Navayana Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:11 am

nowheat wrote: It doesn't matter "what". The metaphor of the flame is positing a what. It doesn't matter if you call it "something" or "nothing" or "the unknowable" or "a process" or "energy" or "heat" or "flame" or "it's a mystery" or just describe it with a metaphor. Being unable to name it doesn't make it any more real or excuse it being unverifiable. Something is being posited and it goes from the temporary conditions of this life, past death, into the aggregates of some future existence. You could even say "it's the karma that goes from this life to the next". Whatever you want to call it, it transcends death, and you're back to having something identified with my present existence that goes to some future existence.

You can't tell me how that future existence gets to be the one that gets the karma generated in this existence -- it's just dumb, random luck, isn't it? Or is there some other connection besides random dumb luck that assigns the karma generated by *this* collection of aggregates to *that* collection of aggregates? (In case you've forgotten, that was a point I made a long time ago when you were saying that without karma, the conditions we have in this lifeby are perhaps just luck or some other thing you couldn't waste time suggesting.) Either there is something that ties this heap's existence to that heap's existence, or it's just random, in which case karma is no different than the materialist's description of why I have celiac disease.


I don't know if this helps, and I may be off base in saying this, but it seems to me that what you're presenting here is basically the reverse of the Buddhist approach. You're starting by positing "Self" X and "Self" Y and asking why there is a karmic link.

But the Buddhist perspective, I think, is that selves are an illusion resulting from karma. Karma is like a kind of engine that keeps churning out "selves" until it runs out of fuel. So what links X and Y is the fact that they are both products of the karmic engine, so to speak.

Thus, randomness or luck doesn't factor into the process. The new existence which arises as a result of X's kamma is, by definition, X's "rebirth". This is what is meant by being "heir to karma".

It's a little like skipping stones (sorry for the metaphor overload!) -- the different plonks of the stone form a sequence governed by cause and effect. It's not a random process because there is a driving force which carries it along.

Just my two cents...
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:11 am

Lazy_eye wrote:I don't know if this helps, and I may be off base in saying this, but it seems to me that what you're presenting here is basically the reverse of the Buddhist approach. You're starting by positing "Self" X and "Self" Y and asking why there is a karmic link.

But the Buddhist perspective, I think, is that selves are an illusion resulting from karma. Karma is like a kind of engine that keeps churning out "selves" until it runs out of fuel. So what links X and Y is the fact that they are both products of the karmic engine, so to speak.

Thus, randomness or luck doesn't factor into the process. The new existence which arises as a result of X's kamma is, by definition, X's "rebirth". This is what is meant by being "heir to karma".

It's a little like skipping stones (sorry for the metaphor overload!) -- the different plonks of the stone form a sequence governed by cause and effect. It's not a random process because there is a driving force which carries it along.

Just my two cents...


Thanks. Reversing direction may be helpful. I'm going to ponder it a while.

:namaste:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:31 am

:thinking:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:34 am

nowheat wrote: I am saying that since there is nothing we can find that lasts beyond death, there is no evidence that karma lasts beyond death.

Oh...that's what you are saying!
Tell me, what part of you were you born with that isn't dead now?

nowheat wrote:
How, exactly, do you envision these not-in-the-brain thoughts and memories being stored and created?

Thoughts and memories only occur when experienced. The thoughts are not stored anywhere. There may be some molecular structure or something, like the groove on a record, which when played recreates the experience. I'm not disputing that. In fact, the brain can be mapped to show where different mechanisms operate. The point is, and this is where karma comes in, and where rebirth comes in, which it seems you are unable to grasp, is the illusion of the experiencer. That's what suffers samsara. It isn't the places in the physical brain that suffer.

nowheat wrote: Brains do store information, DNA stores information, information that is useable over a long period of time, even most of a lifetime.


