Myth in Buddhism

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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:10 am

Huseng wrote:What works in national politics may not work at the ground level and vice-versa.

One system will not be universally applicable to all scenarios, nor will it necessarily be the optimal system forever.

Basically, at a community level of religious practitioners, having elected leadership might be preferable to appointed titles given for life.

That doesn't necessarily entail democracy as the optimal system at the national level of course.


I don't disagree that some collaborative arrangement is preferable at a local level, yet I do think that senior practitioners should take a leadership role. This is the way things are done in the ordained sangha and I think it works well. There are always power trips among certain practitioners, and this is doubtless a way of them working this out. I think very small groups are much preferable to large organizations in this regard. Larger groups tend to stratify into in-crowds and out-crowds ranked by proximity to the guru, much like courtiers guarding access to the king or queen. That gets tiresome really quickly. In smaller groups, everyone has access.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:49 am

Karma Dorje wrote:I don't disagree that some collaborative arrangement is preferable at a local level, yet I do think that senior practitioners should take a leadership role.


Whether they should or shouldn't is aside the point that not everyone will make a good leader and administrator.

If you spent much of your life devoted to meditation, for example, then you might not have much of a grasp on mundane reality, money, politics, government and so forth. A good yogi might not be all that sociable either, which is necessary when dealing with a public which supports one's operations and practice. A leader will have to deal with everyone's BS and know how to address it.

So, having the community elect someone who they feel is fit for the task is probably a good idea. They need to lead a community and represent it to the outside world. This is preferable to having title given to someone by virtue of their master, retreat qualifications or apparent past life activities.


This is the way things are done in the ordained sangha and I think it works well.


I guess it depends on the community. Some communities would never question their chief and hence they get away with utterly stupid decisions and everyone just follows along. Questioning him or her would be seen as a sign of spiritual immaturity and self-grasping.

There's a good article about organizational stupidity and it applies to Buddhism as much as it does elsewhere:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2013/04/u ... idity.html

This is what we need to especially consider:

    Reflexivity refers to the ability and willingness to question rules, routines and norms rather than follow them unquestioningly. Is your corporation acting morally? Well it doesn't matter, because “what is right in the corporation is what the guy above you wants from you.” The effects of this attitude tend to get amplified as information travels (or, in this case, fails to travel) down the chain of command: your immediate superior might be a corrupt bastard, but your supreme leader cannot possibly be a war criminal.

    Justification refers to the ability and willingness to offer reasons and explanations for one's own actions, and to assess the sincerity, legitimacy, and truthfulness of reasons and explanations offered by others. In an open society that has freedom of expression, we justify our actions in order to gain the cooperation of others, while in organizational settings we can simply issue orders, and the only justification ever needed is “because the boss-man said so.”

    Substantive reasoning refers to the ability and willingness to go beyond the “small set of concerns that are defined by a specific organizational, professional, or work logic.” For example, economists tend to compress a wide range of phenomena into a few numbers, not bothering to think what these numbers actually represent. Organizational and professional settings discourage people from straying from the confines of their specializations and job descriptions, in essence reducing their cognitive abilities to those of idiot-savants.



In the absence of these qualities, an organization falls prey to its own internal stupidity. The leadership needs to be frequently challenged and criticized when it is merited.

But then they might introduce some religious idea that questioning the chief is a sin for which you'll go to some terrible hell. This is a good way to silence internal critics. Either that or you just create a culture where it is taboo to criticize the chiefs. Then peer pressure does all the work.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:02 am

This thread is about Myth in Buddhism not the political benefits of Monarchy vs Democracy.

Off topic posts split here.
"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: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:26 am

Karma Dorje wrote:According to the understanding of Vajrayana, mantra is an intention and a energetic pattern that is transmitted from the guru to the student. it has nothing to do with ordinary language and can't be "learned" from books.


Can you explain what intention and energetic patter is in this case and how it is transmitted? And can you raise the same problem with non-Tantric teachings giving a reason for the requirement of a lineage?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:33 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:According to the understanding of Vajrayana, mantra is an intention and a energetic pattern that is transmitted from the guru to the student. it has nothing to do with ordinary language and can't be "learned" from books.


