I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:41 pm

Meditating with Descartes
Karen Parham asks how close Western philosophy gets to Buddhism.

Why did René Descartes (1596-1650) name his famous treatise Meditations on First Philosophy? Broadly speaking, ‘to meditate’ means ‘to think deeply about something’ (OED). Although Descartes probably meant the word in this general sense, I would like to look at whether his method, and Western philosophy in general, has some correlation with meditation in the Eastern sense of the word. To do this I will consider the meditation techniques of Zen and of traditional Theravada Buddhism.


From my frame of mind, whether this meditation relates to either Western or Eastern philosophy, what becomes crucial is not what you meditate about, but the extent to which the conclusions you come to as a result of your meditations are able to actually be demonstrated to others as the conclusion one is obligated to reach as a rational human being.

All the rest, in my view, are just existential leaps of faith to conclusions [rooted in dasein] that comfort and console you psychologically.

I then aim this particular conclusion that I have come to myself in the general direction of conflicting value judgments on this side of the grave and to assessments of an afterlife for "I" on the other side of the grave.

So, sure, practice any "techniques" you wish -- Western or Eastern -- but why should others believe that the conclusions you have come to through meditation are ones that they should seriously consider in turn?

First let us consider whether Western philosophy aims for peace of mind.
The purpose of Western philosophizing is to find solutions to profound questions, such as the meaning of life or the nature of mind, and every philosophical theory is an attempt at solving a philosophical problem. To develop such a theory might momentarily provide peace of mind.


And you know my reaction to this in turn. To the extent that one's "theory" is encompassed in a "general description" "world of words" "intellectual contraption" is the extent to which this "peace of mind" need be accepted only "in your head".

In other words, all you need to do is to "think" and to "feel" that what you believe is true.

Does that basically describe you?

Come on, now, be honest.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:05 pm

And you know my reaction to this in turn. To the extent that one's "theory" is encompassed in a "general description" "world of words" "intellectual contraption" is the extent to which this "peace of mind" need be accepted only "in your head".

In other words, all you need to do is to "think" and to "feel" that what you believe is true.

Does that basically describe you?

Come on, now, be honest.
Why believe anything that Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus says? (Or pick any other philosopher.)

You apply it to your life and see if it works.

It works if you get something out of it.

If you are looking for "peace of mind" and you get it from a philosophy then the philosophy works. (At least, it works for you. It may work for others.)
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:00 am

phyllo wrote:
And you know my reaction to this in turn. To the extent that one's "theory" is encompassed in a "general description" "world of words" "intellectual contraption" is the extent to which this "peace of mind" need be accepted only "in your head".

In other words, all you need to do is to "think" and to "feel" that what you believe is true.

Does that basically describe you?

Come on, now, be honest.
Why believe anything that Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus says? (Or pick any other philosopher.)

You apply it to your life and see if it works.

It works if you get something out of it.

If you are looking for "peace of mind" and you get it from a philosophy then the philosophy works. (At least, it works for you. It may work for others.)


Yes, that's how it works. And, as noted above by myself and others, with Buddhism there is no historical equivalent of crusades or inquisitions or jihahs. And, in terms of self-discipline and other benefits, it does work. For some, remarkably.

No argument there from me.

But my own interest in religion revolves around moral values here and now as that relates to actual evidence of the afterlife there and then. And here [for me] Buddhism is just one more rendition of objectivism. To the extent that Enlightenment comes to revolve around thou shalt do this [and become one of us] and thou shalt not do that [or become one of them], is the extent to which I tend to become increasingly wary.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:09 pm

And, as noted above by myself and others, with Buddhism there is no historical equivalent of crusades or inquisitions or jihahs.
Sure there are. Myanmar comes quickly to mind.

Buddhists have fought each other and non-Buddhists.

Buddhists supported Japanese expansion. There would be no Bushido without Buddhism.
And, in terms of self-discipline and other benefits, it does work. For some, remarkably.
One can use self-discipline in many ways ... in combat, in tending your garden ...
But my own interest in religion revolves around moral values here and now as that relates to actual evidence of the afterlife there and then. And here [for me] Buddhism is just one more rendition of objectivism. To the extent that Enlightenment comes to revolve around thou shalt do this [and become one of us] and thou shalt not do that [or become one of them], is the extent to which I tend to become increasingly wary.

