Philosophy vs Practice

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 8:18 am

oushi wrote:I just wonder, what "100% true" or "100% correct" mean, if it can be applied to something read, or heard?
I wonder if doubt is always 100% better than trust? :thinking:
"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."
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Sun May 26, 2013 8:24 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
oushi wrote:I just wonder, what "100% true" or "100% correct" mean, if it can be applied to something read, or heard?
I wonder if doubt is always 100% better than trust? :thinking:

Good question, but as long as I don't know what does it mean to be "100% true", "100% correct", I cannot tell what is "100% better". We can trust something to be "100% true", but as we can chose what we trust, we would chose what is "100% true". So, is truth a matter of choice?
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 8:41 am

oushi wrote:Good question, but as long as I don't know what does it mean to be "100% true", "100% correct", I cannot tell what is "100% better". We can trust something to be "100% true", but as we can chose what we trust, we would chose what is "100% true". So, is truth a matter of choice?
Yes, I think it is pretty bloody clear that relative truth is a matter of choice.
"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."
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Sun May 26, 2013 8:51 am

Relative truth doesn't seem to be reliable then.
And "100%" is there to make it a little bit more credible? :tongue:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 10:41 am

oushi wrote:Relative truth doesn't seem to be reliable then.
And "100%" is there to make it a little bit more credible? :tongue:
Relative truth is reliable if you realise that is relative. It is (100%) relatively true that if you step in front of a speeding car you will get hurt. (100%) Guaranteed. Of course, ultimately, the car, you, speed, hurt, etc... do not exist, but I would say that the advice to not step in front of a speeding car because you will get hurt is 100% reliable.

But hey, we've had this conversation a hundred times before, you are (still) suffering from the obstacles "Misunderstanding Emptiness as a Remedy" and "Emptiness Arising as the Enemy" (cf Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning) and, like it has been said a hundred times before: if you do not find yourself a good teacher...

Essentially: the two truths are neither seperate nor antagonistic, they are just the way things are.

So let us not take this thread further off topic due to misunderstanding.

Thanks.
"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."
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Sun May 26, 2013 12:19 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:But hey, we've had this conversation a hundred times before, you are (still) suffering from the obstacles "Misunderstanding Emptiness as a Remedy" and "Emptiness Arising as the Enemy"

Did I say anything about emptiness, or ultimate truth? Keep your preconceived ideas for yourself, and stick to the subject. Thx.
I think it is obvious that we are still in the area of conventional truth. We can say it is 100% true that you will get hurt when stepping in front of a car, because it can be proven, or even seen (YT!). But... you said it is 100% true that "You also take non-realization and all your bad habits with you", which cannot be proven to be so. It is a belief.

If "it is pretty bloody clear relative truth is a matter of choice" (like you said) and it is relatively 100% true that you will get hurt after stepping in front of a car, then it is matter of choice if you will get hurt, or not. This is ofc nonsense, but logically correct. So, we have a proof that your assumption are wrong.
All this nonsense is a result of using "100% true" where "I believe" should have been used. Ofc, you can now say it is not true, because you chose not to believe in it... and use all different ways to humiliate me. Still, I would prefer to receive a reasonable, logically consistent answer.

It is of utmost importance, to be able to distinguish truth from belief, when it comes to Philosophy vs Practice. If there is no reliable definition of truth, it is neither philosophy, nor practice. Stating that ones belief is true because he chooses to, goes not only against the reason, but also against the sincere practice.
It is obvious that you choose to see my approach as false, and yours as true. Not a surprise, if it is a matter of choice for you. Once more, it is not reliable.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 12:30 pm

oushi wrote:It is of utmost importance, to be able to distinguish truth from belief, when it comes to Philosophy vs Practice. If there is no reliable definition of truth, it is neither philosophy, nor practice. Stating that ones belief is true because he chooses to, goes not only against the reason, but also against the sincere practice.
So how do you distinguish between truth and belief if all your faculties are currently tied up in the relative, in dualism, in ignorance, in habit...?

Back to square one: faith in the veracity of the teachings of those that have (apparently) gone beyond ignorance.

I trust/have faith in certain peoples capacity to see beyond this mess, and thus I believe, or choose to believe, it is true.

I trust/have faith in the teachings of the Buddha, and so I am a Buddhist. Some of what the Buddha (and other apparently realised beings) have said I have verified through my own experience and this bolsters my faith/trust. This helps me in making my choice.

Like I said earlier, all views originate in faith. ALL VIEWS.
"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."
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Sun May 26, 2013 12:49 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So how do you distinguish between truth and belief if all your faculties are currently tied up in the relative, in dualism, in ignorance, in habit...?

