Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, completely

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

Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby greentara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:23 am

Glyn,Is that your real photo? Is that you?
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby smcj » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:03 am

Sometimes I just wish I could live free from words, concepts, ideas and beliefs. Just live virtuously, but not have my head crammed up full of knowledge.

You aspire to be reborn in the animal realm? Really? :pig:
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:36 am

Agnostics and atheists can hold pretty tightly to their views too. Some even engage in proselytizing. See this recent thread:

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=14140&start=20#p186352
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby manas » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:01 am

smcj wrote:
Sometimes I just wish I could live free from words, concepts, ideas and beliefs. Just live virtuously, but not have my head crammed up full of knowledge.

You aspire to be reborn in the animal realm? Really? :pig:


I did say 'virtuously', didn't I? So no, I was of course referring to the human realm. The one we are all in right now, and the only reality of which we have direct knowledge and experience.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby manas » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:05 am

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. Looks like I've found a few kindred spirits here, so to speak. I'm glad what I was trying to get at (however clumsily) has been, on the whole, understood.

:anjali:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby manas » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:25 am

seeker242 wrote:"Even if you can explain thousands of sutras and shastras, unless you see your own nature yours is the teaching of a mortal, not a Buddha. The true Way is sublime. It can’t be expressed in language. Of what use are scriptures? But someone who sees his own nature finds the Way, even if he can’t read a word. Someone who sees his nature is a Buddha. ... But once you see your own nature, the entire Canon becomes so much prose. Its thousands of sutras and shastras only amount to a clear mind. Understanding comes in midsentence. What good are doctrines? The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words.

They’re not the Way. The Way is wordless. Words are illusions. They’re no different from things that appear in your dreams at night, be they palaces or carriages, forested parks or lakeside ‘lions. Don’t conceive any delight for such things. They’re all cradles of rebirth."
~ Bodhidharma


I don't know much about either the teachings of Bodhidharma, nor of Lao Tzu, but these chapters from the Tao Te Ching came to mind when I read that:

1. The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name
The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth
The named is the mother of myriad things
Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence
Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations
These two emerge together but differ in name
The unity is said to be the mystery
Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders

2. When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away

http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm


I don't know if there is a connection between the two, but the idea of
'the teaching of no words' does sound appealing.

:anjali:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:45 pm

manas wrote:I don't know much about either the teachings of Bodhidharma, nor of Lao Tzu, but these chapters from the Tao Te Ching came to mind ...
I don't know if there is a connection between the two, but the idea of
'the teaching of no words' does sound appealing.

:anjali:

There may be some vague historical connection - I don't know - but the logical connection is certainly strong.
As soon as you describe an experience - i.e. put it into words - you catch part of it in your box and throw away the rest, e.g. "man" is not any particular man with all his unique characteristics but a paper cut-out ... etc.
If you have an experience for which there are no words, trying to put it into words is futile. We try anyway, which is why, for instance, there are so many conflicting descriptions of what I believe is one fundamental mystical experience, the "oneness with the universe" experience.

But if we don't use words ...

:thinking:

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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Simon E. » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:08 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
manas wrote:I don't know much about either the teachings of Bodhidharma, nor of Lao Tzu, but these chapters from the Tao Te Ching came to mind ...
I don't know if there is a connection between the two, but the idea of
'the teaching of no words' does sound appealing.

:anjali:

There may be some vague historical connection - I don't know - but the logical connection is certainly strong.
As soon as you describe an experience - i.e. put it into words - you catch part of it in your box and throw away the rest, e.g. "man" is not any particular man with all his unique characteristics but a paper cut-out ... etc.
If you have an experience for which there are no words, trying to put it into words is futile. We try anyway, which is why, for instance, there are so many conflicting descriptions of what I believe is one fundamental mystical experience, the "oneness with the universe" experience.

But if we don't use words ...

:thinking:

Kim

Can you provide Buddhist examples of the " oneness with the Universe ". experience, Ms/Mr O'Hara ?
I rather thought that the Buddha identified that as wrong view.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:01 pm

manas wrote:... I don't know if anyone can relate to this feeling, but sometimes I feel disgusted with the whole darn thing. Even my own views are still views...

I relate to this very much. Even the most well-intended of Buddhist concepts seem abhorrent these days.

Better to just get on with living a gentle life.
May all beings be happy
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Luke » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:40 pm

manas wrote:I know that the Buddha's words are truthful, I mean I'm not denying it...I have seen the truth them often. But there you have it - I'm doing the same thing that everyone else is, I'm holding to a view. Sometimes I get this longing to just be rid of all religion, totally. Everyone is so convinced that they are right. Even me.