One is going to use what learns from Buddhism to live one's life and that will produce conflict with other people ... whether they are other Buddhists or not.

That's not limited to any particular religions/philosophies. It's just life.

I don't see how that can be avoided. It's not going to go away.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:14 pm

phyllo wrote:
And, as noted above by myself and others, with Buddhism there is no historical equivalent of crusades or inquisitions or jihahs.
Sure there are. Myanmar comes quickly to mind.

Buddhists have fought each other and non-Buddhists.

Buddhists supported Japanese expansion. There would be no Bushido without Buddhism.


How, in Myanmar, does this...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_ ... Revolution
...fit into that assumption.

And how might Gautama Buddha himself have reacted to the "samurai way of life"?

Admittedly, I know very little about the historical evolution of Buddhism. I just recall a number of conversations I have with Buddhists who always seemed to emphasize how Buddhism was different from other religious denominations in regard to bringing others into the fold.

From wiki:

Buddhism does not have an accepted or strong proselytism tradition with the Buddha having taught his followers to respect other religions and the clergy. ... Aggressive proselytizing is discouraged in the major Buddhist schools and Buddhists do not engage in the practice of proselytisation.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:41 pm

Buddhism is a faith that elicits images of peaceful meditation, but increasingly images of violence and persecution are associated with some Buddhists. In places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, violent fire bombings, mob scenes and forced migrations are now synonymous with Buddhist nationalist sentiment and the problem is getting worse.

“It’s an extremely serious issue in Myanmar. I think it’s one of the toughest challenges that Myanmar is facing,” said Jared Ferrie, a former Reuters journalist in Myanmar now working with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

It’s the same story in Sri Lanka, where violent mobs have driven Muslims from their homes and carried out beatings of non-Buddhist minorities.

“While there’s always been a kind of undercurrent of this movement of Buddhist extremism in Sri Lanka, it’s gotten much worse,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, a professor and researcher at Queen’s university and expert on religious extremism.

How can Buddhism be used to justify violence?

Buddhist nationalist sentiment in these countries isn’t new, in fact, the roots can be traced back to the British Colonial era. In the decades since the Brits left their colonial strongholds, that resentment and hatred has festered. Now some monks are interpreting teachings to fit their narratives against non-Buddhist minorities, primarily Muslims, whom they see as threatening Buddhist ways of life.

But, how can they interpret teachings, which are largely seen as peaceful in this way? Peter Lehr, a professor at St. Andrews University in the U.K. and an expert on Buddhist extremism, explains that within Theravada Buddhism, the majority Buddhist belief in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, these nationalist groups have been able to extract justifications.
“Buddhism is under siege [and] we need to defend ourselves. Second, is defensive warfare or defensive violence [which] is acceptable in Buddhism, and third it’s not bad to fight against those people because they’re not really human,” Lehr said.

Armed with the righteous conviction that they are protecting their way of life and religious beliefs, monks like Ashin Wirathu in Myanmar and Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara in Sri Lanka, have taken their brand of hatred to the people.

Ashin Wirathu has been the face of Ma Ba Tha, rebranded last year as The Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, together with the anti-Islam movement, 969 Movement in Myanmar. His speeches and invocations of violence have been responsible for some of the attacks on Rohingya in the country.

https://globalnews.ca/news/5980771/extreme-buddhism/
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phoneutria » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:28 pm

In south vietnam during the war, also, I think the Buddhists got pretty... not peaceful.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:57 pm

You see, nothing special about Buddhism.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:09 pm

gib wrote:You see, nothing special about Buddhism.
If your criterion is 'no Buddhist has participated in violence,' no. I mean, if the followers of Jesus can bomb cities and rape, pretty much anything can be interpreted to suit any means.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:22 pm

phyllo wrote:
Buddhism is a faith that elicits images of peaceful meditation, but increasingly images of violence and persecution are associated with some Buddhists. In places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, violent fire bombings, mob scenes and forced migrations are now synonymous with Buddhist nationalist sentiment and the problem is getting worse.