By acknowledging that all views are beliefs, and truth ultimately cannot be found in them.
gregkavarnos wrote:Like I said earlier, all views originate in faith. ALL VIEWS.

So, things we believe in are not 100% true.
But, a link between two beliefs can be created that is 100% true, or rather logically correct. This is called assumption. If A is correct and if B is correct then C is... The Big IF. All views, whether philosophical, scientific, or religious are based on assumptions so they cannot be classified as ultimately true, although all three are aiming for it. Views can be relatively true, but they cannot be ultimately true. Buddhism is a path leading to detaching from, letting go of views as true, thus it cannot be reconciled with science, or philosophy which chase after True view.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 12:55 pm

PS
But... you said it is 100% true that "You also take non-realization and all your bad habits with you", which cannot be proven to be so. It is a belief.
You do realise that you are posting on a Buddhist forum and that Buddhists believe in (and strive to personally verify) the workings of karma, rebirth and dependent origination? So why do you find it so strange when a discussion on an axiom of Buddhism is taken to be (100%) true? Just because I (or you) have not verified it yet?
"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: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 1:08 pm

oushi wrote:So, things we believe in are not 100% true.
But, a link between two beliefs can be created that is 100% true, or rather logically correct. This is called assumption. If A is correct and if B is correct then C is... The Big IF. All views, whether philosophical, scientific, or religious are based on assumptions so they cannot be classified as ultimately true, although all three are aiming for it. Views can be relatively true, but they cannot be ultimately true. Buddhism is a path leading to detaching from, letting go of views as true, thus it cannot be reconciled with science, or philosophy which chase after True view.
The path though is based on a number of presuppositions (views). Are some relative/conventional views more ultimate than others or do we just acknowledge that there will always be two truths? Dzogchen overcomes this dilemma by not even bothering to split them into two.
"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: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby anjali » Sun May 26, 2013 3:00 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
oushi wrote:I just wonder, what "100% true" or "100% correct" mean, if it can be applied to something read, or heard?
I wonder if doubt is always 100% better than trust? :thinking:


Check out the interesting book, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not, by neurologist Robert Burton. He makes the case that our experience of certainty is a mental sensation. I was impressed with the notion when I read it a few years ago. The book itself was somewhat uneven in presentation, but there was enough there to sketch out a case, that, from a Buddhist point of view, makes good sense.

The opposite of certainty is doubt, and, as Tulku Urgyen describes in As It Is, the sense of doubt is just a mental thought. So, from one perspective, our experience of the doubt-certainty duality is One Taste.
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  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Jesse » Sun May 26, 2013 4:49 pm

Meaning of Life — what's the point of living? why are we here?
No one knows.

Unacceptable! :tantrum:

So Western culture has turned its back on its own cultural and philosophical heritage, so it feels itself 'lost in space' - the accidental outcomes of a fortuitous process. And I think your poem eloquently captures that cultural predicament and also the desire to know something beyond that. But you are exceedingly fortunate to actually come to the point of being able to articulate it. Many people can't. If you can handle the search, I'm sure there's an answer to be found, but be prepared for the fact that it may not be the answer you think you want.


I think it's a natural progression in a way, science has enabled us more control over our lives than ever, so I think it's natural to turn to it's methodology in solving spiritual problems, though it might not be well equipped or capable of answering them.

I think it was Aristotle who said, as one of the basic attributes of what makes us human, is that 'man desires to know'. I think you are feeling that pull, but at the same time you're trapped in the Western cultural situation of only trusting what you think you can measure.


This is it pretty much exactly. I know I tend to think in extreams, while the truth generally resides in-between, I think being able to prove our understanding of reality is important, and in some ways I feel without evidence my experiences and beliefs are unfounded. Sort of like everything is a fantasy unless I can prove they had some reality behind them, some substance.

The issue with meditation, direct experience and mental phenomena in general is there is no such tangibility, 'real', doesn't mean much, but the desire to have things be 'real', or 'unreal' is always there.

Now this very same type of faith exists in regards to science too. We cannot directly see subatomic particles (for example), we can read accounts of what scientists believe are the reactions of subatomic particles under VERY specific conditions, but we cannot actually see them. So we have faith in the accounts of the scientists, in the veracity of their observations, in their interpretation of what they observe, etc... Why is one type of faith/trust considered as "medieval" and "superstitious" while the other is modern and valid? Actually the possibility of personally verifying the Buddhas words is actually higher than that of personally verifying the words of scientists since we have all the tools necessary in our hands whereas it is unlikely we will ever have our own litle CERN...


It's not that I doubt Buddhism in itself, but for example how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality? That there is nothing greater? Is it a belief or can we actually prove it? Apparently it can be experienced, but does that mean it's true? That's sort of my line of thinking anyway.

