I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:18 am

iambiguous wrote:
For those who are not inclined to put in the spiritual effort it would be more effective for them to accept any of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam where upon mere declaration of belief in God, viola! one is saved. How this approach has its cons beside the immediate pros.


Let's get one thing straight though. Before you can attempt this, you must first be able to actually subsist from day to day to day. And that means, among other things, getting all the bills paid. And, for most of us, there is not a whole lot of "spirituality" involved in accomplishing this.

So there is still the part where the religious narrative has to be in sync with one of another political narrative.

After all, there are few things the ruling class and those who own and operate the global economy want to sustain more than folks who are eager to expend considerable chunks of their time in the pursuit of religious enlightenment.

Rather than, say, organizing politically to change things.

My post assumed all the basic needs are of no issue.

Buddhism-proper is not about chasing the typically understood "enlightenment."
Buddhism is about achieving optimality and progress with equanimity and interacting in all aspects of life.

Regardless of whether one is a politician, professional, businessperson, actor/actress, sportsperson, etc. one is a human being with an inherent unavoidable existential issues. Buddhism-proper address those existential issues specifically.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby promethean75 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:52 am

Buddhism-proper is not about chasing the typically understood "enlightenment."
Buddhism is about achieving optimality and progress with equanimity and interacting in all aspects of life.


yup, and that's code for: be a passive wuss and don't fight back. and because there are so many people involved in mundane, day-to-day struggles that create for them a sense of existential anomie, there's a thriving market for designer spiritualities like buddhism. it's an opium almost as strong as christianity. private biggs has noted this:

"there are few things the ruling class and those who own and operate the global economy want to sustain more than folks who are eager to expend considerable chunks of their time in the pursuit of religious enlightenment. Rather than, say, organizing politically to change things."

the irony is, organizing politically might very well eliminate the circumstances that have led these people to search for religious enlightenment... an activity which is, as marx once called it, 'the sigh of the oppressed creature.'

folks need to prioritize their respective struggles, man. you get the material struggle whooped before you go on your spiritual quest for enlightenment. if you don't, that spiritual quest will amount to nothing more than a temporary anesthetic.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:25 pm

promethean75 wrote:yup, and that's code for: be a passive wuss and don't fight back. and because there are so many people involved in mundane, day-to-day struggles that create for them a sense of existential anomie, there's a thriving market for designer spiritualities like buddhism. it's an opium almost as strong as christianity. private biggs has noted this:

"there are few things the ruling class and those who own and operate the global economy want to sustain more than folks who are eager to expend considerable chunks of their time in the pursuit of religious enlightenment. Rather than, say, organizing politically to change things."

the irony is, organizing politically might very well eliminate the circumstances that have led these people to search for religious enlightenment... an activity which is, as marx once called it, 'the sigh of the oppressed creature.'

folks need to prioritize their respective struggles, man. you get the material struggle whooped before you go on your spiritual quest for enlightenment. if you don't, that spiritual quest will amount to nothing more than a temporary anesthetic.
Wait a minute. You are accepting Iambiguous' criticism of Buddhism as anti-political, but his position is that one can never know what is good. That people on all sides of the debate - whatever the issue is at hand - are objectivists. He is saying we cannot know if we are free, we cannot know if our opinions are just based on dasien, we cannot find an I - which apart from being rather Buddhist is hardly encouraging people to change the world for the better.

And organizing things for the better is one of those things he thinks we cannot know how to do, since we cannot know what is better.

Buddhism actually encourages compassion - as I am sure Iambiguous would also, on a personal level, but his philosophy throws up its hands that even this is not something we can know is good.

