I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Ecmandu » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:28 pm

Buddhism came from India.

In India, Vishnu blinks every so often, and everything is destroyed and starts again, from Vishnu’s dream.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby promethean75 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:32 pm

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby promethean75 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:47 pm

Jesus I forgot how exhausting that song is. Don't listen to it. It's some of the worst showboating they've ever been guilty of. Leads persisting for over ten minutes. Okay John, we get it.

Great band, wrong song. My condolences.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:09 pm

iambiguous wrote:Okay, fair enough. But, in regard to religion, I can't think of a more potent motive than the one that, historically and culturally, revolves around exploring the actual practical ramifications of connecting the dots existentially between morality here and now and immortality there and then. What could possibly be of more importance than that? For the lives that we live.


You can take the halo for that if you want. My motives are far more selfish. I'm here because Buddhism frustrates me. It delivers promises that only bear a possibility so long as I don't pursue them.

iambiguous wrote:Sure, if some can convince themselves that "Everything is an illusion. The self is no exception. The self is an invention clung to by desire as a means to attain satisfaction", what can I say. We'll just have to agree to disagree about that.


Really? You're just gonna leave it at that? I thought your goal was to probe until you could show that all my claims are vaccuous, or that you've fragmented my 'I'? I thought for sure you'd ask for a demonstration that all rational men and women are obligated to agree with.

iambiguous wrote:But: if you choose to interact with folks of other religious denominations and atheists and the nihilist who own and operate around the globe that we all reside on, be prepared to have your own sense of identity challenged. See if there are not some very, very real aspects of the self that are challenged by others.

For example, others might insist that you actually demonstrate to them what your own morality "stems from". In regard to, say, the very real parameters of abortion, or animal rights, or gender roles, or sexual behaviors. What are you going to do, plead "illusion" when they challenge the things you say and do?


Well, that's more like it. So speaking as the Buddhist that I'm not, I would argue that the truth as I see it is the truth regardless of what happens when I confront other people who disagree with me and insist that I demonstrate to them the truth of my convictions. Just like science remains true even when the scientist is confronted by religious zealots who insist that he's wrong or that he prove to them the claims of his science. If it's a question of how I would convince them if pressed to do so, I *might* plead illusion if I thought that might help, but I can only go so far. Some people just will not be convinced. In that case, I would try to avoid the subject with them, and (if they really do "insist") maybe avoid them. The answer to your question really depends on to what extent they insist on involving themselves in my life? Are you suggesting an all-or-nothing scenario? Like I prove my position to them or die?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Ah, now that is a question of more substance."


Actually, that can be seen as the least substantive question, in that Buddhists are no more able to demonstrate what one's fate on the other side of the grave will be. Unless, of course, the Buddhists here are able to link me to such proof.


I meant substantive as in my beliefs definitely have something to say about it.

iambiguous wrote:This is just intellectual gibberish to me, the sort of religious mumbo jumbo that the faithful [Buddhist or otherwise] are able to think themselves into believing but are entirely impotent in regard to substantiating. Again, from my perspective, the whole point is not in what you believe but that you believe it. It is the belief itself that instills the equanimity enabling one to deal with a world that is ever and always bursting at the seams with so many terrible things. And that's before oblivion.


Then I'm not sure what you want me to say. You asked me a series of questions, I gave my answers. If it comes across to you as "intellectual gibberish" or "religious mumbo jumbo", I'm afraid I cannot help you. Is that the end of the line, or did you want to try again rephrasing your request?



I think you took my question a little too literally. The question is: how can you know that literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of religions down through the ages insist that only their own take on morality here and now and immortality there and then reflect the real thing? I mean, to the extent that you seriously question my response: possibly.

I'm sure the sheer number of religions that have seen the light of day throughout literally all of history must be at least in the thousands, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds which have insisted that they've got morality and the afterlife bang on with dogmatic certainty seems a fair bet, but reading between the line of your statement, I infer that you mean to say "the vast majority". 300 religions out of a thousand would count as "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" technically, but I don't think you mean it that literally. We know a lot of religions in the modern world, and a lot have survived in the history books to be added to the count, and there is definitely a noticeable portion of them that take stances on morality and the afterlife with a dogmatic arrogance, but I'm going to hold back on saying that I know with certainty that almost all of them are like that. So... possibly.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:37 pm

MagsJ wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
Note to the Buddhists here:

So, where does Brahman fit into something like this? Am I more likely to be reincarnated into, say, a cat? 8)

What has Brahman got to do with that? Nothing, is what.