"stores information" is an interesting term for what the brain and DNA actually do, what they actually store. Again, it isn't "information" until it is perceived by awareness. Until then, it's just enzymes & proteins.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But the material part of those events do not produce thoughts.

nowheat wrote: I'd like to see your evidence for this statement.


Well, okay, I am only saying that because I do not subscribe to animism.
I don't think that minerals, water, carbon and so forth have feelings or can think about things,
even when they get together as a group.
But since you do, I guess I can respect that viewpoint.

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:35 am

Metaphor overload?
I tend to think almost entire in analogies.
Like the way a bear....
oh, never mind.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:40 am

Lazy_eye wrote:
I don't know if this helps, and I may be off base in saying this, but it seems to me that what you're presenting here is basically the reverse of the Buddhist approach. You're starting by positing "Self" X and "Self" Y and asking why there is a karmic link.

But the Buddhist perspective, I think, is that selves are an illusion resulting from karma. Karma is like a kind of engine that keeps churning out "selves" until it runs out of fuel. So what links X and Y is the fact that they are both products of the karmic engine, so to speak.

Thus, randomness or luck doesn't factor into the process. The new existence which arises as a result of X's kamma is, by definition, X's "rebirth". This is what is meant by being "heir to karma".

It's a little like skipping stones (sorry for the metaphor overload!) -- the different plonks of the stone form a sequence governed by cause and effect. It's not a random process because there is a driving force which carries it along.

Just my two cents...


That was expressed very nicely and clearly.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:31 am

Lazy_eye wrote:But the Buddhist perspective, I think, is that selves are an illusion resulting from karma. Karma is like a kind of engine that keeps churning out "selves" until it runs out of fuel. So what links X and Y is the fact that they are both products of the karmic engine, so to speak.
...
It's a little like skipping stones (sorry for the metaphor overload!) -- the different plonks of the stone form a sequence governed by cause and effect. It's not a random process because there is a driving force which carries it along.

So the stone creates the circles in the water, and karma is what generates (what we in our ignorance think of as) selves. Are there any suttas you can point out that show that the Buddha says that the aggregates are generated by karma, rather than karma being generated by the aggregates?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:42 am

Greetings,

nowheat wrote:Are there any suttas you can point out that show that the Buddha says that the aggregates are generated by karma, rather than karma being generated by the aggregates?

Karma is cetana (action).

Appropriating aggregates is an action, so it is the first of the two. The aggregates themselves are empty bundles of appropriation (upadana).

More precise causes and conditions involved are depicted in the following sutta.

MN 109: Maha-punnama Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Lord, what is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation[2] of the aggregate of form? What is the cause, what the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness?"

"Monk, the four great existents (earth, water, fire, & wind) are the cause, the four great existents the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of form. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of feeling. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of perception. Contact is the cause, contact the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of fabrications. Name-&-form is the cause, name-&-form the condition, for the delineation of the aggregate of consciousness."

[2] - Delineation (paññapana) literally means, "making discernible." This apparently refers to the intentional aspect of perception, which takes the objective side of experience and fabricates it into discernible objects. In the case of the aggregates, the four great existents, contact, and name-&-form provide the objective basis for discerning them, while the process of fabrication takes the raw material provided by the objective basis and turns it into discernible instances of the aggregates. This process is described in slightly different terms in SN 22.79.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:07 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote: I am saying that since there is nothing we can find that lasts beyond death, there is no evidence that karma lasts beyond death.

Oh...that's what you are saying!
Tell me, what part of you were you born with that isn't dead now?

Just the original information, Padma, the information encoded in the DNA; and some versions of that may have changed, but most likely remain the same. Even that will not survive my death, though, at least not for long.

But the point I think you are making -- that nothing survives for long even within one lifetime -- is my point as well. Did you think I would disagree with it? If so, then somewhere in here you are misunderstanding what I am saying that the Buddha is saying.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote: How, exactly, do you envision these not-in-the-brain thoughts and memories being stored and created?
Thoughts and memories only occur when experienced. The thoughts are not stored anywhere. There may be some molecular structure or something, like the groove on a record, which when played recreates the experience. I'm not disputing that. In fact, the brain can be mapped to show where different mechanisms operate. The point is, and this is where karma comes in, and where rebirth comes in, which it seems you are unable to grasp, is the illusion of the experiencer. That's what suffers samsara. It isn't the places in the physical brain that suffer.