Now I agree with him about the part that there are no objective morals. But the two of you cannot attack Buddhism, in the context of his philosophy, without rather ironic self-contradiction. He is even more nihilistic than Buddhism and even more anti-political, even more undermining engagement - Buddhists have in many cases been extremely politically active against oppression - and beyond this is philosophy anti- meaning, anti-drawing conclusions. His is an 'as far as I know there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning philosophy and I can't even tell if 'I' want to or 'I' exist' or how one could start to make the right choices or draw the right conclusions about this'. There will be no revolution or reform movement televised or otherwise coming from him and his philosophy. It would have to be based on arguments that would convince every rational person. That would be step one. How could any organizing for things to get better - whatever that would be - come from a philosophy that demands that one must first explain why we should do something such that every rational person would be compelled to agree. At least a Buddhist monk might have meditated, perhaps blessed a new patio and shown compassion to a songbird, without having had to convince everyone on earth these were rational things to do. And heck, they might even have protested against Chinese oppression in Tibet.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:47 pm

iambiguous wrote:Let's get one thing straight though. Before you can attempt this, you must first be able to actually subsist from day to day to day. And that means, among other things, getting all the bills paid. And, for most of us, there is not a whole lot of "spirituality" involved in accomplishing this.

So there is still the part where the religious narrative has to be in sync with one of another political narrative.

After all, there are few things the ruling class and those who own and operate the global economy want to sustain more than folks who are eager to expend considerable chunks of their time in the pursuit of religious enlightenment.

Rather than, say, organizing politically to change things.


Prismatic567 wrote: My post assumed all the basic needs are of no issue.


Okay, fair enough. But sooner or latter all religious movements of any consequence, get around to the part where, as one Major Dude advised, you "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

In fact, some religious movements are all about making Caesar as inconsequential as they can. But, historically, only to the extent that any particular Caesar permits this.

There's just no getting around subsistence though. One way or another that's got to be a top priority. Though, sure, in the First World where most of us reside, millions upon millions just take that for granted. Well, barring, say, the next Wall Street bubble. Or Great Recession.

Or trump's civil war.

Prismatic567 wrote: Buddhism-proper is not about chasing the typically understood "enlightenment."
Buddhism is about achieving optimality and progress with equanimity and interacting in all aspects of life.


From my own experience, however, that sort of explanation is what we often hear from any religious denomination. But: only insofar as words to that effect are encompassed in a general description of human interactions. However, when the focus shifts to actual contexts in which words like progress and justice and virtue and freedom are thought [optimally] to be very different things, God and religion often become very different things in turn.

In other words, always and ever the relationship between our day to day interactions here and now that, through a particular understanding of spirituality/enlightenment/God etc., segues into a yearning about the there and the then. Stretching into all of eternity.

Prismatic567 wrote: Regardless of whether one is a politician, professional, businessperson, actor/actress, sportsperson, etc. one is a human being with an inherent unavoidable existential issues. Buddhism-proper address those existential issues specifically.


Then let's be more specific. If there are any Buddhists here, let's explore the relationship [in your own lfe] between spiritual enlightenment as that impacts on your interacxtions with others in which moral narratives and political agendas come into conflict. Which of course reflects my own particular interest in all of this.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:16 pm

You are accepting Iambiguous' criticism of Buddhism as anti-political, but his position is that one can never know what is good.


I'm not arguing that Buddhists are necessarily anti-political, only that to the extent they choose to live their lives among the rest of us, their spiritual journeys are almost certainly going to come into contact with conflicting goods out in the political realm. Then they have to ask themselves their own rendition of, "what would -- what should -- a proper Buddhist do?"

Just as do those of all the other religious/spiritual communities. And all the secular equivalents for that matter.

And I certainly don't argue that one can never know what is good. I'm only suggesting instead that what any one particular individual thinks they know and/or believe about the "good life" in their head is construed by me to be largely an existential contraption rooted in dasein. And thus ever open to change given new experiences and access to new ideas.

That people on all sides of the debate - whatever the issue is at hand - are objectivists. He is saying we cannot know if we are free, we cannot know if our opinions are just based on dasien, we cannot find an I - which apart from being rather Buddhist is hardly encouraging people to change the world for the better.


They are objectivists [to me] only to the extent they argue that all rational and virtuous people are obligated to think as they do.

And my own dilemma here is that, on the one hand, I seem to be criticizing spiritual quests that neglect politics. While at the same time arguing that all political agendas are but existential contraptions rooted in a world that sans God is awash in conflicting goods.