“It’s an extremely serious issue in Myanmar. I think it’s one of the toughest challenges that Myanmar is facing,” said Jared Ferrie, a former Reuters journalist in Myanmar now working with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

It’s the same story in Sri Lanka, where violent mobs have driven Muslims from their homes and carried out beatings of non-Buddhist minorities.

“While there’s always been a kind of undercurrent of this movement of Buddhist extremism in Sri Lanka, it’s gotten much worse,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, a professor and researcher at Queen’s university and expert on religious extremism.

How can Buddhism be used to justify violence?

Buddhist nationalist sentiment in these countries isn’t new, in fact, the roots can be traced back to the British Colonial era. In the decades since the Brits left their colonial strongholds, that resentment and hatred has festered. Now some monks are interpreting teachings to fit their narratives against non-Buddhist minorities, primarily Muslims, whom they see as threatening Buddhist ways of life.

But, how can they interpret teachings, which are largely seen as peaceful in this way? Peter Lehr, a professor at St. Andrews University in the U.K. and an expert on Buddhist extremism, explains that within Theravada Buddhism, the majority Buddhist belief in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, these nationalist groups have been able to extract justifications.
“Buddhism is under siege [and] we need to defend ourselves. Second, is defensive warfare or defensive violence [which] is acceptable in Buddhism, and third it’s not bad to fight against those people because they’re not really human,” Lehr said.

Armed with the righteous conviction that they are protecting their way of life and religious beliefs, monks like Ashin Wirathu in Myanmar and Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara in Sri Lanka, have taken their brand of hatred to the people.

Ashin Wirathu has been the face of Ma Ba Tha, rebranded last year as The Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, together with the anti-Islam movement, 969 Movement in Myanmar. His speeches and invocations of violence have been responsible for some of the attacks on Rohingya in the country.

https://globalnews.ca/news/5980771/extreme-buddhism/


I'll be the first to admit I'm no authority on the extent to which, historicially, particular Buddhists either were or were not in sync with this observation from wiki:

Buddhism does not have an accepted or strong proselytism tradition with the Buddha having taught his followers to respect other religions and the clergy ...Aggressive proselytizing is discouraged in the major Buddhist schools and Buddhists do not engage in the practice of proselytisation.


In comparison to, say, the major Western denominations.

But to the extent that particular Buddhists today do practice their own rendition of the crusades, the inquisition or jihad, they would seem to be at odds with the founder of the religion itself!

Also, I have always noted that if someone does embody one or another rendition of this...

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

...there is always the possibility that they will treat those who don't/won't share their own value judgments as "one of them".

Just look at how any number of objectivists here [over the years] have reacted to those who refused to embrace their own TOE. The huffing and puffing, the name-calling, the personal attacks, the bile.

On the other hand, with so much at stake -- morality on this side of the grave, immortality on the other side -- maybe one is obligated to save as many souls as they can. Or to do battle with those who attempt to curtail [even extinguish] their own path to salvation.

In other words, crusades, inquisitions and jihads, given a particular historical context, are not necessarily irrational things.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:57 pm

Also, I have always noted that if someone does embody of one or another rendition of this...

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

...there is always the possibility that they will treat those who don't/won't share their own value judgments as "one of them".
The way I read you, an objectivist is anyone who doesn't fold like a wet noodle when confronted with a conflicting view. He/she should immediately seek a compromise. Right?
Just look at how any number of objectivists here [over the years] have reacted to those who refused to embrace their own TOE. The huffing and puffing, the name-calling, the personal attacks, the bile.
There are those who use aggression to steamroll and intimidate their opponents. That could be because it's a tactic that works for them or it's all they know or it's easier that researching and presenting arguments - effectiveness, ignorance or laziness.
In other words, crusades, inquisitions and jihads, given a particular historical context, are not necessarily irrational things.
A lot of things are not irrational when considered in a narrow sense (individual or small group) but are undesirable in a larger sense. You could says it's both rational and irrational.