True, thoughts are not stored; ideas are. Thoughts arise in response to circumstances, and can be affected by past experiences as well as by the coding of DNA in our systems -- by the way the human machine has come to operate during its evolution.

It seems we do agree that thoughts only occur when experienced. Memories, too, have to have a component stored within the body, but, yes, "memories" as experiences can only exist while they are being experienced. But we also speak of memories as things we can call up, or as things that can be damaged by brain trauma -- that sort of memory is stored (it is not actively in use).

In just the same way, computer data is only "crunched" when the computer is running a program to crunch it -- but the data still exists on the hard drive even when it is not being accessed. It takes several conditions being met for "crunching" to happen -- a computer with data and a program and someone to set it going. The actively running process doing the crunching will not survive the destruction of the computer, just as any processes generated while the human machine was running will not survive death; that includes thoughts.

You are mistaken that I don't grasp that there is an illusory experiencer. Feeling feels, thinking thinks; there is no me to be thinking or feeling. It is all processes running, and I understand this, that there is no self. And I expect we agree that this is something the Buddha said long before either of us saw it for ourselves.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
nowheat wrote: Brains do store information, DNA stores information, information that is useable over a long period of time, even most of a lifetime.


"stores information" is an interesting term for what the brain and DNA actually do, what they actually store. Again, it isn't "information" until it is perceived by awareness. Until then, it's just enzymes & proteins.

I believe you are mistaken, there. The information in DNA is used without conscious effort by the body to replace cells. The information is constantly there and constantly being passed on, usually accurately.

But perhaps what you are trying to convey is that what information is, is within a category of things we might call "useful". And it isn't useful unless it is being used?

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But the material part of those events do not produce thoughts.

nowheat wrote: I'd like to see your evidence for this statement.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Well, okay, I am only saying that because I do not subscribe to animism.
I don't think that minerals, water, carbon and so forth have feelings or can think about things,
even when they get together as a group.
But since you do, I guess I can respect that viewpoint.


I would still like to see your evidence. Having thought about this on and off all evening, I believe what is missing for me is any understanding of what you *see* to come to these conclusions. One of the things I like most about the Buddha's methods of teaching is that he shows me how I can see what he saw. He doesn't simply say, "this is the way things are" but points the way for me to see for myself whatever it is that brought him to his understanding.

So I would like to know what it is you see and experience that makes it evident to you that thought does not come from the brain, and that karma lasts beyond death.

I truly appreciate your continued efforts to both understand me, and to help me to understand what you see.

:namaste:
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby nowheat » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:Appropriating aggregates is an action, so it is the first of the two.


Sorry, retro, but the first of the two what? I'm trying to understand your whole post but I seem to have gotten stopped with the first sentence. I know it'll be worth my while to make sense of what you're saying; you've always got good points to make.

Added: Second sentence. But in the FIRST sentence did you define cetana as action? Or did you mean karma as action?

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:20 am

Greetings Nowheat,

Sorry, retro, but the first of the two what?

Are there any suttas you can point out that show that [1] the Buddha says that the aggregates are generated by karma, rather than [2] karma being generated by the aggregates?

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Caz » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:05 am

It seems that in both cases this rejection of Buddhist teachings and tradition is rooted in a narcissistic urge to remake the Buddha in one's own image in order to feel good.