But that is just my own fractured and fragmented "I" down in the hole that I'm in here. And without a clue as to how to yank myself up out of it. That's the irony. I have chosen to pursue philosophy. But, philosophically, I have now managed to think myself -- sink myself -- into an antinomy I am unable to think myself out of.

Buddhism is just one more wholistic narrative that doesn't work for me.

But: to the extent that "for all practical purposes" it does work for others that's all that need be the case. Sure, go to the grave with it if you can.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:31 pm

Of course a description of Buddhism can't get more general than this.

Suppose, however, a Buddhist who calls herself a left wing liberal befriends a Buddhist who calls himself a right wing conservative.

Wouldn't it be interesting to follow them about from day to day and listen in on their discussions of things like abortion or immigration or the role of government? How would the spiritual "I" and the political "I" communicate so as to sustain a harmonious relationship?

Especially in a context where the stakes were particularly high for one or both of them.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:41 pm

Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven't been active in this thread... I've sorta lost interest. But I did want to poke my head in and say: I don't really believe anyone who says they know what Buddhism is all about. The only one who really knows is Siddhartha Gautama himself and everyone after him was talking about what he experienced and the means by which he got there. What we have today are writings of this. All we can do with them is interpret them, and I don't invest a lot of credence into interpretations.

True, there may be authoritative institutions whose interpretations are considered canon by many followers, and this may count as what Buddhism is officially "about", but I'm interested only in the so-called "awakening" that Gautama experienced--what was it?--and what he did to get it.

I'm also curious about other so-called "awakenings" that others have claimed to have undergone, and I wonder how much of a right we (or they) have to say it was the same thing as what Gautama underwent. In fact, out of all the writings I could find describing the Buddha's original awakening, it only says he meditated under the bodhi tree for 49 days until he realized the 4 noble truth, or the true state of the world, which might only mean something as mundane as: he had an insight. <-- Was it really just a glorified "eurika" moment that got blown out of proportion by scholars and story tellers in the years after?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:44 pm

For your blog? I’m out. =;

Previous posts deleted! Go disrespect some other Nation, by demeaning their intrinsic nature of a spiritual concept, and go find your own.. if you care about the matter that much.

I doubt that you do!
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I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get that time back, and I may need it for something at some point in time. Wait! What?

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:33 pm

This thread brings me back to a really excellent book review in Philosophy Now magazine....

The Monk and the Philosopher by Jean-François Revel & Matthieu Ricard
Lachlan Dale explores some of the philosophical implications of Tibetan Buddhism.

In recent decades Buddhism has enjoyed considerable growth in Western countries, in part due to a growing body of research confirming the effectiveness of mindfulness and meditation. These techniques have been demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety, improve memory, and enhance cognitive flexibility. Psychologists also report an increased capacity for empathy and compassion, while neuroscientists note the increased density of grey matter in the hippocampus of long-term meditators.


There's no getting around this for any particular individuals. If their pursuit of Buddhism allows them to attain and then to sustain benefits of this sort, then, well, this in and of itself makes it all worthwhile.

As a result, these techniques are often transplanted into a secular context. This troubles purists like Ricard, who believe the practises must remain rooted in a Buddhist program of spiritual development. When combined with visualisation, repetition of mantras, and the study of sacred texts, these techniques are said to allow an individual to directly grasp the fundamental nature of reality, including the unity of all phenomena, the transitory nature of existence, and the illusion of the self.


This is the part that intrigues me. Why? Because to the extent Buddhism does allow someone to "grasp the fundamental nature of reality" is the extent which my own interests in reality -- identity, value judgments, political economy, free will, ontology, teleology -- are argued to be within the grasp of a mere mortal.

In particular, the "self". From my perspective, I am composed of objective, factual truths that seem to be anything but illusions. But intertwined in that is the part where "I" embody subjective/subjunctive reactions to the world around me that generate value judgments that are seen by me to be, if not entirely illusory, certainly anything but objective.