I've been told that these sorts of things don't really matter, but I suppose nobody ever found any truth without seeking it. Thanks for all your responses.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby kirtu » Sun May 26, 2013 5:00 pm

Jesse wrote:
Meaning of Life — what's the point of living? why are we here?
No one knows.

Unacceptable! :tantrum:


Okay - you're here to help everyone and to eventually attain enlightenment (which I have found to be true, BTW) - does that help?

As the inheritors of existentialism, we have difficulty in accepting pat answers like this and would prefer to wander in the deep woods of seekerdom and angst. But as Trungpa said: "Ladies and Gentlemen - you are all cowards. You are all afraid to meditate." .... and thus verify for oneself the meaning of life.

Another version: "Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel ...." - perhaps not as expansive but moving in the right direction.

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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby kirtu » Sun May 26, 2013 5:01 pm

Jesse wrote:It's not that I doubt Buddhism in itself, but for example how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality? That there is nothing greater? Is it a belief or can we actually prove it? Apparently it can be experienced, but does that mean it's true? That's sort of my line of thinking anyway.


Right. Well, what is emptiness?

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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby seeker242 » Sun May 26, 2013 5:35 pm

This post reminds me of a couple of my most favorite videos! :smile:



One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 5:55 pm

Jesse wrote:I think it's a natural progression in a way, science has enabled us more control over our lives than ever, so I think it's natural to turn to it's methodology in solving spiritual problems, though it might not be well equipped or capable of answering them.
The kind of control that science affords us is like when you squeeze a closed tub of toothpaste. While you may be controlling the amount of toothpaste at the point where you are squeezing, the two end bulge out, and are in danger of rupturing.
This is it pretty much exactly. I know I tend to think in extreams, while the truth generally resides in-between, I think being able to prove our understanding of reality is important, and in some ways I feel without evidence my experiences and beliefs are unfounded. Sort of like everything is a fantasy unless I can prove they had some reality behind them, some substance.
There are some Buddhist schools that prescribe to a notion of substantial reality.

The issue with meditation, direct experience and mental phenomena in general is there is no such tangibility, 'real', doesn't mean much, but the desire to have things be 'real', or 'unreal' is always there.
It's not that I doubt Buddhism in itself, but for example how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality? That there is nothing greater? Is it a belief or can we actually prove it? Apparently it can be experienced, but does that mean it's true? That's sort of my line of thinking anyway.
Emptiness is not ultimate reality, not in a susbstantial way. This you can prove to yourself utilising the methods available in Buddhism.
I've been told that these sorts of things don't really matter, but I suppose nobody ever found any truth without seeking it. Thanks for all your responses.
You don't have to find truth, it is always right here. It is more of a matter of erradicating lies then finding truth.

PS Who is the teacher in the video "seeker242"?
"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: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby kirtu » Sun May 26, 2013 6:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There are some Buddhist schools that prescribe to a notion of substantial reality.


And which are held to be liberative (one can attain one of the four stages of Sravaka liberation with the view and possibly also progress on the Bodhisattva path).

gregkavarnos wrote:Emptiness is not ultimate reality, not in a susbstantial way. This you can prove to yourself utilising the methods available in Buddhism.


Not substantially but emptiness is ultimate reality. Unless of course you want to take Tathgathagarbha as ultimate reality - wait ..... :stirthepot:

gregkavarnos wrote:You don't have to find truth, it is always right here. It is more of a matter of erradicating lies then finding truth.


:anjali:

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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby wisdom » Sun May 26, 2013 9:33 pm

Jesse wrote:Lately I've been troubled by the inability of meditation, and spirituality in general to produce any real tangible truth about reality. Even if all attachment is severed, does that negate the importance of "figuring out", what reality is?


Reality is your own mind, your mind has a dual nature of samsara and nirvana. Its dual nature as samsara and nirvana results from mental projections, and those projections are formed because of attachment. Essentially, clinging to the "I", the "Ego", and being afflicted by the demon of conceit. Ultimate Reality, "The Truth", is to be found by abandoning attachment whereby the true nature of the mind in its pristine and primordial purity manifests itself. This means that abandoning attachment is equal to figuring out what reality is once the minds true nature is seen and understood. Beyond your own mind, there is no reality to know, no reality that is known, and no reality you will ever know.

Jesse wrote:No matter how much I try, i can't let go of my searching for answers to life's big questions. In a way, I feel as if letting go of the search is in a way, betraying myself. I know it seems absurd, but before I die I would like to understand life itself, is there some ultimate purpose to it? If not, is it purposeless? Is a lack of purpose a purpose in itself? At the moment, I feel as if the third option might be the closest to the truth. No purpose is the purpose, an open ended existence where anything and everything is possible.