Well he is a failed monk. :shrug:

Its more like a urge to make money of the name of Buddhism and in turn trash its core tenants. :?
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:00 am

nowheat wrote:Funny to find myself in this situation. Here I am, the one usually being told that I am not reading what's there, but am reading into the words, now in the position of pointing out to you that the Buddha doesn't say "life is suffering" -- you are reading into a series of words, and interpreting them the way you prefer. I prefer to take him fairly literally -- that it is in these aspects of life that we find suffering. I would suggest that he lists them because this is what he means -- we should take him at his word. If he had meant "life is suffering" he sure could have said it.
So please provide an example of an instance of living that does not fit into onto one of these categories (apart from the most rudimentary biological functions, some of which fit into the categories too)..
But that says it as well as I could. We were speaking about actions that are within our control -- so this would be actions that we can exercise restraint over and have a directing influence over.
So by using the word "control" instead of "intention" in reference to "actions" instead of "karma" you believe you have brought about some sort of radical (secularising) transformation of the Buddhist practice/theory (praxis)?
When you point out in today's post that wholesome activities are conditions that lead to enlightenment, I agree with you on that point also -- but the difference this brings up is that it seems to me the emphasis here is so much on wholesome activities that the important aspects of the Buddha's teachings on how to *end* wholesome activities gets shuffled into the background.
Not at all. You are projecting your personal aversion.

I take it you know and apply the Noble Eightfold Path (the method Buddha Sakyamuni outlined in order to end suffering)?

First step? Right view. Mundane right view is an understanding of the law of kamma (knowing the difference between wholesome and unwholesome action). Superior right view consists of a thorough understanding of the four noble truths. Why? Because one may have mundane right view and engage in wholesome activities to achieve peace during this lifetime or a fortunate rebirth in their next lifetime. Both types of view are necessary for liberation. You place emphasis on superior right view but have an aversion to mundane right view. It is also obvious from your previous posts that you do not have an understanding, BORN OF PRACTICE, of the four noble truths.

Second step? Right intention. You prefer to call it control. You avoid the terms wholesome and unwholesome due to your aversion of the terms, but I understand that you mean we avoid actions (control actions) based on the intention of desire, ill-will and harm.

Third step? Right speech, right action, right livelihood. If one engages in these one will normally be free from the malice of others and will have a natural peace of mind conducive to practice. This is what is meant by saying that one produces causes and conditions conducive to practice. If one is being constantly chased by people they have slighted or tormented by thoughts in regard to negative speech action and livelihood (ie regrets) then it is incredibly unlikely that they will ever have the opportunity to engage in the actual practices that will led to ultimate liberation. You cannot bypass the third step and cut directly to 7th and 8th step.