The ultimate goal of Tibetan Buddhism is not merely to reduce anxiety, but to reach nirvana. Ricard denies that this is an alternate metaphysical realm, instead understanding it as a state ‘beyond suffering’ in which one can directly contemplate absolute truth and “experience an unchangeable state of bliss and perceive the infinite purity of all phenomena”


All I can come back to here is this: What on Earth does that mean? What might it be like to be inside the head of someone who has accomplished this? How would he or she react to the components of my own philosophy? What might an exchange consist of in regard to the distinction I make between the either/or world and the is/ought world.

Not up in the clouds of abstraction but embedded down in actual human contexts in which the Buddhist makes particular choices given his or her understanding of human reality.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:52 pm

I totally agree with Gib in his holding to the aspect of organized belief, that subscribes to levels of attaining realization of desired states of conaciousness, as preferential.

And at the same time I am in tune with iambig's assertion of trying to describe some objective Nirvana type experience on the basis is personal experience, must have absolute validity.

Buddhists are very protective and careful with partially realized assumptions , without reference to absolute states. The reasons are fairly credible , the first is that such an exception may undercut their authority and procedural forms of education. The the second has merit:

It has reference to a conversation between a novice monk with a Master The young monk related the conviction that he has been enlightened, whereupon the Master declares that whoever says he is enlightened is not.
Further conversation between them is terminated by the Master.

Between a description based on succeeding levels of knowledge, say reading all that has been written on the Vedanta , (which I do not believe could be achieved by any individual in any one life time) , or, being instantly enlightened , there may at some point offer very little difference .

Neither do I believe that a symbolic passing of the guard between masters
could be the only way such mastery can exclusively gain such description.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:48 am

gib wrote:All we can do with them is interpret them, and I don't invest a lot of credence into interpretations.


Then the following should not be happening....

In a nutshell, I'm sick and tired of Buddhism continually knocking at my door saying "I am the way." I keep wanting to tell it: "No, you're just another religion; why can't you be just another religion?" But it's persuasive in a way that no other religion or science is.
We can fill in that it is persuasive TO YOU. You can say no one knows, but for some reason you feel persuaded. So, the answer to why would be in you.


True, there may be authoritative institutions whose interpretations are considered canon by many followers, and this may count as what Buddhism is officially "about", but I'm interested only in the so-called "awakening" that Gautama experienced--what was it?--and what he did to get it.

I'm also curious about other so-called "awakenings" that others have claimed to have undergone, and I wonder how much of a right we (or they) have to say it was the same thing as what Gautama underwent. In fact, out of all the writings I could find describing the Buddha's original awakening, it only says he meditated under the bodhi tree for 49 days until he realized the 4 noble truth, or the true state of the world, which might only mean something as mundane as: he had an insight. <-- Was it really just a glorified "eurika" moment that got blown out of proportion by scholars and story tellers in the years after?
You state the question, but have already stated others do not know. You seem to not know. That really leaves a couple of options. Try the practices and see if this draws you in more.

Or don't.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Exuberant Teleportation » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:21 am

I love how Buddha centers Himself with the oneness of all things, to see the interconnections of the rainbow, to try to build the bridge to the higher through faith, and to shine the light of hope through noble deeds and transcendent karma. To see things from a higher plane, to will the Soul to avoid material gains, to be holistic and evolved to a more legendary state, and to awaken the mind to all conscious perspectives of the multidimensional relativistic reality truly sharpens the Soul for mastery and dominance over any torrent or tempest.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:29 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
gib wrote:All we can do with them is interpret them, and I don't invest a lot of credence into interpretations.


Then the following should not be happening....

In a nutshell, I'm sick and tired of Buddhism continually knocking at my door saying "I am the way." I keep wanting to tell it: "No, you're just another religion; why can't you be just another religion?" But it's persuasive in a way that no other religion or science is.
We can fill in that it is persuasive TO YOU. You can say no one knows, but for some reason you feel persuaded. So, the answer to why would be in you.