Stealing is not irrational but a society which accepts it as a norm will be dysfunctional.

Killing your partner for the insurance money is not irrational but it can't be accepted as the norm for society.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:31 pm

phyllo wrote:
Also, I have always noted that if someone does embody of one or another rendition of this...

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

...there is always the possibility that they will treat those who don't/won't share their own value judgments as "one of them".
The way I read you, an objectivist is anyone who doesn't fold like a wet noodle when confronted with a conflicting view. He/she should immediately seek a compromise. Right?


No, my own objectivist is someone who argues that his or her own moral and political values reflect the optimal or the only rational manner in which others are obligated to think or feel about any context involving conflicting goods.

As for compromising, it revolves around the assumption that with respect to conflicting goods, the alternative is either might makes right or right makes might. And, to the extent that any particular Buddhist is able to convince himself his own right ought to be embodied in might, there is always the possibility that those who don't share his values are in for some trouble.

In other words, crusades, inquisitions and jihads, given a particular historical context, are not necessarily irrational things.


phyllo wrote: A lot of things are not irrational when considered in a narrow sense (individual or small group) but are undesirable in a larger sense. You could says it's both rational and irrational.

Stealing is not irrational but a society which accepts it as a norm will be dysfunctional.

Killing your partner for the insurance money is not irrational but it can't be accepted as the norm for society.


I agree. My point though is that the lines are drawn differently here depending on the historical, cultural and experiential context that one finds himself "thrown into" at birth. And, then, over the course of living his life, he accumulates a particular set of experiences that predispose him to go in one rather than another direction. And that philosophers have yet to take all of that into consideration and then come up with the optimal or the only rational way in which to make these distinctions.

And, as a consequence, some see moderation, negotiation and compromise [democracy and the rule of law] as a better alternative to might makes right and right makes might.

And then all the stuff that Marx and Engels suggested.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:07 pm

No, my own objectivist is someone who argues that his or her own moral and political values reflect the optimal or the only rational manner in which others are obligated to think or feel about any context involving conflicting goods.
Most of the time you are claiming that's what they are arguing even when they are saying no such thing.
As for compromising, it revolves around the assumption that with respect to conflicting goods, the alternative is either might makes right or right makes might. And, to the extent that any particular Buddhist is able to convince himself his own right ought to be embodied in might, there is always the possibility that those who don't share his values are in for some trouble.
Eventually one has to get off the comfy couch and something has to be implemented. Some people are not going to like what is done or the way that it is done. Compromise or non-compromise ... same beef.
I agree. My point though is that the lines are drawn differently here depending on the historical, cultural and experiential context that one finds himself "thrown into" at birth.
Contrary to your dasein theories, societies find similar solutions that work and don't work.
And that philosophers have yet to take all of that into consideration and then come up with the optimal or the only rational way in which to make these distinctions.
So philosophers have to be objectivists? :lol:
And, as a consequence, some see moderation, negotiation and compromise [democracy and the rule of law] as a better alternative to might makes right and right makes might.
How does moderation, negotiation and compromise work in the two examples I gave ... stealing and killing?
And then all the stuff that Marx and Engels suggested.
The stuff that they wrote in books and articles which doesn't work when people try to implement it. All that stuff?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:29 am

phyllo wrote:
As for compromising, it revolves around the assumption that with respect to conflicting goods, the alternative is either might makes right or right makes might. And, to the extent that any particular Buddhist is able to convince himself his own right ought to be embodied in might, there is always the possibility that those who don't share his values are in for some trouble.
Eventually one has to get off the comfy couch and something has to be implemented. Some people are not going to like what is done or the way that it is done. Compromise or non-compromise ... same beef.


And also there is an implicit objectivism here and one with practical consequences. Hitler or Stalin says they think country X should be a part of Germany or Russia. Someone else can say 'no, that is wrong'. Now Iamb is quite correct that this 'someone else' is objectivist. They are making a claim (as are Hitler and Stalin) that something is objectively the case morally. However, so is Iamb. He is saying that that person is being bad for being an objectivist. For not compromising. For thinking his view is better than Hitler's and Stalin's views. That person should compromise. That's a moral position. Now Iamb will say he sees this as practical, not objectively good, but he is confused about what he is doing.

