I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:35 pm

The advantage of not believing in life after death is that one will not be troubled by a belief in hell.

Any intelligent and sensitive person engaged with the world has enough to be troubled by.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby PorkChop » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:03 pm

dharmagoat wrote:The advantage of not believing in life after death is that one will not be troubled by a belief in hell.
Any intelligent and sensitive person engaged with the world has enough to be troubled by.


Well the point of my post was that I'd willingly (and gladly) go to hell if it meant practicing the form of spirituality that leaves me the most fulfilled & satisfied.
Being nervous about something is not enough reason for me to deny its existence.
One of my realizations recently has been that I am most definitely not a materialist.
If nihilism floats your boat then more power to you, but there's nothing about that approach that appeals to me and my personal belief is that it does not reconcile well with canonical Buddhism (but that's not up to me to decide).

That being said, I don't know how I'd be if I was a nihilist.
One side of me says that I would try to squeeze every last ounce of enjoyment out of this lifetime regardless of whomever was hurt in the wake.
The other side of me says I'd be doing the exact same things, because what I'm doing gives me peace and that makes me happy.

If there's one thing that I've learned in my 35 short years, it's to not doubt the potential of the human mind or limit its possibilities to those that have been recreated in a lab.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:04 am

Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death. It is the opposite to believing that there is life after death. The third option is to believe neither, which avoids drawing any premature conclusion regarding the potential of the human mind.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:33 am

PorkChop wrote:If nihilism floats your boat...

dharmagoat wrote:Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death. It is the opposite to believing that there is life after death. The third option is to believe neither, which avoids drawing any premature conclusion regarding the potential of the human mind.

I wouldn't be so hasty to equate nihilism with apostmortism (no life after death). There's no solid basis for it. Perhaps we're confusing nihilism with annihilationism, but even the latter is more complex than is normally acknowledged. I won't even get started on the way "materialism" gets thrown around, as in PorkChop's post. No worldview is as simple and monolithic an entity as they are usually treated.

That being said, Dharmagoat, I very much appreciate you making that subtle distinction.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:18 am

Perhaps I should point out that despite having opinions on how karma and the hell realms work about the only time I ever think about them is when people raise the subject here. I think compassion and meditation are much more important.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby PorkChop » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:04 pm

dharmagoat wrote:Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death. It is the opposite to believing that there is life after death. The third option is to believe neither, which avoids drawing any premature conclusion regarding the potential of the human mind.


Well in that case, I apologize for not picking up on the subtle, non-dual meaning of your post.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:00 pm

PorkChop wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death. It is the opposite to believing that there is life after death. The third option is to believe neither, which avoids drawing any premature conclusion regarding the potential of the human mind.


Well in that case, I apologize for not picking up on the subtle, non-dual meaning of your post.
Well, unfortunately DG's post hasn't made the leap into non-dualism quite yet!

There is life after death.
There isn't life after death.
There is and there is not life after death.
There neither is nor is not life after death.

After that we end up in true non-dualism!
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"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby justsit » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:17 pm

"...all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase. Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas, no eye dhatu up to no mind dhatu, no dhatu of dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no non-attainment...."
-The Heart Sutra

So what happens after death?
What happens before life?
What life?
What death?
Mere dependent arising, like a dream, like a water moon.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:48 pm

From Earth to stratosphere in just three posts. Is that a record? :smile:
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby justsit » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:51 pm

:rolling:

:twothumbsup:
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:52 pm

Fu Ri Shin wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death.

I wouldn't be so hasty to equate nihilism with apostmortism (no life after death). There's no solid basis for it. Perhaps we're confusing nihilism with annihilationism, but even the latter is more complex than is normally acknowledged.

Thank you for pointing this out.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby PorkChop » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:11 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Fu Ri Shin wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Nihilism involves believing that there is not life after death.

I wouldn't be so hasty to equate nihilism with apostmortism (no life after death). There's no solid basis for it. Perhaps we're confusing nihilism with annihilationism, but even the latter is more complex than is normally acknowledged.

Thank you for pointing this out.


Definition of NIHILISM
1 a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
1 b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
2 a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility


Yeah, nihilism was definitely a poor choice on my part.
First time I've heard "apostmortism" might use that one in the future.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Namgyal » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:27 pm

Ikkyu wrote: I left Christianity because it was, for me, a bunch of fear-mongering and illogical drivel. I went to Buddhism because I thought it was really about ending suffering.