And that fits into this...

“Brahman alone Is. The world is Brahman.”

...how?

Or is the part where, at death, the enlightened are reincarnated into that which might be construed as a higher form than those who are unenlightened just understood "spiritually" to be what it is?

Either Brahman can actually be discussed substantively [and then demonstrated] in regard to 1] the lives that we live and 2] the part where we are no longer among the living or, as an intellectual contraption, it can become anything you need it to be "in your head".

Same with dasein. That's why I attempt to explicate its meaning by noting how in regard to my own existence, it seems relevant to me. I merely make a distinction between I in the either/or world and "I" in the is/ought world.

MagsJ wrote: Such thinking occurred after the fact, of what Brahman initially was, by those who weren’t born under it's societal umbrella.. otherwise, they would know and understand exactly what it is.. they would breathe it, feel it, bathe in it.. like one does in the Ganges river or the Bengal Bay.


What is this other than a "spiritual" observation that you make about Brahman that I and others either grasp or don't grasp depending entirely on our own understanding of the words alone?

What does it have to do with, well, reincarnation and Nirvana?

In other words, here it becomes the equivalent of the Christian God's "mysterious ways". Mere mortals are not able to put it into words. How convenient. So, it can really become anything you want it to be. Anything you need it to be.

MagsJ wrote: Sounds.. malleable :D


Well, there's not much that can't be shaped and molded into reality if it all unfolds only in the human mind. As I noted to Gib above, here are examples of some of them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_r ... ock%2Dwise

MagsJ wrote: It’s about a place.. a place in time, but not in space.. a place in the mind, that sprang, from one place.


In the mind. Let's just leave it at that. :wink:
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:59 pm

MagsJ wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Note to Buddhists/Hindus:

Choose a set of circumstances in which to discuss Brahman. That way I can distinguish between words that, in my view, define and defend other words alone, and words that, in my view, focus in on actual human behaviors relating to morality on this side of the grave and the fate of "I" on the other side.



What would or does your set of circumstances look like, for a discussion of Brahman based on Your view? Is that onus not on You, in setting out the terms of that which you want to understand?


Well, for one thing, my set of circumstances are such that existentially I actually did come into contact with the spiritual/intellectual contraption that is said to be "Brahman". No doubt the preponderance of human beings around the globe are completely oblivious to it.

In other words, the part embedded subjectively in dasein. The part where my own understanding of it is rooted in the actual sequence of experiences, relationships and access to information and knowledge that I have accumulated in the course of living the life that I have.

And, in turn, assuming that others who have lived very, very different lives are likely to understand it differently.

So then we are left with the task of sifting through all of that and coming up with the most enlightened understanding of Brahman. And that I presume [on this thread] would come from those who call themselves Buddhists or Hindus.

On the other hand, my own interest in religion revolves more around connecting the dots between the behaviors that we choose on this side of the grave and how that will impact the fate of "I" after death.

And here the enlightened either can or cannot, will or will not take Brahman.
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 Ecmandu » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:11 pm

So I’m going to post this in both threads so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle:

I’ll add to it before I post it:

The Buddha is attached to the dharma, but the Buddha teaches that to break free from suffering, non-attachment is the only teaching!

Mark Twain was much more brilliant than all of Buddhism... “everything in moderation, including moderation”

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:36 pm

Then I don't understand. Every Buddhist source I've come across says the world is an illusion and that the dream analogy fits.

Obviously, analogies shouldn't be taken literally, so maybe the unreality of dreams is one aspect of the analogy that doesn't carry over well, but I thought this was the key reason enlightenment brings so much peace of mind.

Now we could say that though a dream isn't real, someone in the midst of a nightmare experiences real fear, and maybe we have a moral obligation to wake him up to relieve him of his fear. Is that what you have in mind?
Beyond the dream, beyond the illusion, is the reality that you are striving to see. Enlightenment enables you to see the world as it really is.

Why not stay in the dream? Because it's a painful. And you don't have to stay in it.

Enlightenment is better than non-enlightenment. It doesn't matter if there is an afterlife or reincarnation or oblivion.

If you don't achieve enlightenment, pursuing the path is still better than not pursuing the path.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:29 pm

phyllo wrote:
Then I don't understand. Every Buddhist source I've come across says the world is an illusion and that the dream analogy fits.

Obviously, analogies shouldn't be taken literally, so maybe the unreality of dreams is one aspect of the analogy that doesn't carry over well, but I thought this was the key reason enlightenment brings so much peace of mind.

