Ok. I've been trying to put together something in regards to the responses since I first saw them. I have yet to write anything that I really like so I'll just post what I have. Please understand that my concerns are connected in with other various ideas which I will be threading in throughout my response. I hope it is clear. Also, if there are any doubts I have absolutely no hostility to anyone who responded or anyone who is here. Please be charitable in regards to interpretation as I can assure you that I am charitable in regards to my writing.
Do you absolutely know that the end of suffering will come upon the cessation of breathing? Or is there a possibility that you tell yourself that now as a sort of light at the end of this tunnel you feel you're in? Perhaps a statement like this is a reflection of the way you feel, in that, in the midst of this predicament you find yourself in... the struggle to escape the tunnel has become tiring and pointless. Consider for a moment; the possibility that you were never in the tunnel to begin with, that truth is what this teaching reveals. Suffering is born of a grave misunderstanding regarding the nature of reality. The whole schematic of you as an individuated entity, living, suffering, dying someday, is an unneeded blemish upon the truth of what is happening right now. Why not be free? Your argument is akin to being in a desert and dying of thirst when all of a sudden someone walks up to you and says "hey, you're sitting on a well full of fresh water, it's right there under you, you just have to dig a little" to which you reply "what is the point of quenching my thirst and stopping my suffering if it will cease upon death anyways".
Here's the thing. I don't absolutely "know" anything. I don't think it is, even in theory, possible to "know" anything. I don't "know" that the person that posted the words above me is, in fact, a "person" and not a very cleverly designed computer program. I act as if the person who typed it is an actual person because it is convenient and there are no long range repercussions otherwise. However, I think in my initial post I wasn't clear enough in what I was saying and for that I am sorry. I will be more clear.
I definitely agree that Buddhist practice can benefit someone regardless of what happens after we die up to a point. Being compassionate has measurable positive effects on the body and meditation rewires the brain in a positive way. This has been confirmed via experiments and evidence continues to increase every day. This was not what I was talking about, however.
It has been shown that in order to get the benefits of meditation and compassion one only needs to practice a limited amount. Like the spiritual equivalent of running three times a week. What I am talking about is the spiritual equivalent of becoming a marathon runner. Doing the long retreats(months or even years), practicing an hour or more every day. From personal experience I know that level of practice can turn you into a hot mess or, at best, cause you to lose out on a lot of your life. The goal when you put in that vastly increased amount of time is, of course, to achieve Enlightenment for the good of all sentient beings. My concerns is that this effort is wasted. This, of course, would not matter if we just come back again and again(and would even be a wise use of our time) . However, if it is wasted and this is all we get then that changes everything. Sacrifices become inherently more tragic as in some cases you will never get back what you gave up. Every experience from dating to eating hot dogs is something that you will never have another chance to do once you stop breathing. For me, this puts the idea of doing 1500 hours worth of a particular practice into a whole different perspective.
To use your analogy, the water is about 3 inches down and I accept that digging 3 inches is a very good idea. I'm talking about digging a hundred feet and going past the water in order to get to a pocket of oxygen.
Luckily, although this (physicalist) view has been adopted, believed and taught to the masses, it lacks inherent reality. You have been indoctrinated with this view, but it is unreal.
Things are only that way if you believe them to be. In truth they are quite the opposite, and buddhism is one way (one of the best in my opinion) to experientially discover the unreality of the deluded view I described above. You are not bound by any such limitations.
But if the view was unreal then we wouldn't be able to create things based upon that view. If the brain didn't generate all of the factors that one would attribute to mind then we wouldn't be able to create chemicals that influence all of those factors(i.e., xanex wouldn't do anything for anxiety as anxiety would be an emotion which is the property of the mind and therefore isn't affected by the brain chemistry).
Of course, you might respond that the point of Buddhist thought is that the mind doesn't have inherent existence so mapping traits of what we would consider "mind" is irrelevant. However, if you take that tack then you get into a whole other set of issues which(to be frank) I haven't been able to even get a fair lead on. For example, if the Buddha was Enlightened and Enlightenment is living the truth that the mind doesn't inherently exist, then how did the Buddha eat or even walk from one place to another. Or, to think of that example another way, how can you articulate at a mental level going from the living room to the kitchen to get a glass of water if there is no "I" to interact with the chair, floor, glass, and faucet?
There is nothing here which was born, and there is nothing here which will die, and I know you cannot believe that (and I would not ask you to) but if applied correctly this teaching will reveal this truth.
Your skepticism and questioning are good things, question everything.
I think that you briefly touched on the last bit of the problem. I've been following the teaching and the only thing I get is more logical problems. I have heard it said that there are some things that you don't understand through reason but in my experience the phrase, "this idea is beyond logic" is invariably code for, "I don't want you to look at this too hard, just be quiet and give me your stuff." And I do not intend to be a casualty to someone else's cunning.
there is no such scientific evidence, they dont even have a definition for the mind yet
Kinda. There isn't a definition of what the mind is but the materialistic theory does explain how it works fairly well. I touched on that above and can elaborate if you would like.
even if karma is wrong and its not the cause and effect machination behind the mind, the mind nevertheless is still a produced object (ie. produced chemically, behaviorally, or whatever). therefore what you do will still determine the minds circumstances. as it turns out, being a hedonist, thinking short-term, and only about oneself, conditions the mind toward suffering, because it makes the mind too narrow and tight ie. you could be thinking about many ppl and on a grand scale, but you only think about yourself. which is more fun? why do you only think about yourself? because thats the result/effect of having obsession about yourself present as the cause
Well, with absolute(as opposed to "all due" which I think is a sort of cop out) respect, after a certain point I question that thinking on a grand scale really decreases suffering except in a very tiny number of people. An example. Let's say that I have a big hunk of bread, more than enough than I need. If I, through my compassion, give 1/2 of that bread to someone else then yes, that will increase overall happiness. However, I would suggest that if I gave all of my bread to others then, instead of feeling happy because of my compassion, I would feel hungry. And rather foolish. Of course, this requires careful thought in regards to what is a "need" and what is a "want" and there are some people who can happily give everything they have away and go through vast amounts of damage because of this with a smile on their face. To be blunt, I'm not one of those people(no matter how much part of me wants to be).
I'm an agnostic in the same sense that Robert Anton Wilson was, except his reaction was laughter. Mine isn't.
I am not a teacher in any tradition, Buddhist or otherwise. Anything that I have posted should not be taken as representing the view of anyone other than my own. And maybe Larry S. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama. But most likely just me.