Christianity has one hell, Buddhism has eighteen. As for the video, it was made by the heterodox Dhammakaya sub-sect as part of their ongoing campaign against alcoholism in Thai society, so I wouldn't take it too literally.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby shel » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:21 pm

PorkChop wrote:I'd willingly (and gladly) go to hell if it meant practicing the form of spirituality that leaves me the most fulfilled & satisfied.

You are most defiantly not a nihilist, PorkChop.

I am most definitely not a materialist.

Isn't the metaphysical equally subject to attachment and grasping? and not letting go even while in hell...
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby PorkChop » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:55 am

shel wrote:
PorkChop wrote:I am most definitely not a materialist.

Isn't the metaphysical equally subject to attachment and grasping? and not letting go even while in hell...


Very good point.
I do have some what of an agnostic view in that I won't know what happens after I die until I get there.
It's not a situation where I'll blindly hang on to a belief in the face of definitive proof to the contrary.
It's more about adopting a world view that gives me a positive outlook on life and at least makes me feel that I'm working towards something greater.
As far as stamping out my attachments, I'm still in the learning process, and I'm not very far into the adaptation process.

In India back in the day, men of a certain age went into the forest upon completing family obligations (usually 35 to 40, sometimes later).
You see this in a lot of Buddhist & even Christian cultures too - men becoming monks once they've met family obligations, usually in their later years.
More often than not, this coincides with the loss of a spouse.
I like the idea of this & am considering some type of renunciation if/when I get older, not that I'm going to wait until then to start letting my attachments go, but at that point I'll be able to devote more time and effort to it.
Somehow, I think my wife's going to outlive me by a long shot - so I'll probably have to "make do" with periodic retreats once the kids are gone.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:17 am

PorkChop wrote:First time I've heard "apostmortism" might use that one in the future.

I definitely just threw it together, but feel free. It's my alternative to annihilationism, which in my opinion is a poor descriptor of the beliefs of many so-called annihilationists.
"Once delusion is extinguished, your wisdom naturally arises and you don’t differentiate suffering and joy. Actually, this joy and this suffering, they are the same."

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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:47 pm

nilakantha wrote:To me, it all comes down to a question of pramana (epistemology). As we know, the pramanavadins postulated three types of knowables: pratyaksha (perceptible things), paroksha (things known through inference) and atyantaparoksha (transcendent things). When it comes to transcendent things, the scholastic consensus is that they can only be known through the word of an omniscient being, i.e. Buddhavacana (Buddhist Scripture). The final chapter of Shantarakshita's Tattvasamgraha is a good place to find the argument laid out. Therefore, lacking any evidence from scripture to the contrary, I believe in the literal experience of the heavens and hells as the Lord described them. The location of such realms is only of interest if you postulate the existence of an objective world apart from mind. I don't. Hells and heavens, like our Saha world in general, come into existence due to our karma.


So what your saying is that trusting a piece of paper or a book because the text or commentator on the text says it is reliable because it espouses "transcendent reality" means it is true?

You could care to debate this, but in my opinion evidentialism is the only sort of epistemological stance that makes sense, if we take the physical world we experience through our senses to be more reliable as a source of knowledge than things we cannot directly experience. (Which would seem to naturally be our best bet, no?) In short, we can only justify a belief if we have evidence for it prior to the belief. To state a belief in something we cannot justify with sufficient evidence and then try to bring in evidence after the fact is erroneous. We start with evidence and create a belief based around this if we want to be rational.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:53 pm

catmoon wrote:Really, Ikkyu, these anti-Buddhists rants don't belong on a Buddhist board. If you find some of the teachings do not accord with your experience of things, why not just set them to one side and continue on your path in peace? There is no rule stating that you have to believe anything the Buddha taught if you don't want to.


Look: I don't hate Buddhism. I think it is in some ways a very practical philosophy which has helped many people. 'Can't go wrong with compassion and wisdom, right? But the way I look at it, it is in some sense immoral to believe something without evidence, as the philosopher William Alston I believe suggested. This is because if we posit the existence of bodhisattvas, rebirth, karma, etc. without sufficient evidence what we are invariably doing is halting the search for truth in the universe. We are not opening ourselves to all possibilities. We are basically saying, "this is the way it is and that isn't," when clearly we don't know that with certainty. And if you can't be certain about something why believe it? (Or spend the rest of your sex-deprived life sleeping four hours a night and sitting still for eight hours a day a Zen monastery, for that matter. (c.f. "The Empty Mirror".)) Sure, you could say that we can't be certain that we will eat breakfast tomorrow or go to work on our morning shift, but it's very likely that this is the case. Can we make a similar statement about abstract metaphysical realities? I'm just saying that if Buddhists want to present Buddhism as a scientifically rigorous and rational religion they need to consider these things.
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:59 pm

undefineable wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:They should be, lest we betray our own intellect and potential as human beings. To believe something without evidence is pretty much intellectual suicide, and frankly it's self-degradation. We base our understanding of things on our ability to perceive the empirical evidence that suggests a certain thing is true.


