Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:00 pm

Hey Lobs, don't refuse to clap when Peter Pan asks you if you believe in fairies.

Viva la superstition.

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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby MattyNottwo » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:53 pm

I just want to put in one opinion. If it's true, you don't have to believe in it. Like you don't have to believe that fire burns, or that water gets you wet, or start a campaign on the true belief of the heat of fire. That being said, I think belief allows us to filter out any other information that would be contrary to our belief, and many of us in order to not feel crazy or left out, try to get other people to agree with us. That being said, I think Buddhism is like LSD (not saying anything positive or negative about drugs,) but it's like you do it and you realize there is nothing you can say about it. The skeptics and doubters simply analyze all the information, yet don't taste the sugar. But, I think people realized that since other people were doing it, they had to try to say "something" about it. I wonder if skeptics are ever skeptical of their skepticism? I think Ajahn Chah recommended a kind of meditation where one maintained mindfulness, and whatever manifested, a person was instructed to question it, or "don't believe it," (as he worded it.) Aleister Crowley used to recommended that a person completely immerse themselves in a religion or belief system until the had an experience of the deity or whatever, and then to just drop it and go to the next; this was to cut through to the truth behind the mask. I guess the idea is that, can you separate the name of a thing from the thing itself? So, to probably misquote Carlos Castaneda; when we are born, everyone tries to get us to agree with them about the reality of the world, that this is a tree and that's a table and so on, and what Don Juan was trying to do, was to break down all Carlos' belief systems until he got to the ultimate beyond words, and create an entire new reality (and he said actually disappear from this world.) That's partly why I came to Buddhism, because I couldn't find Don Juan, and Buddhism seemed to create the most open, kind, loving, peaceful reality. Anyway, I'm kind of kidding about that, but maybe the truth is, as the last post said, "true love never dies."

:)
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:44 am

Jikan wrote:Sure, I mean the history for which we have a material archive: texts, artifacts, bodies you can count, pain you can describe qualitatively and quantitatively and attribute to various determinations and causes. I mean this in distinction to idealist historiography, which posits the movements and transformations of things and bodies as epiphenomena to changes in mindstuff (think of vulgar versions of Hegel such as Tarnas' Passion of the Western Mind).

In the former, you get a description of samsara if the historian has done his or her job. In the latter, you get theology, with historical evidence selected to "prove" the doctrinal position.


Thank you for the explanation. Texts, of course, are material only as to what they've been written upon. History is what gets written in those texts, and this varies widely by who is doing the writing. All the matériel tells us little about why people did what they did with all that matériel. I've always found it odd that one of the most long-held criticisms of Karl Marx and other Marxists is that his investigation of the history of society depends too much on the material aspects of society when Marx discusses at length why people do what they do with those material things.

If religion contributes to why people do the things they do with matériel, then it seems important to look at religious thought.

:focus:

Societies throughout time have had "irrational" aspects. In fact, throughout most of history societies have been irrational by modern definitions.

:namaste:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby icylake » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:28 pm

i'd say the belief is essense of buddhism too, it's the why buddhism is cathegorinized into religion. the belief in buddha, dharma, sangha, former master's teachings are the foundation of buddhism. all of practices start with the belief to the pillars every tradition claims. even in Zen sect which may be the most libral, unrestrained type of practice, the basic is belief: the great belief-the great spurring-the great doubt. if there was not the belief, can the doubt be aroused? :meditate:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Jikan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:37 pm

viniketa wrote:
Jikan wrote:Sure, I mean the history for which we have a material archive: texts, artifacts, bodies you can count, pain you can describe qualitatively and quantitatively and attribute to various determinations and causes. I mean this in distinction to idealist historiography, which posits the movements and transformations of things and bodies as epiphenomena to changes in mindstuff (think of vulgar versions of Hegel such as Tarnas' Passion of the Western Mind).

In the former, you get a description of samsara if the historian has done his or her job. In the latter, you get theology, with historical evidence selected to "prove" the doctrinal position.