Can you explain what intention and energetic patter is in this case and how it is transmitted? And can you raise the same problem with non-Tantric teachings giving a reason for the requirement of a lineage?


The intention is for the master (who has real experience of the samadhi of the deity, has cultivated the mantra to the point of awakening its power, and has skill in visualization of the deity and its mandala) to give the mantra simultaneous with the student's intention to receive it. Ideally, the student cultivates the samadhi of the deity while pronouncing the mantra and visualizing the mandala of the deity. This intention is an instantiation of the strong wish to place all beings in the state of enlightenment. The energetic pattern is the particular manifestation of prana which takes the form of the mantra. The transmission occurs through sympathetic influence-- the samadhi of the master creates an opportunity for the student to participate.

I don't understand your second question. I believe that for a lineage to be real, each master of the lineage must have realized the teachings they are transmitting and that is validated by their own master according to the oral tradition, however this is in the context of the Vajrayana teachings. I don't really know what requirements other non-Tantric lineages have.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:32 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:The transmission occurs through sympathetic influence-- the samadhi of the master creates an opportunity for the student to participate.


Do you mean telepathy? Or in what way is another person's state of mind a factor for another's state of mind? Wouldn't that be a violation of karma (if one can influence another's mind directly)?

Although the topic deals mainly with the Zen lineage, since it's generally about myths in Buddhism, a little trip into Vajrayana is permissible.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:52 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:The transmission occurs through sympathetic influence-- the samadhi of the master creates an opportunity for the student to participate.


Do you mean telepathy? Or in what way is another person's state of mind a factor for another's state of mind? Wouldn't that be a violation of karma (if one can influence another's mind directly)?

Student's mind as a substantial cause, and transmission as supporting condition? Just guessing.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:22 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:The transmission occurs through sympathetic influence-- the samadhi of the master creates an opportunity for the student to participate.


Do you mean telepathy? Or in what way is another person's state of mind a factor for another's state of mind? Wouldn't that be a violation of karma (if one can influence another's mind directly)?


I have no clue what telepathy is. One's state of mind is easily and commonly affected by the state of mind of others-- spend an hour in a room with a manic person or an extremely angry person and observe your own mental state. I am not particularly concerned with some materialist explanation; it's empirically observable. I don't believe that mind is an epiphenomena of matter. There aren't any walls between one sentient being and another, only labels on percepts.

I don't know what you mean by violating karma... do you mean one person experiencing the karmic results of another? This is clearly not what I have described.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:39 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:I have no clue what telepathy is. One's state of mind is easily and commonly affected by the state of mind of others-- spend an hour in a room with a manic person or an extremely angry person and observe your own mental state. I am not particularly concerned with some materialist explanation; it's empirically observable. I don't believe that mind is an epiphenomena of matter. There aren't any walls between one sentient being and another, only labels on percepts.

I don't know what you mean by violating karma... do you mean one person experiencing the karmic results of another? This is clearly not what I have described.


What I mean is that if it is possible to directly influence another's mind - one can transfer thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts, anything - then one can make another do or feel whatever one wants, basically violating the law of karma, because karma depends on what one chooses and defines how one experiences. Being in the same room with others, seeing and hearing how they behave, is not a direct mental influence. So, if there is anything communicated by a teacher to a student beyond what the five sensory faculties record, then there is a direct mental influence. If there isn't, the mentioned intention and energy pattern is either in a physically perceivable act or it doesn't exist.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:58 pm

Astus wrote:What I mean is that if it is possible to directly influence another's mind - one can transfer thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts, anything - then one can make another do or feel whatever one wants, basically violating the law of karma, because karma depends on what one chooses and defines how one experiences. Being in the same room with others, seeing and hearing how they behave, is not a direct mental influence. So, if there is anything communicated by a teacher to a student beyond what the five sensory faculties record, then there is a direct mental influence. If there isn't, the mentioned intention and energy pattern is either in a physically perceivable act or it doesn't exist.

But how is it a problem? Even if it is possible to directly influence another mind, it can only result in providing supporting conditions for that mind. A teacher won't be able to create a new substantial cause in the student's mind, but he'll be able to support some existing causes, allowing them to actualize. This is no different from a physical interaction.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:13 pm

mirage wrote:But how is it a problem? Even if it is possible to directly influence another mind, it can only result in providing supporting conditions for that mind. A teacher won't be able to create a new substantial cause in the student's mind, but he'll be able to support some existing causes, allowing them to actualize. This is no different from a physical interaction.