Now we could say that though a dream isn't real, someone in the midst of a nightmare experiences real fear, and maybe we have a moral obligation to wake him up to relieve him of his fear. Is that what you have in mind?
Beyond the dream, beyond the illusion, is the reality that you are striving to see. Enlightenment enables you to see the world as it really is.

Why not stay in the dream? Because it's a painful. And you don't have to stay in it.

Enlightenment is better than non-enlightenment. It doesn't matter if there is an afterlife or reincarnation or oblivion.

If you don't achieve enlightenment, pursuing the path is still better than not pursuing the path.


Like I stated before. Pursuing “the path” is ‘clinging’, the Buddha teaches “no clinging”.

Look at the 4 precepts and the 8-fold path (the skeleton of Buddhism) its all about clinging!
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:42 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Okay, fair enough. But, in regard to religion, I can't think of a more potent motive than the one that, historically and culturally, revolves around exploring the actual practical ramifications of connecting the dots existentially between morality here and now and immortality there and then. What could possibly be of more importance than that? For the lives that we live.


You can take the halo for that if you want. My motives are far more selfish. I'm here because Buddhism frustrates me. It delivers promises that only bear a possibility so long as I don't pursue them.


I have no idea what this point has to do with my point above.

iambiguous wrote:Sure, if some can convince themselves that "Everything is an illusion. The self is no exception. The self is an invention clung to by desire as a means to attain satisfaction", what can I say. We'll just have to agree to disagree about that.


gib wrote: Really? You're just gonna leave it at that? I thought your goal was to probe until you could show that all my claims are vaccuous, or that you've fragmented my 'I'? I thought for sure you'd ask for a demonstration that all rational men and women are obligated to agree with.


From my point of view, there are either material, empirical, biological, demographic etc., aspects of the self that we can demonstrate to be anything but illusions, or, instead, everything is an illusion. The either/or world claims are not deemed by me to be vacuous. I am not fractured and fragmented in regard to human interactions in the either/or world. Sure, I may be misunderstanding what is true, but what is true is there to be demonstrated. Or, rather, demonstrated to the best of our ability given all that we don't know about existence itself.

Either that or I am misunderstanding you.

iambiguous wrote:But: if you choose to interact with folks of other religious denominations and atheists and the nihilist who own and operate around the globe that we all reside on, be prepared to have your own sense of identity challenged. See if there are not some very, very real aspects of the self that are challenged by others.

For example, others might insist that you actually demonstrate to them what your own morality "stems from". In regard to, say, the very real parameters of abortion, or animal rights, or gender roles, or sexual behaviors. What are you going to do, plead "illusion" when they challenge the things you say and do?


gib wrote: Well, that's more like it. So speaking as the Buddhist that I'm not, I would argue that the truth as I see it is the truth regardless of what happens when I confront other people who disagree with me and insist that I demonstrate to them the truth of my convictions.


Yep, that's how the moral and political and spiritual objectivists see it. The truth is demonstrated by them merely in the act of believing it. Others are either willing to become "one of us" and believe it too or they are wrong.

gib wrote: Just like science remains true even when the scientist is confronted by religious zealots who insist that he's wrong or that he prove to them the claims of his science. If it's a question of how I would convince them if pressed to do so, I *might* plead illusion if I thought that might help, but I can only go so far. Some people just will not be convinced. In that case, I would try to avoid the subject with them, and (if they really do "insist") maybe avoid them. The answer to your question really depends on to what extent they insist on involving themselves in my life? Are you suggesting an all-or-nothing scenario? Like I prove my position to them or die?


Science deals with claims that are either able to be demonstrated or they are not. Lots and lots of claims a 100 years ago may have been scoffed at but they have since been reconfigured into the astounding technologies and engineering feats that today we take for granted. On the other hand, with claims made regarding enlightenment, karma, reincarnation, Nirvana, Brahman, the Four Noble Truths etc., where is the evidence demonstrating the whole truth about them? After all, Buddha died 2,600 years ago.

iambiguous wrote:This is just intellectual gibberish to me, the sort of religious mumbo jumbo that the faithful [Buddhist or otherwise] are able to think themselves into believing but are entirely impotent in regard to substantiating. Again, from my perspective, the whole point is not in what you believe but that you believe it. It is the belief itself that instills the equanimity enabling one to deal with a world that is ever and always bursting at the seams with so many terrible things. And that's before oblivion.


gib wrote: Then I'm not sure what you want me to say. You asked me a series of questions, I gave my answers. If it comes across to you as "intellectual gibberish" or "religious mumbo jumbo", I'm afraid I cannot help you. Is that the end of the line, or did you want to try again rephrasing your request?