The persuasiveness of Buddhism comes from seeing the effects it has on people--particularly Buddhist monks and other practitioners such as Doshin Roshi--not from how its doctrines are interpreted. And if I'm going to be perfectly truthful, any credence I give to one or another interpretation of Buddhism, I give it equally to any other interpretation of any other religious doctrine, and this is simply a default reaction of my brain, which I don't think is unique to me (we tend to believe what we read/hear as an initial knee jerk reaction before it's filtered by our more critical thinking).


Karpel Tunnel wrote:You state the question, but have already stated others do not know. You seem to not know. That really leaves a couple of options. Try the practices and see if this draws you in more.

Or don't.


I'm know. I'm being a winy little fence sitter.

I've tried the practice before, multiple times. I never could get into it. It brought me some degree of peace and relaxation but also itching boredom. I could never see how anything like what they describe enlightenment to be like could come out of it. I was never devoted to the practice, as devoted as it seems one has to be to reach a point where some kind of spiritual awakening might occur, and that's due to my own laziness.

So "don't" seems to be the option for me--the option I've already chosen.

So the question now is: do I just shut up and quit wining, or do I continue to with this thread under the pretense that it still makes for some interesting philosophy (I was hoping to bring up some of the more philosophical questions--for example, how can the self not exist?).
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We're in a situation now where students can go to university and come out dumber than when they went in. They are infantalized by safe space and trigger warning culture, the idea that interogating a new idea, coming into contact with a school of thought or a person that doesn't conform to your prejudices is somehow problematic, that it gives rise to trauma.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:30 am

Exuberant Teleportation wrote:I love how Buddha centers Himself with the oneness of all things, to see the interconnections of the rainbow, to try to build the bridge to the higher through faith, and to shine the light of hope through noble deeds and transcendent karma. To see things from a higher plane, to will the Soul to avoid material gains, to be holistic and evolved to a more legendary state, and to awaken the mind to all conscious perspectives of the multidimensional relativistic reality truly sharpens the Soul for mastery and dominance over any torrent or tempest.


Great! Now what the frick does that mean?!
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I don't care about income inequality, I care about the idea that there are people who have actual obstacles to success.
-Ben Shapiro

...we hear about the wage gap, the idea that women are paid significantly less than men--seventy two cents on the dollar--that's absolute shear nonesense--it is absolute nonesense--in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in America, women make 8% more money than men do in their peer group. That wage gap is growing, not shrinking.
-Ben Shapiro

We're in a situation now where students can go to university and come out dumber than when they went in. They are infantalized by safe space and trigger warning culture, the idea that interogating a new idea, coming into contact with a school of thought or a person that doesn't conform to your prejudices is somehow problematic, that it gives rise to trauma.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:53 am

gib wrote:The persuasiveness of Buddhism comes from seeing the effects it has on people--particularly Buddhist monks and other practitioners such as Doshin Roshi--not from how its doctrines are interpreted. And if I'm going to be perfectly truthful, any credence I give to one or another interpretation of Buddhism, I give it equally to any other interpretation of any other religious doctrine, and this is simply a default reaction of my brain, which I don't think is unique to me (we tend to believe what we read/hear as an initial knee jerk reaction before it's filtered by our more critical thinking).
The main thing I am pressing is that experience is the teacher of most important things. That gives you no answer, now, and unfortunately that's where we are. This is true for many rather mundane things also. Maybe therapy won't help. Maybe golf lessons won't. Maybe approaching that lovely woman is going to end up breaking my heart or boring me to tears.

Unfortunately and maybe also fortunately, we gotta make our best guesses and see what experience and longer team learning bring us. One can always, take a pause, reevaluate and either drop out or continue.

I'm know. I'm being a winy little fence sitter.

I've tried the practice before, multiple times. I never could get into it. It brought me some degree of peace and relaxation but also itching boredom. I could never see how anything like what they describe enlightenment to be like could come out of it. I was never devoted to the practice, as devoted as it seems one has to be to reach a point where some kind of spiritual awakening might occur, and that's due to my own laziness.
It's easier in the presence of others.

So "don't" seems to be the option for me--the option I've already chosen.