What would such a supporting condition be? Is it a thought, is it a feeling, is it a mental representation of a physical input?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Karma Dorje » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:I have no clue what telepathy is. One's state of mind is easily and commonly affected by the state of mind of others-- spend an hour in a room with a manic person or an extremely angry person and observe your own mental state. I am not particularly concerned with some materialist explanation; it's empirically observable. I don't believe that mind is an epiphenomena of matter. There aren't any walls between one sentient being and another, only labels on percepts.

I don't know what you mean by violating karma... do you mean one person experiencing the karmic results of another? This is clearly not what I have described.


What I mean is that if it is possible to directly influence another's mind - one can transfer thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts, anything - then one can make another do or feel whatever one wants, basically violating the law of karma, because karma depends on what one chooses and defines how one experiences. Being in the same room with others, seeing and hearing how they behave, is not a direct mental influence. So, if there is anything communicated by a teacher to a student beyond what the five sensory faculties record, then there is a direct mental influence. If there isn't, the mentioned intention and energy pattern is either in a physically perceivable act or it doesn't exist.


I don't share your epistemological premises. One person in samadhi can certainly impact others. Much of the action to help others in Vajrayana is through this.

Can you please give me some sources for your ideas about karma that explain how samadhi has no impact on the environment and the surroundings of the meditator?
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:32 pm

Astus wrote:
mirage wrote:But how is it a problem? Even if it is possible to directly influence another mind, it can only result in providing supporting conditions for that mind. A teacher won't be able to create a new substantial cause in the student's mind, but he'll be able to support some existing causes, allowing them to actualize. This is no different from a physical interaction.


What would such a supporting condition be? Is it a thought, is it a feeling, is it a mental representation of a physical input?

How does it matter? Ultimately there is no ontological difference anyway. I suppose it can be any of those, or something else entirely.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Meido » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:53 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:One person in samadhi can certainly impact others. Much of the action to help others in Vajrayana is through this.


This partly sums up the understanding of "direct pointing [at the mind]", i.e. the teacher's activity to lead the student to the recognition which is kensho, as understood in Rinzai Zen. It also somewhat reveals the content of what happens during sanzen (formalized, individual encounter between teacher/student). Assuming, of course, that the teacher has embodied sufficient realization...and that the student's obstructions are minimal enough for him/her to "catch it".

All of this is generally described in terms of what happens within the ba [塲, "field"] of a realized person. The actual mechanism is often explained in terms of kiai [気合, "energy - join"]. English terms adopted by Japanese teachers I've met have included "resonance", "mutual vibration" and so on. However described, the phenomenon of one person's samadhi impacting the mind-state of others is well known, and is considered part of a teacher's "job" so to speak.

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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:55 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:I don't share your epistemological premises. One person in samadhi can certainly impact others. Much of the action to help others in Vajrayana is through this.

Can you please give me some sources for your ideas about karma that explain how samadhi has no impact on the environment and the surroundings of the meditator?


This basic introduction to karma in Buddhism should suffice. I can also cite further explanations from the Kosha or Yogacara sources if required. That is, karma is intentional action, nothing more, nothing less. Every individual experiences the effects of their own actions and not the actions of others. If one could experience the result of another's karma, that would mean that I suffer or enjoy the fruits of someone else's actions. One kills a man and another goes to hell for it. One practices the path and another attains enlightenment. Etc. So, what you are saying is that when one meditates another experiences the benefits of that meditation. Or, if in meditation someone can generate an intention in another's mind, that is taking control over another person's karma, which is again the case that one man's karma bears fruit for another (since the one influenced had no intention to do something but was made to do it by someone else's will). Not to mention the case that although the Buddha himself had superb samadhis, he couldn't make anyone neither liberated nor even a little better (and then consider infinite number of buddhas bringing everyone enlightenment just by meditation). And that's why I say direct mental influence is a violation of karma.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby CrawfordHollow » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:36 pm

Well nothing exist without a cause.