Thank you for the explanation. Texts, of course, are material only as to what they've been written upon. History is what gets written in those texts, and this varies widely by who is doing the writing. All the matériel tells us little about why people did what they did with all that matériel. I've always found it odd that one of the most long-held criticisms of Karl Marx and other Marxists is that his investigation of the history of society depends too much on the material aspects of society when Marx discusses at length why people do what they do with those material things.

If religion contributes to why people do the things they do with matériel, then it seems important to look at religious thought.

:focus:

Societies throughout time have had "irrational" aspects. In fact, throughout most of history societies have been irrational by modern definitions.

:namaste:


Sure, I agree with you on all points. You've put your finger on why Marx is a dialectical thinker, but many so-called Marxists really aren't. (lookin' at you, Althusser.)

Apologies for the extended digression.

:focus:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby muni » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:10 pm

DaftChris wrote:Even though I'm a Tibetan Buddhist, Im still skeptical when it comes to it's more fantastical elements: such as the higher & lower realms as well as literal Karma. Nevertheless, I still, personally, believe in Rebirth; as I believe there is enough sufficient evidence to support such.

However, from the more hardcore skeptics, they can claim that we Buddhists who, assuming we had another belief before, reject our previous religion in favor of this type of Buddhism are simply just leaving one bag of irrationality and superstition for another. Such as Sam Harris. who believes that Buddhism "needs to be saved from Buddhists". It's enough to simply follow the precepts and live a good life; why believe in things that ignorant people from the past believed?

Do you think this is true?


Beliefs I wonder how they arise. Looks like belief is by our habitual ideas about/by phenomena.

For me buddhist teaching is to guide. Not merely to belief in tools/systems/traditions.

In general one time something is believed to be beneficial, later it is changed and turns harmful while other phenomena are waiting in the never ending queue to be investigated. What an exhausted job to catch the constantely change of phenomena, label them, investigate in them, write theories and definitions about them, compare views about them.... in investigating phenomena only, there is "a one" who believes/not believes in "an other". Isn't belief by grasping mind?

Buddhism, can bring clarity back, in which is no grasping to personal view and so no beliefs.
Investigate in mind said Guru Rinpoche, then all phenomena are clear. And a Tibetan Buddhist or 'Nangpa' looks inside, investigates mind as well.

In that way I try to understand. ( don't belief this.) :smile:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby icylake » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:39 pm

i don't think karl max was a mere materialist though. :smile: he realy had had a special insight on the Society and the history. sometimes it seems that he could have really some kinds of buddhist-like thoughts. his concept of "labour', from some aspects, really seems like "Karma", the inevitable gravity. :lol: sometimes, i think he might have been a boddhisattva :meditate: so i can fully understand the irony that some folk shrines in Vietnam and China, had memorized Karl Marx. :lol:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:34 am

What does 'rational' mean? What most people mean by 'rational' is actually nearer to 'tangible': 'what I can see and touch'. In fact modern science, often held aloft as the epitome of 'rational thinking', has found it necessary to invoke all manner of strange ideas to account for the visible, tangible world that we actually see.

When Moses asks to see who or what he has been conversing with on Mount Sinai, he is placed in a crevice and told to look out once the radiance has passed (no peeking now!). Anything more than a glimpse of God's receding back, the story implies, would blow his mortal fuses. The equivalent passage in Hindu scripture occurs in the Bhagavad Gita – and, as befitting that most frank of all religions, is more explicit about the nature of the fatal vision. Krishna responds to the warrior Arjuna's request by telling him that no man can bear his naked splendour, then goes right ahead and gives him the necessary upgrade: "divine sight". What follows is one of the wildest, most truly psychedelic episodes in world literature.

No longer veiled by a human semblance, Krishna appears in his universal aspect: a boundless, roaring, all-containing cosmos with a billion eyes and mouths, bristling with "heavenly weapons" and ablaze with the light of a thousand suns. The sight is fearsome not only in its manifold strangeness but because its fire is a consuming one. "The flames of thy mouths," a horrified Arjuna cries, "devour all the worlds … how terrible thy splendours burn!"

Until recently, a physicist would have regarded this scene as the picturesque delirium of a pre-scientific age. Most still would. And yet the contemplation of the unspeakable flowering of an infinity of worlds is no longer the province of "mystics, charlatans and cranks", as the leading string theorist Michio Kaku has written, but instead occupies "the finest minds on the planet". Welcome to the multiverse.