What is intellect, if not the plaything of geeks :toilet: ? Seriously, though, our understanding of social situations is based on our ability to intuit (i.e. subconsciously streamline and re-package) the empirical evidence - Read about autism to find out how slow and clunky the social cognition of beings becomes in the absence of such intuition. Already we have an absence of any perception we could be sufficiently conscious of to fully understand, and yet our understanding of the bread-and-butter of the human world is based on the feelings mediated to consciousness by such 'unconscious perception'. This might explain why humans have imagined gaining other understanding through such means for so long.

I'd agree that beliefs -without evidence- in things 'over and above' whatever is rationally demonstrable (or self-evident) about the contents of our senses can easily become socially dangerous in their formative years - Humans are quick to jumped to conclusions, as well as to accuse each other of being undeserving, and so having conjured some 'higher truths' out of their vague intuition of a greater reality (which might just be the whole universe we know and love/hate), we promptly accuse most of our fellow humans of failing to live up to such ideals - Witness 'religion v. homosexuality' or 'New Age' judgements on cancer sufferers. As a beginner in Buddhism and as a thinker, however, I can't honestly rule out possibilities such as God's existence, and am happy to entertain them as such.


It's the same reason I'm happy to entertain a belief in flying spaghetti monsters, invisible pink unicorns, cannibalistic chocolate chip muffins from Saturn and the fact that it will rain televisions in Delaware on February 13th, 2087. I can't rule out these possibilities, so it's fair for me to believe them, right?

I'm not being sarcastic to be a jerk here, but to demonstrate my point. Do you understand what I'm getting at?
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Re: I thought Buddhism wasn't about threatening people with Hell

Postby Ikkyu » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:01 pm

undefineable wrote:
Ikkyu wrote:Sure, ultimately if a person could let go of the delusion that the self and phenomena are real objectively they may not be as terrified about the acid being poured on their faces in the hell realms, it's still happening in some sense because they are experiencing it.They're experiencing something ridiculous and unwarranted and silly and torturous for no good reason on the level of conventional truth, even if it's all nothing on the level of ultimate reality. The idea is still incredibly ridiculous.


The fave 'ad hominem' of every self-respecting atheist, 'wishful thinking', can be used against those who deny hell just as easily as it an be thrown at those who entertain heaven. If you're just worried about the possibility of hells existing, I understand that. Since when, though, did acid stop getting poured on the faces of real human beings on planet earth?! Suffering is always unjustified unless it's self-inflicted (and even then one has to ask why one inflicted it on oneself); this seems more true ultimately than relatively. Moreover, isn't it mainly 'the good' who suffer? - Those who cause the most suffering generally have the least capacity to experience it for themselves, even though (it's said) their mental models for the torments they cause are typically accurate. Since they have fewer qualms and -partly through practice- more 'nous' than others about how to better themselves through harming those around them, they easily end up developing their own minds in an outward direction better than anyone with a 'conscience' could.

{This is actually my main question about karma - Why should evil not be rewarded and good punished, as Nietzsche and de Sade suggest?}

Ikkyu wrote:I'd say Taoism, at least the philosophical kind of Lao Tzu and Chuangzi, is pretty peaceful. Isn't it kind of an elitist attitude to be claiming that ONLY Buddhism is peaceful across the board?


Isn't Lao Tzu kind of elitist? Not to mention the fact that 'the sage', somewhere in his writings, is someone with complete indifference towards all his fellow beings _

Anyway, I'm with you that Buddhist descriptions of Hell sound a bit silly, but to me it's simply the kind of offences that land one there that sound 'off'.


Lao Tzu probably did think pretty highly of himself. That I won't deny. But Taoist philsophy, as I was saying, is peaceful... at least in the sense that is tries to harmonize humanity's existence with nature. But I think I'm getting off topic.
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