Hi Manas, it sounds to me that what you really dislike is the intense grasping and attachment people have to their own religions. Maybe the solution is to just relax a bit and let go a bit: You can still like and practice Buddhism and still have appreciation for good parts of other religions without getting so worked up mentally. Just peacefully observe things and try to do things which benefits others and relax and see how it goes...
No worries... No stressing or trying to maintain a certain image... Just relax and follow your inner compass... :smile:

manas wrote:I don't know if anyone can relate to this feeling, but sometimes I feel disgusted with the whole darn thing. Even my own views are still views. Sometimes I just wish I could live free from words, concepts, ideas and beliefs. Just live virtuously, but not have my head crammed up full of knowledge.

I understand your feelings, but my feelings right now are the polar opposite of yours. While I still consider myself a Buddhist and value Buddhist teachings above others, I also see some value in other religions. Other religions contain the thoughts, culture, and history of many different people, and thinking about them makes me feel compassion for them. Different religions show the creativity which is inherent in the human mind, and I think that this is a beautiful thing. :namaste:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:24 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:There may be some vague historical connection - I don't know - but the logical connection is certainly strong.
As soon as you describe an experience - i.e. put it into words - you catch part of it in your box and throw away the rest, e.g. "man" is not any particular man with all his unique characteristics but a paper cut-out ... etc.
If you have an experience for which there are no words, trying to put it into words is futile. We try anyway, which is why, for instance, there are so many conflicting descriptions of what I believe is one fundamental mystical experience, the "oneness with the universe" experience.

But if we don't use words ...

:thinking:

Kim

Can you provide Buddhist examples of the " oneness with the Universe ". experience, Ms/Mr O'Hara ?
I rather thought that the Buddha identified that as wrong view.

Hi, Simon,
For the record, I'm "Mr" ... but it's good not to make baseless assumptions.
Addressing your question: I used that experience as an example of something for which there seem to be no adequate words. I didn't claim it to be Buddhist or to align with Right View. That said, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the experiences of (some) Buddhist meditators are very similar to those of (some) Christian, Hindu and Sufi meditators/mystics in spite of the difference in the way they are put into words ... which supports my point, if it's true.
Can you provide any reference for the Buddha identifying the feeling of "oneness with the Universe" as wrong view?

:namaste:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Simon E. » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:26 am

In the Mahanidana Sutta the Buddha follows his frequently encountered practice of taking the prevailing Vedic forms and re-fashioning them into something more subtle.
So he points to the limitations inherent both in the view that grows from the idea of an atta...and also from the prevailing notion of merging into the infinite.
Ideally his thoughts should be followed as they are developed within the Sutta.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:03 am

dharmagoat wrote:Even the most well-intended of Buddhist concepts seem abhorrent these days.
Some examples would be helpful for the topic :smile:
dharmagoat wrote:Better to just get on with living a gentle life.
Of course, that's not particularly "Buddhist", and probably not even the best use of certain temperaments :thinking:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:15 am

Simon E. wrote:Can you provide Buddhist examples of the " oneness with the Universe ". experience, Ms/Mr O'Hara ?
I rather thought that the Buddha identified that as wrong view.
It might be that many non-Buddhist mystic-types discover an intimation to a reality in which there is no 'one' and no "universe", and therefore no separation of 'one' and "universe" - Because of the egoistic habits of samsara, they'd then stitch together suitable labels -such as 'God' or 'oneness with the universe'- from the concepts they've been taught semi-automatically :guns: , simply in order to explain the sensed lack of separateness in a way that makes conventional sense. Chogyam Trungpa's "Spiritual Materialism" concept covers this ground, I think.

Speaking in the somewhat loosely-related context of late-romantic classical music, a music lecturer of mine once described nirvana as 'oneness with the universe - for want of a better term' - Although awakening might contrast with that 'oneness' on a conceptual level, calling 'oneness' a "wrong view" seems unfair.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby greentara » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:39 am

kim "Descriptions of what I believe is one fundamental mystical experience, the "oneness with the universe" experience"
I'm inclined to agree. Its subtle and transforming and who can put into words? Who can write it?
Nothing was written down for over a century, well after the Buddha passed so who can really explain or capture the effulgence of his great awakening?
Buddhism has an excellent, developed 'road map' to reach for a supposed destination that has no location. What are you reaching for.... the plenum or the void? You reach out, make effort to to be aware, to wake-up but we don't know what to really wake-up is?
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:42 am

undefineable wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Even the most well-intended of Buddhist concepts seem abhorrent these days.
Some examples would be helpful for the topic :smile:
dharmagoat wrote:Better to just get on with living a gentle life.
Of course, that's not particularly "Buddhist", and probably not even the best use of certain temperaments :thinking:

Speaking personally, what I mean is that I have become extremely weary of trying to manifest something other than the best of what I am. Living gently and graciously is something that comes more naturally to me than living "virtuously". Buddhism prescribes a model of virtuous behaviour ("right speech", for example, where one is advised not to raise dissent, possibly missing the opportunity to have an issue resolved) that many like myself find overly restrictive and formularised.