So the question now is: do I just shut up and quit wining, or do I continue to with this thread under the pretense that it still makes for some interesting philosophy (I was hoping to bring up some of the more philosophical questions--for example, how can the self not exist?).
That's certainly a philosophical discussion. But what it means in Buddhism is, again, something experienced, a long way down the line. I'm not judging you here particularly. I hate that we can't have some simple scoring system. Like we do something right (for us or in general) and we see plus points on a board. We do something no good for us and the points drop. And we get estimates of results, like projections in business when we, say, start meditating for fifteen minutes. Man, I would love that. Then, we'd know. We'd know. I wish.

But here we are in a universe where there are competing experts with competing stories and practices and, well, we are left to our intuition for many decisions and, heck, some good processes can make us feel worse for a while. Think about relationships. Telling one's spouse or ________friend that we are pissed off about something may very well make things worse for a while. It might be more painful and this might last for a while. But not doing this ends up in relationships that such in a gray way or have explosions and more pain. think of this as the equivalent of meditation or therapy. A good process might make things feel worse for a while, maybe a long while. So, how the heck do we decide.

I think we have to decide by intuition, desire and to some degree our values, in those situations where it may take a long term committment with no guarantees.

So what does your gut feeling tell you about Buddhism?

And you could make a decision based on that and check back in 6 months later.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:59 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:So what does your gut feeling tell you about Buddhism?


My gut tells me that years of practicing meditation probably has a consciousness altering effect on the brain that can be described as a feeling of "one-ness with the universe", "dissolution of self", or "awakening"... but the same can be said of psychedelic drugs, and people call that "hallucinations" or "delusions"... still, sounds like a pretty nice delusion to have.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:51 am

gib wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:So what does your gut feeling tell you about Buddhism?


My gut tells me that years of practicing meditation probably has a consciousness altering effect on the brain that can be described as a feeling of "one-ness with the universe", "dissolution of self", or "awakening"... but the same can be said of psychedelic drugs, and people call that "hallucinations" or "delusions"... still, sounds like a pretty nice delusion to have.

A person can experience a sense of "one-ness with the universe" as an altered state of consciousness through many ways via drugs, meditations, stress, mentally ill [schizo, epileptic, etc.] and even brain damage [note Jill Bolte - a neuroscientist].

What is critical to the above experience is how one can apply to optimize one's well being. The 4NT-8FP life problem-solving technique provide one the path to such an optimization.

Buddhism has the principle of the Middle-Path to ensure one do not get stuck in one extreme, thus via the Two-Truths principles holds there is oneness with the universe [non-duality] in one perspective while in another perspective one is independent within the universe [duality].

There is this neo-advaita movement [of madness];
    Neo-Advaita, also called the Satsang-movement[1] and Nondualism, is a New Religious Movement, emphasizing the direct recognition of the non-existence of the "I" or "ego," without the need of preparatory practice. - Wiki
who keep preaching and telling the world there is no-you, no-me, no-self and all sort of one-sided extreme thus the call to abandon what we would term as the ordinary real world.

In normal everyday life, a Buddhist will acknowledge the independent external world. However where the impulses of the existential crisis is active, the Buddhist adopt the oneness with the universe, i.e. there is no independent God to offer salvation to the independent individual.
Since in this perspective of oneness, there is no independent soul to be lost and need to be saved, thus avoiding the sufferings from any "imagined" threat of loss upon mortality.

To be in state of holding to two extremes at the same time but not in the same perspective require one to cultivate the necessary skills supported by the effective algorithm within one's brain/mind via proper meditations [a requisite of Buddhism] and reflections.

In general most of those who experienced an altered states of consciousness of one-ness via other means [drugs, etc.] do not convert their experiences to the practicals of life.

In the case of Buddhism, the ordinary believer do not start with an expectation of an experience of one-ness but rather such an experience of oneness spontaneously emerged after some time in the course of practicing Buddhism and reflections on its doctrine.