Well, I've made it abundantly clear regarding the things that I would like to see substantiated by those who embrace religion as the foundation into which they anchor their self. Either what they believe "in their head" can be substantiated such that others are able -- even obligated -- to believe it in turn or it can't.

Or, sure, we can just agree to disagree regarding what that in itself means.



gib wrote: I think you took my question a little too literally. The question is: how can you know that literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of religions down through the ages insist that only their own take on morality here and now and immortality there and then reflect the real thing? I mean, to the extent that you seriously question my response: possibly.


What can I say? I can spend the rest of my life going down this list from wikipedia and, one by one, concluding that what they preach about morality and immortality is thought to be the One True Path, or I can take a subjective leap and conclude that most will believe this based on my own actual experiences with religious denominations over the years.

Or, as you note...

gib wrote: I'm sure the sheer number of religions that have seen the light of day throughout literally all of history must be at least in the thousands, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds which have insisted that they've got morality and the afterlife bang on with dogmatic certainty seems a fair bet...


But...

gib wrote: ...but reading between the line of your statement, I infer that you mean to say "the vast majority". 300 religions out of a thousand would count as "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" technically, but I don't think you mean it that literally. We know a lot of religions in the modern world, and a lot have survived in the history books to be added to the count, and there is definitely a noticeable portion of them that take stances on morality and the afterlife with a dogmatic arrogance, but I'm going to hold back on saying that I know with certainty that almost all of them are like that. So... possibly.


Not at all clear where you are going with this.

For me the assumption is that down through the ages, religions are invented in order to connect the existential dots between the life that one lives here and now and the life that one wants to go on living there and then. One or another rendition of morality, then one or another rendition of immortality.

This and the part probed by folks like Marx: the politics of religion.

But ever and always [for me] there's that gap between what someone believes about this in their head and what they can actually demonstrate that I should believe too.

Show me.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:50 pm

iambiguous wrote:
MagsJ wrote:What has Brahman got to do with that? Nothing, is what.
And that fits into this...

“Brahman alone Is. The world is Brahman.”

...how?

Or is the part where, at death, the enlightened are reincarnated into that which might be construed as a higher form than those who are unenlightened just understood "spiritually" to be what it is?

Either Brahman can actually be discussed substantively [and then demonstrated] in regard to 1] the lives that we live and 2] the part where we are no longer among the living or, as an intellectual contraption, it can become anything you need it to be "in your head".

Same with dasein. That's why I attempt to explicate its meaning by noting how in regard to my own existence, it seems relevant to me. I merely make a distinction between I in the either/or world and "I" in the is/ought world.

How the ancients practised their Dharma and why.. or whatever their local nuanced Practice was, is not pertinent for today’s needs, so the How and Why are based on the Here and Now, to aid the individual in the There and Then.. whatever that There and Then might be.

MagsJ wrote:Such thinking occurred after the fact, of what Brahman initially was, by those who weren’t born under it's societal umbrella..

What is this other than a "spiritual" observation that you make about Brahman that I and others either grasp or don't grasp depending entirely on our own understanding of the words alone?

What does it have to do with, well, reincarnation and Nirvana?

Words cannot always express a thought(s) or a feeling(s), that has become entrenched in a Nation’s psyche over millennia and therefore become innate.. an unspoken word, or is it a thought, passed on through genes but not necessarily memes.

In other words, here it becomes the equivalent of the Christian God's "mysterious ways". Mere mortals are not able to put it into words. How convenient. So, it can really become anything you want it to be. Anything you need it to be.

MagsJ wrote: Sounds.. malleable :D

Well, there's not much that can't be shaped and molded into reality if it all unfolds only in the human mind. As I noted to Gib above, here are examples of some of them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_r ... ock%2Dwise

Now that’s a lot of religions.. any favourites? I quite like the ones where their god(s) were actually their ancestors, so praying to and giving alms to, fam.

MagsJ wrote:It’s about a place.. a place in time, but not in space.. a place in the mind, that sprang, from one place.

In the mind. Let's just leave it at that. :wink:

..because all phenomena begin and end with mind.. the human mainframe that sustains our being in its entirety.. without it we are nothing, no-one.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby zinnat » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:17 am

I have said this before at ILP in other threads. Let me reiterate it once more to clear the issue.