The fact that you have the opportunity to engage in the 7th in 8th step RIGHT NOW is due to the outcome of your practicing the first three steps in the past. But since you wish to blind yourself to the reality (or even to the possibility) of your actions in previous lifetimes being the cause of your positive causes and conditions right now; you are forced into trying to explain it away as the mystical workings of some chaotic intertwining of physical factors.
As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, ethics aren't the whole of Buddhism. They are wholesome things, true. But *anyone* can do wholesome -- any system of ethics can, anyway. But an ethical system -- even with meditation and mindfulness thrown in -- isn't Buddhism, is it?
That's right. I agree 100%. The ethical system also has to satisfy the four Dharma seals, something that your theory (as it has been pointed out to you earlier in the thread) does not do AND, as I pointed out above, it's practice must include right effort, mindfulness, concentration and the development of wisdom.
Why is the emphasis more on wholesome behavior than it is on the deeper teachings, I wonder? Is it because we're mostly trying to aim the conversation at people with perceive as "beginners"? The ones who most need the rudiments of morality drilled into them? and to be encouraged to set up an environment in which they can have a stable practice? That would be a really good reason for focus on adopting wholesome behavior over unwholesome.
Exactly. Wholesome actions are not the starting point (like at the beginning of a race) they are the foundation upon which practice rests. If the foundation is unsteady then... The majority of people do not have the opportunity (or preponderance) to engage in practice in this lifetime, for them ethical behaviour is the only part of the eightfold path that they can practice. Fortunately its practice also leads to social cohesion.
Or might it have more to do with the idea that it takes *many* lifetimes to reach enlightenment, so pretty much *everyone* is a beginner for the whole of their lives? This life and the next and the next and the next -- beginners through the ages? And since we assume that everyone is a beginner for a long, long time, we talk mostly about the early basics, and don't focus much on the parts we *really* need to understand to get off that track?
Like I said, without a solid foundation...
It doesn't matter "what". The metaphor of the flame is positing a what.
No it is not, it is positing quite the opposite. It is positing a continutation without a solid something that continues. Karma does not "go" from one lifetime to the next, it is what propels or drives samsara. If one ends karma (which is what the Buddha proposes) then the impetus for rebirth (fueled by ignorance) is destroyed. The only thing that remains is previous karma that will or will not ripen depending on ones mental state (and depending on what practices one engages in).
You can't tell me how that future existence gets to be the one that gets the karma generated in this existence -- it's just dumb, random luck, isn't it? Or is there some other connection besides random dumb luck that assigns the karma generated by *this* collection of aggregates to *that* collection of aggregates? (In case you've forgotten, that was a point I made a long time ago when you were saying that without karma, the conditions we have in this life are perhaps just luck or some other thing you couldn't waste time suggesting.) Either there is something that ties this heap's existence to that heap's existence, or it's just random, in which case karma is no different than the materialist's description of why I have celiac disease.
Quite clearly you have no understanding of DO. Ignorance gives rise to mental formations, that give rise to consciousness, that gives rise to name and form... Ignorance and mental formations (karmic preponderance or predispostiions) are based in the past, consciouness and name and form (mind and matter) arise in the present as a consequence of these. Your misundertanding of DO arises from you clinging to materialist views whereby you are forced to START at mind and matter rather than ignorance and karmic predisposition. This is the reason that you hold the deluded view that physical death is (also) the end of suffering whereas Buddhists believe that suffering ends (solely) through Nirvana.
Cognitive dissonance requires the unnamed mystery. It is not consistent to say there is no "me" but "my karma" should be a concern because otherwise in the future "I" will suffer
If you are completely self-centred and lack true compassion.
-- and the only way to solve the problem is to provide a mysterious "not me" to do the job. Putting a mystery there patches the problem but doesn't actually solve it. But cognitive dissonance probably won't let you see this. Unfortunately, it also prevents seeing the way adopting the mystery undermines the deepest of the Buddha's teachings about how adopting views of things for which we have no good evidence harms our progress on the path.
Anatman is not a mystery, if you bothered practicing you will experience it for yourself.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:25 pm

nowheat wrote:
But the point I think you are making -- that nothing survives for long even within one lifetime -- is my point as well.

No, that is not what I am saying. I am giving you the evidence you ask for. Your awareness has already outlived many bodies. The aggregates of your physical body have already died many times, yet your stream of awareness has continued. If you did not experience rebirth, you would never make it to adulthood. Your memories would be wiped out every time an old brain cell is replaced with a new one.

If the question is asked, "do you have a brain?"
The answer is likely to something like,
"of course, obviously I have a brain.
Otherwise, I could not even answer this question!"

So then. who is answering the question,
you, or your brain?
If you say "me" then that is an assertion of some kind of self. A buddhist no-no.
If you say "my brain" then the brain is answering, "of course I have a brain."
Does the brain have a brain?
If your experience is merely the activity of the physical brain,
and that experience is completely over when the physical brain dies,
then why do you not simply experience life as the brain, and think
"gee whiz, I am spending my whole life inside a skull, in the dark, controlling the functions of a body!"

Does the physical composition of the brain "know" it is a brain?
You are saying that the chemistry of the brain creates its own awareness.
But is the brain really aware of itself?
If somebody hadn't told you that you had a brain,
how would the brain ever discover itself on its own?
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:41 pm

nowheat wrote:True, thoughts are not stored; ideas are.

