How to reconcile both views?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:33 am

PadmaVonSambha wrote: a person doesn't die and that same person takes rebirth somewhere else.
although this is the usual way it is expressed, for the sake of convenience.
That is a Hindu concept based on the notion of an eternal soul.
Buddhist rebirth is a different concept,
A whole different process, involving uncountable mental components that are experienced as a single "me".
But I don't have time to go into more detail than that.


Allow me, then. The differences between Hindu~Vedanta and Buddhist concepts are not nearly so great as the differences between them and (for instance) the Semitic religions. They both developed against the background and acceptance of the 'eternal round of birth-and-death' from which release can only be won by vidya or spiritual insight. Of course there are differences as to what constitutes vidya and the nature of the path (margha) but the similarities are still profound. The relationship is further complicated by the fact that through millenia of debating, Vedanta and Buddhism have profoundly influenced each other. (Sankara was accused by more orthodox Hindus of being 'Buddhist in disguise'. I tend to think Buddhism influenced Vedanta more than vice versa, but it's a contested point. Richard Gombrich's What the Buddha Thought and How Buddhism Began are good on the similarities and differences between the Hindu and Buddhist views and the degree to which the latter diverges from the former.)

It is also true that the Buddha doesn't accept the idea of a 'permanent unchanging entity'. But in his view, it is not only persons who are impermanent - but everything! There is no permanent unchanging thing anywhere to be found. However interpreting the meaning of this is quite difficult in my view. According to another Buddhist studies scholar (Stephen Collins in Selfless Persons) the 'polemics of anatta' are indicative of a certain style of teaching within which the notion of 'self' became 'a linguistic taboo in technical discourse' - mainly because of the constant necessity of differentiating the Buddhist approach from its competitors, particularly the Vedanta. But this lead, in his view, to a lot of sophistry and sometimes even double-talk, insofar as it requires the explanation of karma with no agent to whom it accrues.

If you look at Tibetan Buddhism with its ideas of 'voluntary rebirth' and the traditional means of identifying incarnate lamas by recognizing objects from their past lives, and so on, I think it is hard to maintain the artifice of there being no personal continuity. What has happened, in practice, is that it is simply re-conceptualized as 'a mind-stream' instead of 'an entity' - but in practice, it adds up to the same thing.

My view is that the realization of 'no-self' (which is really another facet of the realization of emptiness) is not a proposition of whether or not people 'have' or 'are' souls or whether anything is eternal or not. It is, I think, more a matter of the being realizing its non-affinity with anything in the 'realm of sense' whatever and so waking up to its 'true nature', however that is conceived.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1931
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Jesse » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:47 am

Ffff
Last edited by Jesse on Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
"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
User avatar
Jesse
 
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:58 am

Jesse wrote:I think it's really an opinion on what constitutes 'me'. Sure what I am is nothing but fleeting phenomena coming in and out of existence. essentially, we are the sum of our parts, and yet the sum of those parts creates a sentient being.
Yes the sense of 'me', is an illusion created by the continuity of experience, and the ability to compare the present with the past(Via memory), and contemplate both the past and present against the future.

So here I am, fully aware of myself, my state of being, my memories, even aware that I am mostly an illusory creature. Still, I don't feel that way, and in many ways I am not. So I wonder, what makes ultimate reality so much more important than subjective reality?


I have never seen ultimately reality. Right now I am getting my things together-boost my credit scores, trying to quit smoking, saving money, etc.

Is it because we have no choice but to accept it? Because one day we will die, and we will lose what is subjectively us. This is what most people are afraid of. Then they wonder, if these thing's aren't me, then what I am must be the awareness behind it all, so will there ever be a moment of awareness again? (The answer is Maybe. It's Impossible to know.)


This is a big one. Uncertainty of one's own existence.

If you are unsure if these things are you, this shows you are uncertain about you. The problem here is you think you are something. For example, "I am water." "I" and "water" are two separate things. If "I" already is "I," why is it also "water?" I think it is a good idea to drop all these thoughts and live with the uncertainty/mystery. Why bother to define/give meaning to this and that and box yourself with it? Is it not about not being attached?

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be. Enlightenment is a sham.


Drop 'enlightenment' thought and try to focus on your life now. Live healthy and happy. Recognize what brings suffering. Boy, I could use my own advice too. :lol:


As for rebirth, if you are appearing here now, what makes you stop appearing in the future?
If you are appearing here now, what brought you here?
This is cause and effect. Logical and it makes sense.

Relating to you/mind, if there is no you/mind in the first place, you would not be here with this body.

Here are a few lines from Patriarchs:

Verse of the Second Patriarch, the Priest Hui

Because originally there is earth,
From this earth seeds bring forth flowers
If from the outset there were no earth
From where would the flowers grow?

Verse of the Third Patriarch, the Priest Seng-ts'an

Although flower seeds rely upon the earth,
It is on the earth that seeds produce flowers.
If flower seeds had no nature of growth,
On the earth nothing would be produced.