Review of The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, The Guardian, March 2011.

So, as far as 'rationality' is concerned, I think it is actually over-rated, or at least not very well understood.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Namgyal » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:20 am

When people refer to 'beliefs' they are usually taking the standpoint of scientific materialism which sees all religion as just fantasy theories that people are attached to in order to feel better. When people address me with this kind of stuff I get offended because the assumption is that you just follow various theories around like a mindless sheep. I started out as an entirely sceptical materialist and I have fought tooth and nail all my life against the 'supernatural', and suffice to say that it has been a losing battle. Not because I abandoned rationalism and the scientific method, but because I have followed the true scientific method and not closed my mind to anomalous evidence. Modern science and medicine long ago departed from the path of reason and truth, into safe little compartments that are controllable and marketable. No one wants an eternally mobile goalpost, even though this is exactly what the Philosophers of Ancient Greece were proposing when they referred to 'science'. So if you are an honest scientist you will recognise that the most important subject of study is metaphysics, and a little investigation will reveal that the most accomplished philosopher in this field was actually Nepalese. All religious 'believers' are philosophers of one kind or another, and so they are not 'irrational'. What is irrational is the fantastic assumption that you have personally arrived at a final definitive view about anything, in the style of modern 'doctors' and 'scientists' who dress all their half-baked propositions as irrefutable facts. Until a new 'irrefutable fact' comes along, after which the earlier one is quickly and furtively buried. Lastly, there is the evidence of one own eyes, which cannot be extended to others but which counts as rock-solid on a personal level. If you have seen a ghost or other supernatural event even once in your life you will never again scoff at the views of others, no matter how far-out. Such experiential data is not 'beliefs', it is knowledge.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:42 am

I think that Buddhism is a little less irrational than other other beliefs, for the reason that there exist in Buddhism a number of rational tenets and a certain respect for rational analysis.

We also have a full complement of tales about people turning into foxes, gods turning into dogs, and talking tortoises.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby KGrey » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:48 pm

Irrationality is individual. Rationality is individual. Dualistic judgements. What this has to do with Buddhism/what Buddhism has to do with this gets to the heart of Buddhism. Stop dipping your toe in the water and making little ripples for 'ordinary mind' to ponder - otherwise 'Buddhism' and what other 'Buddhists' do/don't do will only serve as endless fascinations/frustrations/distractions. Discernment is not a matter of picking and choosing.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:28 pm

KGrey wrote:Irrationality is individual. Rationality is individual. Dualistic judgements. What this has to do with Buddhism/what Buddhism has to do with this gets to the heart of Buddhism. Stop dipping your toe in the water and making little ripples for 'ordinary mind' to ponder - otherwise 'Buddhism' and what other 'Buddhists' do/don't do will only serve as endless fascinations/frustrations/distractions. Discernment is not a matter of picking and choosing.


Fortunately for me, I speak a private language so I don't understand what you're saying.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:44 am

All action speech mind by dualism is distraction regarding the meaning of the Buddha.

:namaste:


To classify the meaning of the Buddha, Buddhism in a label like philosophy or to compare with beliefs in a something, is like accepting it is merely the domain of minds' created world. And so we continue to prove our positions.
But then if it is not that, we turn to the other side: religion. Ah! Classifying what is not to classify, it is grasping. Without that we seem to lose ground.

Buddhism is mostly practice.
All teachings "given" by wisdom cannot be placed in a category by our labeling ideas. We need that wisdom guidance.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Ayu » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:39 am

What is rational? What is irrational? What is perception? How real is perception? What worth is evidence in the light of perception? How real is evidence?

What is it that you really can count on in this world? What is the most important thing?
:smile: Sorry, i'm too lazy today to give these answers.
Except: the most important thing is Dharma - not only for buddhists. Because "Dharma" means "inner nature" or "duty".
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:18 pm

DaftChris wrote:Even though I'm a Tibetan Buddhist, Im still skeptical when it comes to it's more fantastical elements: such as the higher & lower realms as well as literal Karma. Nevertheless, I still, personally, believe in Rebirth; as I believe there is enough sufficient evidence to support such.