The problem with the above is at present there are so many schools and sects of Buddhism promoting a range of confusing and opposing interpretations of Buddhism-proper.
Thus there is a need to get to what is Buddhism-proper which can be extracted from the teachings of the Buddha in alignment with universal philosophy-proper.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:20 am

gib wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:So what does your gut feeling tell you about Buddhism?


My gut tells me that years of practicing meditation probably has a consciousness altering effect on the brain that can be described as a feeling of "one-ness with the universe", "dissolution of self", or "awakening"... but the same can be said of psychedelic drugs, and people call that "hallucinations" or "delusions"... still, sounds like a pretty nice delusion to have.

So, following this gut reaction, that you have right now, what do you want to do? (for now)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:58 pm

My gut tells me that years of practicing meditation probably has a consciousness altering effect on the brain that can be described as a feeling of "one-ness with the universe", "dissolution of self", or "awakening"... but the same can be said of psychedelic drugs, and people call that "hallucinations" or "delusions"... still, sounds like a pretty nice delusion to have.

A Buddhist would say that people have "hallucinations" and "delusions" and that meditation(,etc) helps a person to recognize and remove them. An awakened person sees the world clearly, as it actually is.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:18 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:So, following this gut reaction, that you have right now, what do you want to do? (for now)


Nothing! I want to keep going as I've always been going, pursuing my life goals, trying to get my shit together, keep striving up the ladder of my career, none of which requires intensive meditation practices or following the advice of Buddhist gurus. So I'll just keep doing that.

phyllo wrote:A Buddhist would say that people have "hallucinations" and "delusions" and that meditation(,etc) helps a person to recognize and remove them. An awakened person sees the world clearly, as it actually is.


Of course they would say that. Everybody thinks they see the truth. A hippie would say drugs open his eyes and awakened him to the truth about the way the world really is (incidentally, it often seems to align quite well with Eastern/Buddhist thought).
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We're in a situation now where students can go to university and come out dumber than when they went in. They are infantalized by safe space and trigger warning culture, the idea that interogating a new idea, coming into contact with a school of thought or a person that doesn't conform to your prejudices is somehow problematic, that it gives rise to trauma.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:48 pm

A hippie would say drugs open his eyes and awakened him to the truth about the way the world really is (incidentally, it often seems to align quite well with Eastern/Buddhist thought).
If you can only see the world as it really is when you are high on drugs, then that's a serious limitation to that method. An awakened Buddhist can do it at any time.
Of course they would say that. Everybody thinks they see the truth.
That's why you try it and see if it's something that works for you and that you want to pursue.

You already answered here:
Nothing! I want to keep going as I've always been going, pursuing my life goals, trying to get my shit together, keep striving up the ladder of my career, none of which requires intensive meditation practices or following the advice of Buddhist gurus. So I'll just keep doing that.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:41 pm

gib wrote:Nothing! I want to keep going as I've always been going, pursuing my life goals, trying to get my shit together, keep striving up the ladder of my career, none of which requires intensive meditation practices or following the advice of Buddhist gurus. So I'll just keep doing that.
Well, there's that answered.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:58 pm

gib wrote:Of course they would say that. Everybody thinks they see the truth.
Sure, in most cases, but that doesn't mean some aren't right or more right than others.

A hippie would say drugs open his eyes and awakened him to the truth about the way the world really is (incidentally, it often seems to align quite well with Eastern/Buddhist thought).
Can he manage it without the drugs? Are the drugs damaging his nervous system and slowly dulling him? Is using drugs a way of forcing the mind to experience something, especially if one is doing them regularly? What if Buddhist thought is off and the hippy is just taking a somewhat damaging short cut to an off way of being?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:20 am

phyllo wrote:If you can only see the world as it really is when you are high on drugs, then that's a serious limitation to that method. An awakened Buddhist can do it at any time.


Can he? Or can he just remember what he experienced in his deepest meditative states and brought the insights back to his everyday state of consciousness? After all, the same could be said about a drug user. When I used to do drugs, I used to have deep spiritual experiences of all kinds, and I would be able to bring the memories/insights back with me after I sobered up, giving me a new perspective with which to see the world from that point forward regardless of my state of consciousness.