People tend to forget that religions are neither pure ontologies nor pure Epistemologies. They stand somewhere between those two. They follow the route of Epistemology using ontology. If we keep this in mind while evaluating religions, many of the confusions will go away.

After that, considering above premise, religions further can be divided into two types. Process Epistemologies and Destiation Epistemologies. As far as i know, almost all religions, with the exception Buddhism and Janisim are destination Epistemologies as both of thse are process Epistemologies.

Again, in simple terms, destination Epistemological religions say that there is a certain spiritual destination, which should be attained by one and after that, one has to be there forever. These destinatins may differ accoeding to various religions. Like, abrahamic religions say that one has to reach and stay forever in the haven, something similar in the traditional Hinduism though it does not consider haven the last destination but still there is a final destination. Buddhism and Jainism do not believe that is a final destination to be reside permanently. Instead of that they propose that realising that one is in the process is sufficient. If one attains that understanding inperson but not by borowwed knoweledge, that is enlightenment.

Both types of religions consider this process as an illusion. Most religions comsider that one has to come out of this process while these two exceptions say that relilization of being struck in the process would be enough because that realization will make your suffering go away automaticlly.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:47 am

phyllo wrote:Beyond the dream, beyond the illusion, is the reality that you are striving to see. Enlightenment enables you to see the world as it really is.

Why not stay in the dream? Because it's a painful. And you don't have to stay in it.

Enlightenment is better than non-enlightenment. It doesn't matter if there is an afterlife or reincarnation or oblivion.

If you don't achieve enlightenment, pursuing the path is still better than not pursuing the path.


This isn't a moral "better", it's more of a desirable "better". Peanut butter cookies are better than chocolate chip... because I like peanut butter better. A life free of suffering is better than a life with suffer... because I like freedom from suffering better.

Morality is something you do for it's own sake--because it's right--which is why it's so much easier to regard doing things for others as moral--it controls for self-interested motives.

If I were a Buddhist, I'd find it a lot easier to regard the need to relieve others of their suffering as a moral imperative than my own suffering. I might still desire the relief of my own suffering but I might also desire a peanut butter cookie--hard to regard that as a moral imperative.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:48 am

iambiguous wrote:From my point of view, there are either material, empirical, biological, demographic etc., aspects of the self that we can demonstrate to be anything but illusions, or, instead, everything is an illusion. The either/or world claims are not deemed by me to be vacuous. I am not fractured and fragmented in regard to human interactions in the either/or world. Sure, I may be misunderstanding what is true, but what is true is there to be demonstrated. Or, rather, demonstrated to the best of our ability given all that we don't know about existence itself.


And you don't regard the illusory self the Buddhist believes in to be part of the is/ought world?

iambiguous wrote:Yep, that's how the moral and political and spiritual objectivists see it. The truth is demonstrated by them merely in the act of believing it.


Who said anything about believing?

iambiguous wrote:Science deals with claims that are either able to be demonstrated or they are not. Lots and lots of claims a 100 years ago may have been scoffed at but they have since been reconfigured into the astounding technologies and engineering feats that today we take for granted. On the other hand, with claims made regarding enlightenment, karma, reincarnation, Nirvana, Brahman, the Four Noble Truths etc., where is the evidence demonstrating the whole truth about them? After all, Buddha died 2,600 years ago.


What are you aiming at here? Are you simply asking me to demonstrate the reasoning behind my Biddhist convictions, or are you asking what I would do if confronted with

iambiguous wrote:Or, sure, we can just agree to disagree regarding what that in itself means.


Then why don't we do that--agree to disagree.

iambiguous wrote:What can I say? I can spend the rest of my life going down this list from wikipedia and, one by one, concluding that what they preach about morality and immortality is thought to be the One True Path...


You can conclude what you want (and you will), but when I read between the lines of your statement, I read that you're expecting dogmatism, not just objective sounding statements. If you inquire into the beliefs and values of any religion, what else would you expect but statements delineating what they believe and value structured in the usual objective grammar. That's more or less the default structure of language. But when you say "religions down through the ages insist" it's the insist part that I read as "dogmatically insist" and I'm not sure you can say that about every religion on that list.

(It occurs to me that the reason I, and probably you, haven't heard of most of the religions on that list is because they never strove for world domination like the top 10, say, most popular religions, and that could be a consequence of not being militantly dogmatic.)

iambiguous wrote:For me the assumption is that down through the ages, religions are invented in order to connect the existential dots between the life that one lives here and now and the life that one wants to go on living there and then. One or another rendition of morality, then one or another rendition of immortality.