First he blames objectivists for causing the problems in the world. Then he tells them that they should compromise.

That functions exactly as an objectivist position. This is good that is bad. You are contributing to the bad by not compromising, etc.

He may think that saying he does not believe in objective morals absolves the precise functioning of what he is doing, but I can see no reason to take this seriously. He points the moral finger just like everyone else, except he points it at nearly everyone else.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:16 am

phoneutria wrote:In south vietnam during the war, also, I think the Buddhists got pretty... not peaceful.
Well, many people are Buddhist in Asia, nominally, or more so. If this means their violence comes out of their Buddhism, who knows. What disturbed me more, in fact, was the self-immolation of certain monks, where I think they did feel justified in these acts by Buddhism and they were, well, experts in being Buddhist. IOW a self-hatred that I sense in Buddhism in general seemed to me come to the fore in these extreme acts.

50% of prisoners in US prisons are Protestant. I am not sure what that means about religion and the behavior of people. Obviously religious background certainly doesn't rule out violence,t he question is whether it encourages it in the wrong contexts (however one defines wrong there).

I think Buddhism is less likely to encourage violence. Right off the bat it encourages a kind of detachment from emotions and, well, everything. Other religions actually directly encourage violence. Certainly Islam and the other Abrahamic religions Many pagan religions do. In general my dislike of Buddhism has to do with its intra-pscyhic violence and not its encouragement of sectarian violence. But it certainly has been involved in the latter. Hey, people are creative.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:59 pm

And also there is an implicit objectivism here and one with practical consequences. Hitler or Stalin says they think country X should be a part of Germany or Russia. Someone else can say 'no, that is wrong'. Now Iamb is quite correct that this 'someone else' is objectivist. They are making a claim (as are Hitler and Stalin) that something is objectively the case morally. However, so is Iamb. He is saying that that person is being bad for being an objectivist. For not compromising. For thinking his view is better than Hitler's and Stalin's views. That person should compromise. That's a moral position. Now Iamb will say he sees this as practical, not objectively good, but he is confused about what he is doing.

First he blames objectivists for causing the problems in the world. Then he tells them that they should compromise.

That functions exactly as an objectivist position. This is good that is bad. You are contributing to the bad by not compromising, etc.

He may think that saying he does not believe in objective morals absolves the precise functioning of what he is doing, but I can see no reason to take this seriously. He points the moral finger just like everyone else, except he points it at nearly everyone else.
He has already said that he is not an objectivist because he does not claim to have the optimal solution which all rational people are obligated to adopt.

His moral position appears to be that nobody should hang on to his/her moral position. That lines up with his moral nihilism.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:08 pm

phyllo wrote:He has already said that he is not an objectivist because he does not claim to have the optimal solution which all rational people are obligated to adopt.

His moral position appears to be that nobody should hang on to his/her moral position. That lines up with his moral nihilism.
Yes, but one can claim something in one moment and act in an opposed way in other moments. Then when people point out what you are doing, you can refer them to the claim you have made, as if this eliminates the actions. If one bemoans the behavior of people who follow might makes right or use objectivist arguments for moral positions and problematic, and then present oneself as saying that compromise moderation and negotiation are not like this, one is implying (and sometimes he goes out and states) that these approaches are better. Note: they are not moral positions. It is a meta-ethical position. Since we cannot know objective morals we should compromise. It is still a should. You can't point a moral finger, over and over, and then add a disclaimer that you don't have a moral position you think is better. If he actually believes he does not have the optimal solution, he could demonstrate that. If he can't help but point a moral finger, than why should people believe his occasional disclaimer rather than notice his actions?

