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 LastLegend » Sun May 26, 2013 11:49 pm

Jesse wrote:
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.



You mean you want to prove that you exist?
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Mon May 27, 2013 12:44 am

jeeprs wrote:
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.


Not true, but you may be proceeding with your own understanding of what a 'spiritual problem' is, and that could be just about anything. If there is a definable problem, science could certainly aid in a solution to the problem, if not solve it.

The human desire for meaning (which appears to be what this topic is about) has been studied scientifically, for example, and can aid in understanding it.

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.

This is nonsensical as stated, or doesn't mean anything.

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.

Science can aid in making us better people, or rather, aid in self-examination, discipline, compassion, and so on. It demonstrates an irrational bias to say otherwise, in my opinion. Science may not be adequate to provide essential meaning, but getting essential meaning from religion does not a good person make, unfortunately. History is replete with examples to show the truth of that.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Wayfarer » Mon May 27, 2013 5:49 am

You prove what you believe every day - by what you do.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby seeker242 » Mon May 27, 2013 12:38 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
PS Who is the teacher in the video "seeker242"?


It is Zen Master Dae Kwang Sunim. Previous guiding teacher and abbot of the Kwan Um School of Zen, who resided at providence zen center. He is retired now though. But he still teaches sometimes. The first zen teacher I ever studied with, very cool guy. Always liked him the most, probably because he's an actual monk. :) I think he lives in California now.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby ground » Mon May 27, 2013 2:13 pm

Jesse wrote:Lately I've been troubled ... No matter how much I try, i can't let go ... I feel as if letting go ... is in a way, betraying myself. ...

Yes, sense of self can have very powerful effects if it arises unnoticed. Stuck. :sage:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby muni » Tue May 28, 2013 9:03 am

Jesse wrote:

... habits and such travel beyond death, this is something I am uncertain about.



Hello Jesse, :smile:

Here is Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche offering a good read about:
http://www.dailyom.com/library/000/000/000000993.html

:namaste:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby muni » Tue May 28, 2013 10:00 am

Jesse wrote: I imagine you can 'take' neither with you once death arrives, so which is really more important?


The little frog in his puddle fills his rucksack with the obtained knowledge to understand all about the ocean and in the ocean he dissolves.

One practice example of the many is ( I already posted but my practice can use a repeating bell :smile: , so thank you very much) by Ahjan Chah and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo: "Simply dwell with 'that which knows' (aware), not with knowed things (grasping). Stop identifying..."

Phil-practice. Both are useful, since we first need to understand what it is all about. Also whether we need a lot of study/phil or a lot of practice depends, it is for each of us a bit different and usually we talk from our standpoint. But to tell an old man of let say 75, to prostrate a 100,000 times, study and recite scripts for 15 years and then go in retreat for 25 years, seems at least a mathematical problem.

For sure practice is the most important.

Thank you. :namaste:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby kirtu » Wed May 29, 2013 1:02 am

shel wrote:
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?


It merely means impermanence, essentially, which is only apparently true.


No, emptiness does not mean impermanence although anything that is empty is also impermanent.

Emptiness can be seen in different ways but if you want to say that emptiness is basically X, then that X is dependent arising and in this content emptiness and dependent arising are synonyms.

So Jesse asks: how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality? We know it because the Buddha taught it, as did enlightened yogis and we can study it as a truth for ourselves and begin to verify it. But it will take some dedication and effort. One would only put that effort in if one had faith in the Buddhadharma.

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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Monsoon » Wed May 29, 2013 2:58 am

The purpose of life is not the purpose of life. That's why it is called the purpose of life.

(If you'll forgive the blatant paraphrasing :smile: )

Personally, I think asking too many existential questions may divert a person away from actually living a full life: inasmuch as too much time is spent dwelling on definitions.

Sorry if that is not much help, but it is how I see things at the moment.
Let peace reign!

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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby muni » Wed May 29, 2013 8:20 am

We for sure need a navigation system bringing clarity and not more confusion.
But I never met the right definition which stopped suffering.

It is like if we focus/hold on definitions, we take these as real existing on themselves and not freeing pointings.
"By the grace of empty space, the fresh flowing river can flow and so has same nature". I ever read that, beautiful. :smile:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Jikan » Wed May 29, 2013 2:34 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.


Back to the start. This ^^^^ is itself a truth claim, or a claim about reality: it really is impossible to find some absolute grounding in discourse, in philosophical claims. That's an aspect of the truth of emptiness, the emptiness of views.

There's no need to take this jewel back out into the weeds and thickets of views.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Wed May 29, 2013 10:05 pm

kirtu wrote:No, emptiness does not mean impermanence although anything that is empty is also impermanent.

Emptiness can be seen in different ways but if you want to say that emptiness is basically X, then that X is dependent arising and in this content emptiness and dependent arising are synonyms.

No, dependent arising can be seen as complementary but not synonymous. It is commonly complemented in this way because some fear emptiness can lead to nihilism. Apparently people who complement emptiness teachings in this way don't know that greed, ignorance, and hate lead negative nihilism and the like.

So Jesse asks: how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality?