:rolling:

nowheat wrote: Feeling feels, thinking thinks;

:rolling:

Brains do store information, DNA stores information, information that is useable over a long period of time, even most of a lifetime. [/quote]

nowheat wrote: The information in DNA is used without conscious effort by the body to replace cells. The information is constantly there and constantly being passed on, usually accurately.

I didn't mean that we had to be consciously thinking of DNA in order for it to operate. You know that!
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:58 pm

You can run an MRI, you can map the activity of a brain in real-time and see it modeled on a computer screen. You can watch when a person sleeps, and see little active of the brain. On a compurter screen, those little areas will light up different colors, and somebody who knows how to read this can tell you "now that person is in REM sleep" or "that person is a having a nightmare" or something like that.

But all that is being watched is neuro-chemical electrical activity.
If you cut open a physical brain, even a living brain, there are no thoughts, ideas or memories there.
Of course, when a human dies, the activity of the physical brain stops.
But what is manifested, you could say, 'reflected' in the physical brain as thoughts, ideas and memories
does not end there.
Sometimes it is called "mind"
and its essence is Dharmakaya
the totality of everything as it is.
Unclouded, it is the experience of Buddhahood.
Clouded, it is the experience of samsara.

what experiences that neuro-chemical electrical activity as "me",
as deluded as that is, is what buddhism is concerned with.
Ending that delusion is liberation from samsara.

it is the experience, the awareness of that activity which experiences rebirth.
it is the experience, the awareness of that activity which persists
even though all of the cells in your body die and are replaced by new ones.
It is sometimes called "original mind" or 'alaya" or the ground of awareness.

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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:38 pm

nowheat wrote:In just the same way, computer data is only "crunched" when the computer is running a program to crunch it -- but the data still exists on the hard drive even when it is not being accessed. It takes several conditions being met for "crunching" to happen -- a computer with data and a program and someone to set it going. The actively running process doing the crunching will not survive the destruction of the computer, just as any processes generated while the human machine was running will not survive death; that includes thoughts.


I think you are still asserting some composite existence of 'self' that is stored in DNA, and when that DNA stops functioning, the 'self' stops too. This is why rebirth doesn't make sense to you.

But, no 'self' is actually stored in DNA, and rebirth of such a composite 'self' , even if there were one, is not what the Dharma teachings are referring to.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Navayana Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:50 pm

nowheat,

I’ve been reading your posts from the start and my initial opinion remains. I thought I would read something new, something different than other "secular" versions of Buddhadharma I've seen before. I didn't.

What you present here is not Buddhism. It’s a sterile and degenerate version of it, built to fit a materialist paradigm and conform to the state of affairs of scientific knowledge of this day. It’s no better than any other shoddy self-help system. Nothing of what you said made me change my mind, and apparently you weren't successful when changing the minds of others. I haven't seen a single member agreeing with your opinion with the exception of that other one who comes from the same place as you, the secular buddhist association.

After pages and pages of posts, you shown nothing to prove my initial assertion wrong.

Let’s look at a comment you made recently in response to Padma’s statement that you are now talking to yourself:

It isn't for lack of trying, Padma. I ask questions because I am trying to understand. But I wish you peace.


You see, this is a case where apparently your words go one way and your actions go in its opposite direction.

You are approaching 40 posts where you do nothing more than pushing your twisted understanding of Dharma upon others and acknowledge not simple facts as rebirth being a fundamental teaching of the Buddhadharma as a whole. Here and there you try to cloak your intentions and making this look like a dialogue, when what we have is an exercise of proselytism filled with inconsistencies and contradictions. I’ll show a few and put this to rest.

I'll just give a few examples. Let’s start here:

But the difference between "not believing in rebirth" and "rejecting or denying rebirth" is important because one of the Buddha's key points seems to me to be paying attention to the difference between what we know and have seen for ourselves, and what is speculative, and also to paying attention to how tightly we hold onto the views we base on what we have seen, and what is speculative.