Verse of the Fourth Patriarch, the Priest Tao-hin

Flower seeds have the nature of growth;
From the earth seeds produce flowers.
If former causality is not harmonized,
Nothing at all will sprout.

Verse of the Fifth Patriarch, the Priest Hung-jen

Sentient beings come and lay down the seeds,
And non-sentient flowers grow.
If there is insentiency and there are no seeds,
The mind-ground, as well, produces nothing.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2228
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby ConradTree » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:14 pm

doubledragon wrote:Hi, everyone! I am new to the site. I have been studying Buddhism on and off since I was twelve (I'm in my early forties) in different centres, and did a Green Tara initiation two years ago and several months of practice with a tulku of the Gelug lineage.
Since this centre is almost two hours away from my house and for personal reasons I have yet to find the time to resume my practice in a centre closer to my home (the only existing one is of the Kagyu lineage), I'm back to studying on my own, for the time being.
My problem is, I am very comfortable with a personal view that I have of a pragmatic, godless Buddhism which can't quite fit the mold of the Tibetan rites and mithology. I like all schools of Buddhism, but recently read a biography by Alexandra David-Neel. Despite travelling up and down Tibet for many years at the beginning of the past century, she had exactly this same problem: how to reconcile the primitive philosophy of the Buddha as you read it on the sutras, with the colourful, more complex Tibetan cosmology and rituals.
It reminds me a bit of the Catholic belief in saints and angels.
I did the Green Tara initiation because I felt a strong affinity with this bodhisattva, yet I still have many doubts as to how this tradition of chanting mantras to the different Buddhas is in accordance with the actual word of the Buddha.
Like I said, I am new to the site and have this huge doubt. I mean no offence to anyone, I am humbly asking for guidance.
I'll be most thankful if you could provide me with your opinion on this subject or lead me to links where a similar subject has been dealt with. If anyone could also explain to me the difference between the Gelug and Kagyu lineages...
Thank you and Mettha to everyone! :buddha2:


You have studied Buddhism for decades, and haven't learned that Vajrayana was taught by the Indian Mahasiddhas?

No one claims that Buddha taught Vajrayana.
ConradTree
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:33 pm

Re: How to reconcile both views?

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:43 pm

Jesse wrote:
I think it's really an opinion on what constitutes 'me'. Sure what I am is nothing but fleeting phenomena coming in and out of existence. essentially, we are the sum of our parts, and yet the sum of those parts creates a sentient being.
Yes the sense of 'me', is an illusion created by the continuity of experience, and the ability to compare the present with the past(Via memory), and contemplate both the past and present against the future.


In my opinion you don't even need present and past for constructing an I. It is sufficient when awareness becomes aware of itself, even in the now to create that I-sense. You probably need memory for "me", since that includes a direction, and direction cannot exist without comparison, and comparison cannot exist without memory.

So here I am, fully aware of myself, my state of being, my memories, even aware that I am mostly an illusory creature. Still, I don't feel that way, and in many ways I am not. So I wonder, what makes ultimate reality so much more important than subjective reality?


As long as you don't experience any suffering, you're fine. Which I doubt, reading the end of your post (what required a rant when it was not suffering?)

Is it because we have no choice but to accept it? Because one day we will die, and we will lose what is subjectively us.


How can you lose something you do not even possess? When you're unconscious, how could anything be subjectively you?

Every night I die, and find it most refreshing. Hell, people even swallow pills to achieve nightly death quicker. Once you've achieved it, who is there within "you" who could worry whether you wake up again or not? Nothing! Non-existing you would not give a penny! Your sense organs bootstrap you back in the morning (or sometimes in the middle of the night, there's nothing you could do or want). Only when you're awake and get this I going you fear not waking up again (which appears to be some sort of cultivated schizophrenia). So when you're awake you fear that you're not waking up, yet you want to sleep in faster. Decide! :-)

This is what most people are afraid of. Then they wonder, if these thing's aren't me, then what I am must be the awareness behind it all, so will there ever be a moment of awareness again? (The answer is Maybe. It's Impossible to know.)


They wouldn't be afraid being non-aware. They are only afraid of being afraid, and project that afraid-of-afraidness on whatever illusion comes next. Not being aware can never be unpleasant to you. So what's there to be afraid of?

So then, we must accept non-self, because there is a distinct lack of choice in the matter. I find this pretty annoying.


Do you also find this annoying non-aware? So why do you make up annoyance when being aware?


In fact I seriously doubt there's anything rational, sane or dare I say, moral, about the entire process a sentient being must go though, for all eternity.


Of course there's nothing moral or sane. Moral or sanity are concepts made up in the mind. You only suffer when you want to be what you perceive as moral where your surroundings aren't, or want to be what you think is sane where nature does not work that way. So do whatever you want sick. Where's the problem?

If there's one thing I do agree on - we are not in control of our destinies, nor will we ever be. Enlightenment is a sham. (Sorry).


For me, Enlightenment means to realize what you can change and what not, and tune the changeable part in a way so there is no suffering. Applying a health pack to the chain of perception.

Best wishes
Gwenn
Gwenn Dana
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:03 pm

Previous

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 7 guests

>