I personally view empowerments and transmissions to be one of many causes necessary for success in vajrayana practice. Now, if something happens "telepathically" is another question, one that I won't venture into trying to answer. The transmission itself acts like a practice, in that it purifies karma and paves the way for realization to occur. In certain contexts like vajrayana practice the transmission is indespensible for the practices to actually function. If you can definitely figure out exactly what happens during this process please be sure to let me know. The point is is that the tranmissions of lungs and empowerments do have a funtion beyond just ritual or superstious belief or myth.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:52 pm

Astus wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:I don't share your epistemological premises. One person in samadhi can certainly impact others. Much of the action to help others in Vajrayana is through this.

Can you please give me some sources for your ideas about karma that explain how samadhi has no impact on the environment and the surroundings of the meditator?


This basic introduction to karma in Buddhism should suffice. I can also cite further explanations from the Kosha or Yogacara sources if required. That is, karma is intentional action, nothing more, nothing less. Every individual experiences the effects of their own actions and not the actions of others. If one could experience the result of another's karma, that would mean that I suffer or enjoy the fruits of someone else's actions. One kills a man and another goes to hell for it. One practices the path and another attains enlightenment. Etc. So, what you are saying is that when one meditates another experiences the benefits of that meditation. Or, if in meditation someone can generate an intention in another's mind, that is taking control over another person's karma, which is again the case that one man's karma bears fruit for another (since the one influenced had no intention to do something but was made to do it by someone else's will). Not to mention the case that although the Buddha himself had superb samadhis, he couldn't make anyone neither liberated nor even a little better (and then consider infinite number of buddhas bringing everyone enlightenment just by meditation). And that's why I say direct mental influence is a violation of karma.

This is a strange point of view that seems to imply that people are unable to interact with each other at all. You cannot hit me in the face because that would mean that I suffer the result of your own action.

As I understand it, I can be hit by you because I have some karma to be hit (cause) and you have karma to hit me (supporting condition). Without any of these, the result would not happen. The seed cannot grow without water, and it is pointless to pour water if there is no seed.

Same goes for teachings, transmissions and such. You viewpoint makes one wonder why Buddha bothered to teach Dharma at all, since his awakening was the fruit of his own karma, and the benefit could not be shared with anyone. Likewise, one wonders about the whole point of Mahayana teaching, since bodhisattvas turn out to be unable to help anyone.

The way I see it, the student provides the seed, and the teacher provides water. Without water, the seed will not grow.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:18 pm

mirage wrote:
As I understand it, I can be hit by you because I have some karma to be hit (cause) and you have karma to hit me (supporting condition). Without any of these, the result would not happen. The seed cannot grow without water, and it is pointless to pour water if there is no seed.


"II have some karma to be hit" is not entirely accurate, due to the notion of "I have".
If, because of the circumstances you have put yourself into, you get hit,
For example, you go to a bar and a fight breaks out and you happen to get in the way of a punch,
then this is karmic result.

I only make this minor observation to steer away from the idea that
getting hit is some sort of karmic "payment" for something,
(a common misunderstanding of karma).
.
.
.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Nikolay » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:47 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:"II have some karma to be hit" is not entirely accurate, due to the notion of "I have".
If, because of the circumstances you have put yourself into, you get hit,
For example, you go to a bar and a fight breaks out and you happen to get in the way of a punch,
then this is karmic result.

I only make this minor observation to steer away from the idea that
getting hit is some sort of karmic "payment" for something,
(a common misunderstanding of karma).
.
.
.

I am not sure I see the difference.
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Re: Myth in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:15 pm

mirage wrote:This is a strange point of view that seems to imply that people are unable to interact with each other at all. You cannot hit me in the face because that would mean that I suffer the result of your own action.

As I understand it, I can be hit by you because I have some karma to be hit (cause) and you have karma to hit me (supporting condition). Without any of these, the result would not happen. The seed cannot grow without water, and it is pointless to pour water if there is no seed.


I didn't say people are unable to interact, I specified direct mental influence. We can communicate and experience others via the five bodily sensory faculties, but we can't do it directly from mind to mind.

Good and bad experiences are the result of karma. Meeting the Dharma is a result of karma. Being able to practice is a result of karma. This subject is covered in Vajrayana preliminary practices, isn't it?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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