While it is important that we pay attention to what we know and have seen for ourselves, Buddha never limited such observations to what we know prior to engage practice, prior to gaining insight.
So there are many things that although can’t be verified by ourselves before entering the path, can later be experienced and concluded as truthful.
As is stated in the Brahmajāla Sutta:

"There are, bhikkhus, other dhammas, deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.”

That alone is enough to demolish your whole attempt to explain Buddhadharma in a purely rationalist way. In your watered down presentation of the Dharma there’s not a single thing “difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise”.
By wise Budda refers himself to those who have wisdom relating to insight. Dharma has nothing to do with the secular knowledge possessed by world philosophers, religious leaders, writers or great scientists or mavericks who try to revise it in their own fashion.

One first approaches the Dharma by testing the teachings of the Buddha inside the range of one's experience. If they stand up under scrutiny, then to proceed it becomes necessary to have a certain degree of confidence in the teacher and accepts on trust the points of his teaching that we can’t validate just yet. Then, when one's practice matures, one goes beyond mere confidence to personal realization based on insight. Instead, your proposal derails one's practice from the start. It’s like starting a journey to somewhere we’ve never seen and because we can’t know if the map we were handled is indeed correct, we just throw it away even before setting a foot on the path.

That agnostic imperative of yours is nothing but a dead end. Buddhist most outlandish claims are said to be verifiable through direct experience as long as we move along through the Path set by Buddha. Your materialist, secular, whatever you want to call it, approach to Dharma will keep its underlying metaphysics, not assumed by you but definitively present in your reasoning, beyond grasp.

Moving on, here we have a yet another example where your speech points one direction, but your actions move in the opposite. This is becoming a pattern...

And, relevant to this conversation, y'all are talking at cross-purposes when one person is making statements based on "rejection" and the other is answering based on "lack of belief" (rather than rejection).

While you claim not to reject rebirth, all I see in your presentation is hermeneutical gymnastics based on a selective reading of the teachings with the objective of stripping Buddhism of rebirth and literal karma. While at it, you simply make no case of the huge amount of other teachings that don’t fit your agenda. This is sleazy sophistry.

Your deceptive approach becomes obvious here:
There is belief in rebirth, there is belief that there is no such thing as rebirth, and then there is the middle way, which is to neither believe nor disbelieve in something one has no experience with, nor good evidence for.


What is evidence according to you and who doesn’t have good evidence for rebirth? Your fellow secular Buddhists, proponents of materialism, armchair skeptics, you?
In the Tibetan tradition there's plenty of evidence favoring rebirth!
There are also scientific studies that suggest it as a good hypothesis. Of course organized militias of self appointed vigilantes of science (former csicop being one), that pretty much share your missionary style, act as pressure groups to undermine these studies in mainstream science. But that’s a different matter that isn’t inside the scope of this topic. Besides, let me remind you this is a Mahayana and Vajrayana board. You can’t come here with a revisionist approach mainly designed to counter Theravada and ask us to forget all the teachings we consider valid outside such tradition. We have a tremendous amount of teachings about rebirth and karma going beyond what the Theravadins accept.
More, let me say to you that if we discovered that the historical Buddha was just a fictional character, that wouldn’t upset our practice.
The historical Buddha is just one Buddha among many.

Continuing…

There is literal rebirth after death" because I don't know that either. If there were very strong evidence for either one -- perhaps just about everyone I know experienced it, or I have experienced it in a very convincing way, as have many others -- then I would have something to go on, but I don't, so I don't invest in views about these things -- I await further evidence.

Again, you show an ethnocentric mentality. Just because in your culture and preferred system of investigation of reality there’s not a consensus about the possibility of rebirth, this doesn’t mean in other civilizations and under different ways of tackling epistemology the same applies. Worse, you keep deceiving people with your sophistry when you say you wait for further evidence. You don’t. You build a revisionist form of Buddhist that fits your biases instead. You build it resorting to selective citation, oversimplification, and rationalization, not honest inquiry.