He has already said that he is not an objectivist because he does not claim to have the optimal solution which all rational people are obligated to adopt.
'That's not optimal' and 'that's not optimal' and 'look at all the horrible things objectivists have done' and 'the only rational thing left is to compromise, etc.' is a moral finger.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Berkley Babes » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:12 pm

The truths of Buddhism is that life involves suffering and that there are ways to lessen that suffering, which is useful, in this life. If you don't happen to get that, happily Buddhism provides the concept of ignorance. I like to think of this type of ignorance not as someone who is dumb, but someone who ignores facts that they really know are true. Thank you Alan Watts for that.

Anyway, the stories of Buddhism are not that important. You aren't meant to worship the Buddha since you have Buddha nature yourself. Yes, I can see the tease of that, and the bothersome frustration of waiting for any type of enlightenment.

If you don't get it now, maybe you will later since all things are subject to change. Another Buddhist truth.

Personally I borrow from any religion or philosophical thought helps me get through this experience. I am part Buddhist, part Hinduism follower, and Catholic believer in Heaven and God, but don't believe the Bible is the word of God unless all words are, including pickle fart.

In other words, don't let it bother you. You'll feel better. Hope this helps.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:17 pm

phyllo wrote:
No, my own objectivist is someone who argues that his or her own moral and political values reflect the optimal or the only rational manner in which others are obligated to think or feel about any context involving conflicting goods.
Most of the time you are claiming that's what they are arguing even when they are saying no such thing.

Most of the time this is all in your head. Not much I can do about that.

As for the rest of your points, we will just have to agree to disagree. Besides, there's not a one of them that even remotely piqued my interest. Again, the Old Phyllo -- the one in my head -- would never have stooped to such banalities.

And all I can do now is to point out just how uninteresting your posts have become to me of late. And there's not much I can do about that either.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:26 pm

Okay. Go talk to people who are uninterested in your posts.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:54 pm

Meditating with Descartes
Karen Parham asks how close Western philosophy gets to Buddhism.

The object upon which Western philosophers focus is the question they aim to answer, such as ‘What is truth?’ or ‘What is language?’. These questions may be a little like the koans that Zen Buddhists focus on during their meditations. Koans are paradoxical statements, parables, or questions that have no logical answer – a commonly cited koan is, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” They require the student monk to disengage their reasoning faculties and instead turn to their intuition; to the non-rational.


Well, the koan I am most interested in exploring is this, "what is it like to be dead?" And, "what does it mean to behave in an enlightened manner"?

And, where, given a particular context, does one draw the line between one's "reasoning faculties" and one's "intuition"?

And what can that possibly mean in regard to death itself?

In this sense, koans cannot be solved, they can only be responded to. Arriving at an appropriate response to a koan can take days, months, or a lifetime. The Zen master knows from the student’s response whether they are ready to move on to another koan, and whether they have ‘seen the light’.


Again, in regard to my own interest in religion -- morality and mortality -- what "appropriate responses" has anyone here come to? And what specifically is the distinction that is made between not solving something but still being enlightened about it? Cite some examples please.

Philosophical questions are like koans in that they confound the mind in having no absolute answers, and in that they are also questions philosophers can spend their lifetime answering.


Yes, but what religion does for many is to subsume the answers to questions of this sort in the religion itself. For most this means God and His mysterious ways, but what does it mean for Buddhists? If no God, what actually brings one to Nirvana -- the universe itself?

And when a ‘solution’ is found, the philosopher can feel euphoric and enlightened. However, there is an important difference: philosophers rely on their reason to answer their ‘ koans’. Philosophical koans are also presented in such a way as to suggest that there is a rational answer, whereas Zen koans are not. Philosophical answers will also have meaning and make sense to others, not just to the ‘meditator’. So, although philosophy does in a sense aim for peace of mind, it aims for it using a different technique to that of Zen Buddhists. Furthermore, its object of enquiry, the philosophical question, has an answer that is designed to appeal to others as well as satisfying the individual philosopher in question.