I concede that what I am expressing is not particularly "Buddhist" in the conventional sense, but I question whether the true nature of the Dharma is limited to the particular set beliefs and practices that have come down to us, that which we know as "Buddhism".
May all beings be happy
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:48 am

dharmagoat wrote:
undefineable wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Even the most well-intended of Buddhist concepts seem abhorrent these days.
Some examples would be helpful for the topic :smile:
dharmagoat wrote:Better to just get on with living a gentle life.
Of course, that's not particularly "Buddhist", and probably not even the best use of certain temperaments :thinking:

Speaking personally, what I mean is that I have become extremely weary of trying to manifest something other than the best of what I am. Living gently and graciously is something that comes more naturally to me than living "virtuously". Buddhism prescribes a model of virtuous behaviour ("right speech", for example, where one is advised not to raise dissent, possibly missing the opportunity to have an issue resolved) that many like myself find overly restrictive and formularised.

I concede that what I am expressing is not particularly "Buddhist" in the conventional sense, but I question whether the true nature of the Dharma is limited to the particular set beliefs and practices that have come down to us, that we know as "Buddhism".


What you are describing as "Buddhism" here is the Sravakayana, and particularly their idea of saintliness and purity, I think it can have kind of a ...sanctimonious manifestation sometimes. Plenty of Buddhism subscribes to a less austere, and more..active and spontaneous (for want of a better word, once again!) version of what it means to have virtue though, while still keeping the Hinayana as a foundation.. Just read stories of Zen masters or Mahasiddhas, it's not so black and white really.

Anyway religion is as religion does, any time you create a division like this is my religious self, this is my bad, regular self..IMO it's bound for disaster, if you don't like the trappings then do away with them, if you do enjoy them but don't cling, 84000 blah blah blah.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:58 am

Thanks Johnny.
:namaste:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:13 am

Simon E. wrote:In the Mahanidana Sutta the Buddha follows his frequently encountered practice of taking the prevailing Vedic forms and re-fashioning them into something more subtle.
So he points to the limitations inherent both in the view that grows from the idea of an atta...and also from the prevailing notion of merging into the infinite.
Ideally his thoughts should be followed as they are developed within the Sutta.

Thanks - I will have a look when I have a bit more time.
undefineable wrote:It might be that many non-Buddhist mystic-types discover an intimation to a reality in which there is no 'one' and no "universe", and therefore no separation of 'one' and "universe" - Because of the egoistic habits of samsara, they'd then stitch together suitable labels -such as 'God' or 'oneness with the universe'- from the concepts they've been taught semi-automatically ...

Agreed.
greentara wrote:kim "Descriptions of what I believe is one fundamental mystical experience, the "oneness with the universe" experience"
I'm inclined to agree. Its subtle and transforming and who can put into words? Who can write it?
Nothing was written down for over a century, well after the Buddha passed so who can really explain or capture the effulgence of his great awakening?
Buddhism has an excellent, developed 'road map' to reach for a supposed destination that has no location. What are you reaching for.... the plenum or the void? You reach out, make effort to to be aware, to wake-up but we don't know what to really wake-up is?

Agreed, again, but I would suggest that our "road-map" strongly influences the words we choose to describe the destination when we do glimpse it. For instance, a Christian is likely to speak of "seeing the face of God" but a Buddhist will not.

:juggling:
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Re: Sometimes I feel like doing away with religion, complete

Postby undefineable » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:57 am

Simon E. wrote:So he points to the limitations inherent both in the view that grows from...the prevailing notion of merging into the infinite.
It's easy for 'well-schooled' Buddhists to nit-pick between relative and ultimate truth in a way ("What is merging?; How is it 'merging'?; What is infinite?") that doesn't always keep the baby safe as the bathwater is thrown out. On the other hand, the idea that experience ultimately refers to something 'real' outside of itself is often contradicted in Buddhism, so an underlying concept that all mystics use different words to describe may be less valid than the experience that prompts that concept.

The term "Buddhism" makes sense as a description, but also paints a picture that contradicts the "finger pointing at the moon" parable. "Buddhism" itself only makes much sense as a particular picture which -seen from a certain angle that many have come to approach it from- is seen as an accurate facsimile of the reality of people's existence, and (beyond that) a guide to dealing optimally with that reality.
dharmagoat wrote:Buddhism prescribes a model of virtuous behaviour ("right speech", for example, where one is advised not to raise dissent, possibly missing the opportunity to have an issue resolved) that many like myself find overly restrictive and formularised.
This interpretation might differ from the original intent - If some 'dissent' is expected (as it seems to be within the particular niches of modern western society), then the diplomatic suggestion of a 'solution' for an issue might not make too many ripples if presented in the right light, regardless of how successful it may turn out to be. I'm sure you weren't suggesting that pre-conceived ideas of 'one correct solution' should be forced on people, but the contrast between the 'absolute' nature of Buddhist doctrine and the minutiae of its ethics (which, conversely, can come across as vague where summarised) suggests some level of 'relativism', with 'right' behaviour being 'right' in a particular time and in a particular place - rather than 'right' everywhere forever.
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