I wouldn't presume to know whether Buddhists can or can't experience the world in that awakened state all the time, even if one tells me he can. This is the crux of this thread. I don't know what they mean when they say things like that.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Can he manage it without the drugs? Are the drugs damaging his nervous system and slowly dulling him? Is using drugs a way of forcing the mind to experience something, especially if one is doing them regularly? What if Buddhist thought is off and the hippy is just taking a somewhat damaging short cut to an off way of being?


That's not the point. The druggie probably is doing some damage to, if not his brain then his life in some way, a way that Buddhist practitioners probably don't. I'll be the first to agree that the Buddhist path is most likely far more healthy and positive than the drug user's life. But my point is... does the Buddhist experience something real or is it just an epiphenomenon of a rare and unusually neurochemical state that he has a method for putting his brains into. He's going to say it's real for the same reason the druggie says it's real--because it seems real (all mental states do)--not to mention it's embedded in their millennia long doctrine, the beginnings of which emerged long before we knew anything about neurology and its effects on altered states of consciousness.

Again, not saying this makes it a bad thing--if such a state, regardless of the reality of the things experienced therein, appears to bring about feelings of well-being, peace, compassion, etc., then maybe we should all strive to be in that state--maybe it's a healthier state than even the drug-free well-adjusted common person. But the devil's advocate in me always wants to demythologize religious and spiritual interpretations of experiences and folklore events, so I do.

(I actually get kinda annoyed at those who just "go with the flow" of something based only on how deep and spiritual and inspirational it sounds; I like to be critical and analytical.)
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We're in a situation now where students can go to university and come out dumber than when they went in. They are infantalized by safe space and trigger warning culture, the idea that interogating a new idea, coming into contact with a school of thought or a person that doesn't conform to your prejudices is somehow problematic, that it gives rise to trauma.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:31 am

gib wrote:(I actually get kinda annoyed at those who just "go with the flow" of something based only on how deep and spiritual and inspirational it sounds; I like to be critical and analytical.)
One habit I've noticed, and it's a tricky one to break or figure out when to use because it is useful, is the habit of assuming that if X is right about B, C, and D, it is right about R. That said, the problem is, essentially we are all religious. We all have daily practices - reading the newspaper, fantasizing, surfing the net, whatever - we all have an ontology (and most modern people have a muddle of several ontologies - and heuristics about what will help us, and we dedicate our time and energy to theses things. As much time as any dedicated monk. We are all true believers, even the skeptics, who spend their time doing that without any proof it leads to a better life by any criteria. Practices, ontology, heuristics. And dedication, even if to laziness and skepticism. Committment to an approach to life. So, we've all made a choice, and that choice is perhaps the one to notice, cause that's our religion, like it or not. Then when we aim skepticism at other approaches, it is in the context of our own radical choice, the ones we have already made and live by. There is no neat way to not be fooled, we may have already fooled ourselves.

There are no sidelines in life. We are all in, utterly committed to an approach to life. We may change that approach, but we've all got one. Even Iambiguous is as utterly committed as any objectivist to a lifestyle that he has no evidence is better than any other. In fact it might be a terrible choice for all he knows - which he admits, though not with the certainty he admits he is unconvinced by others. We can demand proof from others, but we are already dedicated believers and practitioners of 'religion' X.

And that religion has specific brain states and experiences.

So, even though some people make a real mess out of being strongly informed by desire and intuition....
that does not mean we have an option that is purely rational - whatever that would mean for an embodied mammal -
and he're we are
already dedicated to practices, an ontology, and heuristics.

Notice your own religion because you are already priest and practioner in that religion.

And on what grounds?

I suppose what I am saying could also be:
we are immanent but we think we are transcendent. I see hints of this in Iambiguous and other skeptics, and then in people in general who think they are not committed believers. We cannot via skepticism, nihilism, not choosing a religion or other objectivism
avoid full and utterly fanatic committment to attitudes and heuristics we can't know are good ones.

And we are all doing that right now, today.
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