On the contrary, with respect to the "solutions" that Western Philosophers have arrived at in regard to the questions/koans that most interest me, their "euphoria" and "enlightenment" is, in my view, predicated only on what they have managed to convince themselves is true "in their head". And that can be almost anything. Whereas for me, in regard to identity, value judgments and political power intertwined at a particular existential juncture, it is not what one believes is true but what one can demonstrate as the obligation of all rational people to believe is true in turn.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:45 pm

Meditating with Descartes
Karen Parham asks how close Western philosophy gets to Buddhism.

Another Zen-like feature in Descartes’ Meditations is the ‘natural light’. Through what he calls ‘clear and distinct ideas’, the natural light presents truths to Descartes that cannot be doubted. Descartes’ general rule is that “whatever I perceive clearly and distinctly must be true” . Descartes uses the natural light of reason to conclude (among other things) that he exists, that God exists, that deceit is an imperfection, and that material objects do indeed possess the geometric and other mathematical properties he judges them to possess.


Here, of course, my own interest pertains almost entirely to that which either Western or Eastern religions/philosophies are able note as "clear and distinct ideas not to be doubted" because they can in turn demonstrate why this is the case in regard to morality on this side of the grave and to the fate of "I" on the other side of it.

Thus in regard to the existence of God, I must have missed that part with Descartes. Is there any one here who can link me to it?

Same with Buddhists in regard reincarnation and Nirvana.

And neither the Eastern nor the Western folks have managed yet to convince me that in the absense of God, a morality can be concocted by mere mortals enabling them to differentiate good from bad behavior.

Zen Buddhists could also claim that the responses they receive from meditating on koans are clear and distinct ideas. That is the nature of ‘seeing the light’. Good responses to Zen koans must, by Descartes’ criterion, therefore be true.


Yes, I was once able to think myself into believing something similar to this. Just not anymore. But if there are koans "out there" that do focus in on own interest in religion [morality and immortality] I would truly be interested in discussing them.

They may even be nearer the truth (if there is such a thing) than Descartes’ conclusion, because Descartes’ argument about relying on the natural light is circular. He believes that the natural light is reliable because God exists and does not deceive him about the natural light; yet Descartes needs the natural light to prove that God is not a deceiver… This natural light tells Descartes that deceit is an imperfection: therefore, God, who by definition is a perfect being, cannot deceive him about what the natural light tells him.


Aren't there in fact circles to be found everywhere in regard to either religious faith or religious dogma? How are the conclusions that Buddhists reach any less circuitous? Why are they true? Because they come from Gautama Buddha. That is basically what makes them true. Had Buddha been able to demonstrate that his own behaviors [back then] were the embodiment of Enlightenment? Had he demonstrated that life after death was in fact an actual thing?

Not to my knowledge.

So, basically, just as, say, Christians believe in God because it says to in the Bible and it says to in the Bible because it's the word of God, for Buddhists everything flows back to what they believe about Buddha. Now, Buddha is not seen as a God but as a "monk, mendicant, sage, philosopher, teacher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded."

But for all practical purposes what's the difference?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:26 am

iambiguous wrote:Meditating with Descartes
Karen Parham asks how close Western philosophy gets to Buddhism.

The object upon which Western philosophers focus is the question they aim to answer, such as ‘What is truth?’ or ‘What is language?’. These questions may be a little like the koans that Zen Buddhists focus on during their meditations. Koans are paradoxical statements, parables, or questions that have no logical answer – a commonly cited koan is, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” They require the student monk to disengage their reasoning faculties and instead turn to their intuition; to the non-rational.


Well, the koan I am most interested in exploring is this, "what is it like to be dead?" And, "what does it mean to behave in an enlightened manner"?

And, where, given a particular context, does one draw the line between one's "reasoning faculties" and one's "intuition"?

And what can that possibly mean in regard to death itself?

In this sense, koans cannot be solved, they can only be responded to. Arriving at an appropriate response to a koan can take days, months, or a lifetime. The Zen master knows from the student’s response whether they are ready to move on to another koan, and whether they have ‘seen the light’.


Again, in regard to my own interest in religion -- morality and mortality -- what "appropriate responses" has anyone here come to? And what specifically is the distinction that is made between not solving something but still being enlightened about it? Cite some examples please.