Exactly. Once you understand the minds true nature, you will understand that one of its properties is the ability to manifest anything and everything whatsoever in its field of awareness. The minds true nature is unimpeded, unobstructed.

Before enlightenment, our only purpose, our manufactured purpose, should be determining and establishing ultimate truth and reality for ourselves by coming to understand our own mind. Once we understand our mind, we will spontaneously manifest compassion for the benefit of sentient beings.

After enlightenment all that will be left is our Buddha nature and its spontaneous manifestation of compassion for the benefit of other sentient beings. Then our "true purpose" forms spontaneously based on the needs of others. This is why you are right to say that a lack of purpose is purpose in itself. A Bodhisattva has no contrivance, they may incarnate into very difficult circumstances in order to lead beings further along the path towards enlightenment. It makes no difference to them whatsoever. They act spontaneously from the Great Compassion that arises from realizing emptiness. So first, establish the proper view of reality which is the emptiness nature of appearances. Then, practice meditation and conventional practices until your mind is tamed enough to be introduced to its true nature. Receive introduction from a qualified master, and then strengthen your realization.

Ultimately the question of "why am I here, what is my purpose" is a subtle form of duality and ego because it supposes first of all that we have some kind of destiny that will unfold, and secondly that there is a self who could ever be in possession of such a destiny in the first place. In Buddhism destiny is karma, and if you do nothing to change it, then your only purpose will be to cycle endlessly in samsara. Study, view, practice and conduct should be the primary purpose for deluded sentient beings like ourselves.

Jesse wrote:Anyway, I haven't figured out how to console the differences between the path Buddhism offers and this search. I almost feel as if they are contradictory. Yet I am drawn to both. In your experiences which do you believe is a more worthwhile en-devour?


I felt the same way once too. One day I realized that all purposes as I had conceived of them were dualistic contrivances of my own mind. It was a difficult time and realization to have, but it proved to be an important one. UItimately the ego wants to possess a key to life, it wants to possess some kind of defined purpose, because ultimately it wants to establish itself as real, permanent, and it wants to feel its own reality as having meaning and substance. However in terms of the search for ultimate truth- Never give up that quest! That quest, that drive, that motivation, especially when coupled with compassion for sentient beings and done on behalf of them... is immensely powerful.

Jesse wrote:Would satisfying your ultimate desire, and perhaps even purpose of your existence be more important, or achieving some measure of realization? I imagine you can 'take' neither with you once death arrives, so which is really more important?


Your ultimate desire to understand ultimate truth, and the Buddha Dharma, are completely compatible. Dharma is the most effective means whereby to realize your hearts desire. There is no contradiction and no need to abandon either. It is only through the practice of Dharma that you can really come to understand things and really have ultimate meaning to your life. Everything else is ultimately delusion, and although it sounds harsh to say it like that, its simply the way that it is. Whatever you manufacture, whatever purpose you seek, if it does not lead to realization, it will only lead to further dualistic projections and perceptions.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Sun May 26, 2013 10:49 pm

kirtu wrote:
Jesse wrote:It's not that I doubt Buddhism in itself, but for example how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality? That there is nothing greater? Is it a belief or can we actually prove it? Apparently it can be experienced, but does that mean it's true? That's sort of my line of thinking anyway.


Right. Well, what is emptiness?

Kirt


It merely means impermanence, essentially, which is only apparently true. It doesn't take all that much to build a system of meaning around.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Wayfarer » Sun May 26, 2013 11:17 pm

Jesse wrote:I think it's a natural progression in a way, science has enabled us more control over our lives than ever, so I think it's natural to turn to it's methodology in solving spiritual problems, though it might not be well equipped or capable of answering them.


Crucial point - it is not equipped at all to answer them. To look to science to solve spiritual problems is a missapplication of science. Consider the prevalence of 'diseases of affluence' in the developed nations. In many societies which have benefitted most directly from advanced technologies and science, there are high rates of suicide, drug dependency, anxiety, depression and mental illness. If there was a correlate between scientific progress and spiritual well-being, you would not expect to see this. (Currently there is a major controversy over the psychiactric DSM manual because science can't even agree on what a 'mental disorder' is.)

Now it is true that economic and social progress provide the liberty to pursue spiritual truths - in fact I am a firm believer and advocate of progress for that very reason. But we have to be very clear about what science and technology can and cannot do. And they can't make us better people. That is something we have to do, through self-examination and self-discipline, by compassionate action for others, and so on.

There is an ancient idea called 'the sacred science', scientia sacra going back to the period of classical civilization. Buddhism certainly is 'a sacred science', and you will sometimes hear Buddhist teachers talk of 'the science of mind'. That is perfectly true, but it is not based on the method of Western science to deal solely in external objects and forces, things which are other to the self. It comes from a very different orientation to the world.
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