We don't know. It is only apparently true. But just because things appear to be impermanent doesn't mean that there is not an immortal soul, for instance. It also doesn't mean that there isn't an independent soul. :tongue:
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 10:38 pm

shel wrote:No, dependent arising can be seen as complementary but not synonymous. It is commonly complemented in this way because some fear emptiness can lead to nihilism. Apparently people who complement emptiness teachings in this way don't know that greed, ignorance, and hate lead negative nihilism and the like.
Complementary???
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby shel » Wed May 29, 2013 11:49 pm

Complementary |ˌkämpləˈment(ə)rē|
adjective
1) combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby dharmagoat » Thu May 30, 2013 8:21 am

Life has as much and as little meaning as we give it.

Kind of obvious, really.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu May 30, 2013 8:46 am

shel wrote:Complementary |ˌkämpləˈment(ə)rē|
adjective
1) combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another.
Things are empty because they are dependently arising, they arise dependently due to the fact that they are empty.

I don't think complementary is the correct term. Otherwise it would imply that they are somehow seperate to one another.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby oushi » Thu May 30, 2013 10:54 am

dharmagoat wrote:Life has as much and as little meaning as we give it.

Kind of obvious, really.

Yes, precisely... and not only life, but everything. Meaning comes and goes, grows and fades, can be given or taken away.
It should be obvious now that this which does not come and go, grow or fade, the unconditioned, if free from meaning.
Philosophy is looking for the ultimate meaning, where practice aims for release from it.

Mahā-Prajñā-Pāramitā wrote:Śāriputra said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, prajñā-pāramitā as pronounced by Mañjuśrī is not understandable or knowable to novice Bodhisattvas.”
Mañjuśrī said, “Not only novice Bodhisattvas cannot know it, but even riders of the Two Vehicles who have accomplished their undertaking [for Arhatship or Pratyekabuddhahood] cannot understand or know it. No one can know the Dharma expounded in this way. Why not? Because the appearance of bodhi cannot be known through such dharmas as seeing, hearing, capturing, thinking, speaking, or listening. Bodhi is empty and silent in nature and appearance, with no birth, no death, no attaining, no knowing, no shape, and no form.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu May 30, 2013 1:13 pm

shel wrote:

So Jesse asks: how do we know that emptiness is the ultimate reality?

We don't know. It is only apparently true. But just because things appear to be impermanent doesn't mean that there is not an immortal soul, for instance. It also doesn't mean that there isn't an independent soul.


Emptiness (sunyata) merely describes the true nature of phenomena.
Emptiness isn't a pre-existing condition in which "real' things arise. It's not like, first there is all this emptiness, and then things arise in it (although that might describe the universe, but that is not what the term means in Buddhist usage).

There is nothing that suggests the existence of a soul, except as something people conjured up in their imaginations a long time ago, which still persists as a hypothetical concept, no different from a mythological creature.

Buddhism argues that a permanent soul thing is impossible, because if it "exists" in relation to changing conditions, the nature of it's existence is thus also conditional (relative) and not finite (ultimate) in which case there is nothing about it which can be called 'permanent"

and if it does not "exist' in relation to conditions, then it has no existence in the context of anything we can experience. It would be nothing we could ever have any contact with. Thus, any definition of it's "existing' is moot.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby undefineable » Fri May 31, 2013 12:00 am

Double post, sorry
Last edited by undefineable on Fri May 31, 2013 12:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Philosophy vs Practice

Postby undefineable » Fri May 31, 2013 12:01 am

dharmagoat wrote:Life has as much and as little meaning as we give it.

Agreed
dharmagoat wrote:Kind of obvious, really.

In the context in which the question gained currency (loss of Christian faith) it wouldn't have been at all obvious, but even now, short of becoming fully enlightened, how can we know for sure that life has no predetermined meaning? Can we even give any genuine meaning to life in the light of the dharma teachings, to which the idea of 'meaning' seems irrelevant?
oushi wrote:Meaning comes and goes, grows and fades, can be given or taken away.
It should be obvious now that this which does not come and go, grow or fade, the unconditioned, if free from meaning.

If you're talking about the literal meaning of 'meaning', i.e. that "that" that this 'this' refers to :juggling: , then i see your logic.
oushi wrote:Philosophy is looking for the ultimate meaning, where practice aims for release from it.

Because of its Christian roots, 'Meaning' in the philosophical sense of 'The Meaning of Life' etc. seems to add something heavy to the literal sense. We don't practice in order to live meaningless lives (we have alcohol and video games for that :roll: ), but I guess we do practice in order to be released from the illusive 'meaning' samsara suggests to us (i.e. 'I').
oushi wrote:
Mahā-Prajñā-Pāramitā wrote:Śāriputra said to the Buddha, “World-Honored One, prajñā-pāramitā as pronounced by Mañjuśrī is not understandable or knowable to novice Bodhisattvas.”
Mañjuśrī said, “Not only novice Bodhisattvas cannot know it, but even riders of the Two Vehicles who have accomplished their undertaking [for Arhatship or Pratyekabuddhahood] cannot understand or know it. No one can know the Dharma expounded in this way. Why not? Because the appearance of bodhi cannot be known through such dharmas as seeing, hearing, capturing, thinking, speaking, or listening. Bodhi is empty and silent in nature and appearance, with no birth, no death, no attaining, no knowing, no shape, and no form.
This may throw some light on my last post on the 'Location of Mind' thread: viewtopic.php?f=40&t=12846&start=160
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