However, from the more hardcore skeptics, they can claim that we Buddhists who, assuming we had another belief before, reject our previous religion in favor of this type of Buddhism are simply just leaving one bag of irrationality and superstition for another. Such as Sam Harris. who believes that Buddhism "needs to be saved from Buddhists". It's enough to simply follow the precepts and live a good life; why believe in things that ignorant people from the past believed?

Do you think this is true?


Take this parable for example.

Imagine in the next 50 years science made it possible to live for 1000 years. During that time the pollution became so thick, the smog blocked the sun. Then, no one born during this time would ever have seen the sun. As time carried on, many stopped believing there is a sun. Someone who lived during the time of the clear sky would say, "Have faith. There is a sun. We must clear the sky to see it."

Is this an irrational request? Skeptics about karma and rebirth are like these people, because an ethical life is not sufficient to clear the smog from the sky and attain the highest most sublime happiness that also puts a definitive end to samsara.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby Jeff » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:49 pm

deepbluehum wrote:
DaftChris wrote:Even though I'm a Tibetan Buddhist, Im still skeptical when it comes to it's more fantastical elements: such as the higher & lower realms as well as literal Karma. Nevertheless, I still, personally, believe in Rebirth; as I believe there is enough sufficient evidence to support such.

However, from the more hardcore skeptics, they can claim that we Buddhists who, assuming we had another belief before, reject our previous religion in favor of this type of Buddhism are simply just leaving one bag of irrationality and superstition for another. Such as Sam Harris. who believes that Buddhism "needs to be saved from Buddhists". It's enough to simply follow the precepts and live a good life; why believe in things that ignorant people from the past believed?

Do you think this is true?


Take this parable for example.

Imagine in the next 50 years science made it possible to live for 1000 years. During that time the pollution became so thick, the smog blocked the sun. Then, no one born during this time would ever have seen the sun. As time carried on, many stopped believing there is a sun. Someone who lived during the time of the clear sky would say, "Have faith. There is a sun. We must clear the sky to see it."

Is this an irrational request? Skeptics about karma and rebirth are like these people, because an ethical life is not sufficient to clear the smog from the sky and attain the highest most sublime happiness that also puts a definitive end to samsara.


That is a very good parable. Thank you.

:smile:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby viniketa » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:39 am

If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:54 am

You know what i think is funny?
The idea that there is some thing that exists that we call "belief".
Where is this "belief" thing that people keep talking about?
Isn't it only a product of one's imagination?

So, what i find so funny is that someone will ask,
"do you believe in...." --whatever,
meaning, "do you think this object is real or do you think it is something that people just made up?"
when the whole question is precariously balanced
on something called "belief" that we take as being "real"
somehow pivotal, somehow a standard by which to measure the validity of appearances,
but is in itself nothing less than a construct of the mind,
something too that people just made up!!

So, there is this...the very action itself of believing in something
--nobody thinks to question whether the action itself of "believing" is real or not.
My understanding is that "believing" and "not believing"
are both conditional constructs of the mind
and, ultimately, have no reality to their arising.

If that is the case,
how absurd to apply "believing" and "not believing"
to any secondary concern somewhere down the road.
It's like, first, having an imaginary flashlight
and then, later, arguing whether whatever it shines on is really there or not.

:lol:
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:03 am

DADA is more irrational than Buddhism.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Is Buddhism just as irrational as other beliefs?

Postby muni » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:42 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:You know what i think is funny?
The idea that there is some thing that exists that we call "belief".
Where is this "belief" thing that people keep talking about?
Isn't it only a product of one's imagination?


:lol:
.
.
.


Thank you! If okay, I take this piece out here above, since a little girl was drawing a casttle and a prince, she added also a dragon. She said: I am the princess. Me as adult smiled, "thinking" to be more wise. And so I missed the teaching.

"People just made up"

Created habit is all I think to be, by my own mispercieving in many lifes; all others/phenomena are getting their own colors.

And then the real work starts: I belief in some of my misperception and in some others not.

:namaste:
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