Another case were you deceive people is this:

The Buddha says there is rebirth? I'll look out for it, I'll keep it in mind. If it is a fact, and I keep an open mind, it will become clear to me in time, right?

Your whole proposal is the exact opposite of having an open mind. You swallowed hook, line and sinker when it comes to materialism and your solution, instead of having an open mind, was designing a version of Buddhism that fits your metaphysical predilections. That’s the exact opposite of keeping an open mind. You just don't admit it openly as you know this wouldn't fare well for your case.

More rethoric ahead:
My response is that you seem to think you know enough about me to know what I think, and how I practice -- well enough to read my mind -- but I'm pretty sure you don't. When you assume that a stranger is bending evidence to fit a preconception, might it be because you are bending evidence to fit your preconception of them?

A tree shall be known by its fruit, as they say. Your speech goes in one direction while your actions follow the opposite.
Then you go about Karma stating it doesn’t imply rebirth and all that jazz. Greg asked you about how would you explain the conditions of birth and your best answer was luck. Then you simply avoided the issue.
In the Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta is the answer you’re looking for:
"Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why inferiority and superiority are met with among human beings, among mankind? For one meets with short-lived and long-lived people, sick and healthy people, ugly and beautiful people, insignificant and influential people, poor and rich people, low-born and high-born people, stupid and wise people. What is the reason, what is the condition, why superiority and inferiority are met with among human beings, among mankind?"
3. "Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority."
[…]
5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.
[…]


Of course your selective picking of teachings made you ignore this particular one, among piles of others where literal karma and rebirth are taught as such.

Initially I thought about countering your posts, one by one, but then it occurred me why on earth would you deserve such an amount of attention especially when I’m so short on time?
You are not addressing the main criticisms of your views properly, simply pushing your version of Buddhism upon others without the slightest consideration for the board you’re in, and insisting in matters of detail.

If in a Theravada forum you may more or less pursue your line of reasoning, in a Mahayana and Vajrayana board such endeavor is completely futile.
Remember the Pure Land schools, the extensive corpus of teachings existent in the Tibetan schools about the bardo, the transference of consciousness among many, many others.

Coming here and claiming that Buddha didn’t teach rebirth or karma literally nearly amounts to calling liars to the generations of sages that confirm such teachings. You might as well spit in the face of Padmasambhava himself and call him a fool by going through the trouble of teaching extensively about the six bardos.

So I’ll just end with a generic criticism to yours and other similar secular Buddhist proposals- or whatever name you call to that stuff- by David Lowry:

"Almost every religious reformer tries to return to the original teachings of the founder, only to end up projecting his or her own understanding back onto those origins. Batchelor’s Buddha too seems too modern: humanistic and agnostic, skeptical and empirical—by no coincidence, a superior version of us, or at least of Stephen Batchelor."

It fits you like a glove.

Now, to the OP, I assume you got a pretty good idea about what happens when people start changing Dharma to suit their views. We know how it starts and know how it ends. It becomes useless.

So time to put this charade to rest. You were given enough space, nowheat. You failed to prove your version of the Dharma is Buddhist from our perspective, unless we totally redefine the meaning of Buddhism to suit you. I believe we are not ready to do that.

In a Mahayana and Vajrayana board your presentation of Dharma doesn't fall short an offensive aberration that can be discarded without losing anything of value, if we are to trust our teachers and, in some cases, own experience.

The main criticisms- selective citation, oversimplification, rationalization so that Buddhism fits under an alien paradigm and so on and so forth- remain valid. You couldn't refute them properly, nowheat although you had plenty of time.

If someone wants to add something that isn't just rehashing the same old arguments, please PM and I'll consider reopening the topic. If I considered a real debate was going on, it would remain open. Such, unfortunately, isn't the case. For the time being, I'll close it as it has been completely hijacked and is now being used as stage for the presentation of false Dharma by means of sophistry.
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