once asserted, "All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling." If I feel that instead of Buddhas, my religion of flying chocolate chip muffins is the true way to enlightenment than how am I any more wrong or right than Buddhists? I could have just as easily had a meditational deity of the giant chocolate chip muffin inspire my bodhicitta than Vairocana himself.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Tanmart22 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:29 am

The point is that you go inward in search of truth and balance, and upon discovering tastes and trails of it, you eventually find a path, which brings you higher and closer to what you seek. So historical and scientific inquiries, while in my opinion they do support the story of the Siddhartha as well as transmigration and intelligence, take a backseat when you find an internal, spiritual path that makes sense to you and can actively resolve conflict in your life. This is why people of any group are sure that that group is great, because in a practical day to day sense, it has an impact on their life, and that is exactly what they're looking for. It's like finding 100 dollars- you don't have to convince yourself that it's great, it's just great, and since we all use money, we get that instantly, but spiritually and mentally there is more diversity, hence religious divides, political opposition, but at the end of the day academic research can only bring you do the door, once you open the door and find what you seek, you are sure of yourself, just as when you cook a meal and it tastes delicious.
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Ikkyu » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:37 am

Tanmart22 wrote:The point is that you go inward in search of truth and balance, and upon discovering tastes and trails of it, you eventually find a path, which brings you higher and closer to what you seek. So historical and scientific inquiries, while in my opinion they do support the story of the Siddhartha as well as transmigration and intelligence, take a backseat when you find an internal, spiritual path that makes sense to you and can actively resolve conflict in your life. This is why people of any group are sure that that group is great, because in a practical day to day sense, it has an impact on their life, and that is exactly what they're looking for. It's like finding 100 dollars- you don't have to convince yourself that it's great, it's just great, and since we all use money, we get that instantly, but spiritually and mentally there is more diversity, hence religious divides, political opposition, but at the end of the day academic research can only bring you do the door, once you open the door and find what you seek, you are sure of yourself, just as when you cook a meal and it tastes delicious.


"The point is that you go inward in search of truth and balance..."

This is in effect an argument from religious experience, or at least an argument from experience. If it can be proven objectively in the experiences of most individuals I would say it stands to reason. If not it is simple the psychological effect of believing in anything too strongly, in this case Buddhism. The fact that we can convince ourselves of things aside from what is rational is just self-imposed doublethink or cognitive dissonance. By saying I should turn inward for the truth, how do you know the truth I won't find will be Islam or Hinduism or Scientology? I'm saying... what makes Buddhism more right than these? What makes bodhisattvas exist while a supreme God doesn't or intermediary Catholic saints in Heaven don't? Tell me to basically meditate on it until I convince myself is basically telling me to indoctrinate myself with something I cannot prove to be true. If it's in the sutras it apparently must be correct.

"So historical and scientific inquiries, while in my opinion they do support the story of the Siddhartha as well as transmigration and intelligence, take a backseat when you find an internal, spiritual path that makes sense to you and can actively resolve conflict in your life."

And Christians tell me that historical and scientific inquiries support the story of Jesus, as well as Heaven and original sin. They tell me to take a back seat once I find Jesus and once Christianity makes sense to me and comforts me. Does this make Christianity true? You can't have a double standard until you prove that Buddhism is more correct than other religions.

"This is why people of any group are sure that that group is great, because in a practical day to day sense, it has an impact on their life, and that is exactly what they're looking for."

Yes. A lot of religion is in the business of convincing people that delusions represent truth in order to avoid reality. The ironic thing about Buddhism, if we assume that it is a flawed philosophy (which, mind you, I'm trying to keep a neutral stance about while positing difficult and challenging questions) is that it says it's doing the opposite -- that's it's freeing us from delusion and making us encounter reality. Enlightenment in particular seems like a soteriological goal that could, in effect, amount to wishful thinking. We can't prove that anyone has been enlightened. (Still... I have a much easier time believing this concept to be possible than the existence of bodhisattvas. If by enlightenment we mean the fullness of human potential I can agree with that. Human beings should always strive to exercise wisdom and compassion. Seems good to me, and helpful to the world. Still not conclusive though.)

"It's like finding 100 dollars- you don't have to convince yourself that it's great, it's just great, and since we all use money, we get that instantly, but spiritually and mentally there is more diversity, hence religious divides, political opposition, but at the end of the day academic research can only bring you do the door, once you open the door and find what you seek, you are sure of yourself, just as when you cook a meal and it tastes delicious."

It seems like the common religious, or in particular mystical argument for the truth of a religion is to basically say that the religion or some of its tenets are beyond logical comprehension. This tries to put the ideology on a pedestal where science and reason can't reach it, thus making it unchallengable. It's an interesting scapegoat for any philosophy to say that it is "above your conceptual ways of thinking" and thus outside criticism or logical debate.
"Nothing can be known, not even this."
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Re: How can Buddhists be so sure of themselves?

Postby Seishin » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:08 am

Ikkyu wrote: Does this make Christianity true? You can't have a double standard until you prove that Buddhism is more correct than other religions.


When people ask me about Buddhism I always tell them that it's a religion because it requires faith. You need a level of faith (or trust) in the teachings because we cannot provide physical proof. Buddhism is a transformative religion and it starts on the inside, so no-one can give you proof, only you can find out for yourself. The only difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that Buddhism believes transformation comes from within, and Christianity believes it comes from God. If you believe in yourself then you have the ability to change. However if after 12 pages of 238 posts you still are looking for proof then sorry to be blunt, but give up! :tongue:

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