Philosophical questions are like koans in that they confound the mind in having no absolute answers, and in that they are also questions philosophers can spend their lifetime answering.


Yes, but what religion does for many is to subsume the answers to questions of this sort in the religion itself. For most this means God and His mysterious ways, but what does it mean for Buddhists? If no God, what actually brings one to Nirvana -- the universe itself?

And when a ‘solution’ is found, the philosopher can feel euphoric and enlightened. However, there is an important difference: philosophers rely on their reason to answer their ‘ koans’. Philosophical koans are also presented in such a way as to suggest that there is a rational answer, whereas Zen koans are not. Philosophical answers will also have meaning and make sense to others, not just to the ‘meditator’. So, although philosophy does in a sense aim for peace of mind, it aims for it using a different technique to that of Zen Buddhists. Furthermore, its object of enquiry, the philosophical question, has an answer that is designed to appeal to others as well as satisfying the individual philosopher in question.


On the contrary, with respect to the "solutions" that Western Philosophers have arrived at in regard to the questions/koans that most interest me, their "euphoria" and "enlightenment" is, in my view, predicated only on what they have managed to convince themselves is true "in their head". And that can be almost anything. Whereas for me, in regard to identity, value judgments and political power intertwined at a particular existential juncture, it is not what one believes is true but what one can demonstrate as the obligation of all rational people to believe is true in turn.


I suggest you listen to these two videos to get a better idea of the main elements of Buddhism;


Ep. 8 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Buddha and "Mindfulness"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWumJSB ... WJ&index=8

Ep. 9 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Insight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkWNBdB ... WJ&index=9

They may direct you to a ladder to get out of that shit_hole you have created for yourself.
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 iambiguous » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:21 am

Prismatic567 wrote:
I suggest you listen to these two videos to get a better idea of the main elements of Buddhism;


Ep. 8 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Buddha and "Mindfulness"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWumJSB ... WJ&index=8

Ep. 9 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Insight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkWNBdB ... WJ&index=9

They may direct you to a ladder to get out of that shit_hole you have created for yourself.


Why should I? You don't respond to any of the actual points I raised above but you have the gall to come in here to "set me straight" with a couple of videos?

Instead, why don't you reconfigure the points raised in the videos into an argument that addresses my own interest in religion: the relationship between the behaviors we choose on this side of the grave and what we anticipate the fate of "I" to be on the other side of the grave.

And, please, don't tell me what you believe-proper. Note for me how you are able to actually demonstrate to others what is in fact true about this crucial relationship embedded at the very heart of the human condition.

You're like others here who just can't imagine thinking about the world as I do. How ghastly! And that becomes enough to make it wrong.

Look, I have everything to gain and almost nothing left to lose in being able abandon the points I raise in my signature threads.

So, give it your best shot, Mr. Objectivist.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Prismatic567 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:13 am

iambiguous wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
I suggest you listen to these two videos to get a better idea of the main elements of Buddhism;


Ep. 8 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - The Buddha and "Mindfulness"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWumJSB ... WJ&index=8

Ep. 9 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Insight
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkWNBdB ... WJ&index=9

They may direct you to a ladder to get out of that shit_hole you have created for yourself.


Why should I? You don't respond to any of the actual points I raised above but you have the gall to come in here to "set me straight" with a couple of videos?

Instead, why don't you reconfigure the points raised in the videos into an argument that addresses my own interest in religion: the relationship between the behaviors we choose on this side of the grave and what we anticipate the fate of "I" to be on the other side of the grave.

And, please, don't tell me what you believe-proper. Note for me how you are able to actually demonstrate to others what is in fact true about this crucial relationship embedded at the very heart of the human condition.

You're like others here who just can't imagine thinking about the world as I do. How ghastly! And that becomes enough to make it wrong.

Look, I have everything to gain and almost nothing left to lose in being able abandon the points I raise in my signature threads.

So, give it your best shot, Mr. Objectivist.

That "Mr. Objectivist" is another of your straw-man [besides intellectual contraption, this side or other side of the grave, etc.] that you throw at others as a defense mechanism.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
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