Quite possibly. But connecting the dots is one thing. Insisting is another.

iambiguous wrote:Show me.


Show you what?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:46 pm

This isn't a moral "better", it's more of a desirable "better". Peanut butter cookies are better than chocolate chip... because I like peanut butter better. A life free of suffering is better than a life with suffer... because I like freedom from suffering better.
Sure.

If your suffering doesn't bother you "too much", then you could/may choose not to pursue Buddhism.
Morality is something you do for it's own sake--because it's right--which is why it's so much easier to regard doing things for others as moral--it controls for self-interested motives.
I don't think that morality is detached from self-interest. It's not just "right" in some abstract sense, it's also good for you. And good for your family, your friends, your society.
If I were a Buddhist, I'd find it a lot easier to regard the need to relieve others of their suffering as a moral imperative than my own suffering. I might still desire the relief of my own suffering but I might also desire a peanut butter cookie--hard to regard that as a moral imperative.
That's you personally?

A Buddhist would see reducing his own suffering as also reducing the suffering of others and reducing the suffering of others as reducing his own suffering. It goes together.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:22 pm

phyllo wrote:If your suffering doesn't bother you "too much", then you could/may choose not to pursue Buddhism.


The path I choose to pursue depends on what I believe works. And my suffering may bother me a lot, but I wouldn't regard that as a moral imperative. A moral imperative, to me, requires an "ought" that would remain even if the desire went away.

phyllo wrote:I don't think that morality is detached from self-interest. It's not just "right" in some abstract sense, it's also good for you. And good for your family, your friends, your society.

...

A Buddhist would see reducing his own suffering as also reducing the suffering of others and reducing the suffering of others as reducing his own suffering. It goes together.


Fair enough, but yes, this is just me personally (depends on what is meant when I say "If I were a Buddhist"--if I were a Buddhist from birth, who knows what I would regard as moral, but if I were to do a spontaneous switch of faith right now, this would be my starting point).

Just an aside, phyllo, are you speaking from some level of authority on the subject or is this just your opinion?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:56 pm

The path I choose to pursue depends on what I believe works. And my suffering may bother me a lot, but I wouldn't regard that as a moral imperative. A moral imperative, to me, requires an "ought" that would remain even if the desire went away.
How did "moral imperative" enter the discussion?

You don't have to take on any religion or philosophy that you don't want.
Just an aside, phyllo, are you speaking from some level of authority on the subject or is this just your opinion?
I have an interest in various religions.

Make of that what you will. :evilfun:
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:18 pm

MagsJ wrote:How the ancients practised their Dharma and why.. or whatever their local nuanced Practice was, is not pertinent for today’s needs, so the How and Why are based on the Here and Now, to aid the individual in the There and Then.. whatever that There and Then might be.


Well, I can't explore this with the ancients of course so it's between me and those who are reading these words. And my interest in religion revolves almost entirely around connecting dots existentially between morality here and now and immortality there and then. Given the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of different spiritual paths to choose from. And, in turn, given what is at stake. Why yours and not theirs? Why should a No God atheist believe there is an afterlife at all? How do the faithful demonstrate it? Through leaps of faith? Okay, fine. But with all the paths out there [and that's just on this planet] what are the odds that theirs is The One?

And to what extent have those who have chosen a path explored the extent to which choosing here is itself predicated largely on the manner in which, in regard to value judgments, I construe the "self" as an existential contraption rooted in dasein.

MagsJ wrote:Words cannot always express a thought(s) or a feeling(s), that has become entrenched in a Nation’s psyche over millennia and therefore become innate.. an unspoken word, or is it a thought, passed on through genes but not necessarily memes.


Yes, that's how it works alright. Words become reflections of enormously complex historical, cultural and subjective interpersonal relationships rooted genetically and memetically out in a particular world understood by each individual given the manner in which "I" have come to understand human identity in the is/ought world.

And yet the objectivists persist. Why? Because, in my view, "I" becomes invested all the more in what I call the psychology of objectivism: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

Especially in our profoundly problematic postmodern age where, through such mediums as the internet, we can become exposed to countless [often hopelessly conflicted] depictions of "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

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

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:48 pm

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:From my point of view, there are either material, empirical, biological, demographic etc., aspects of the self that we can demonstrate to be anything but illusions, or, instead, everything is an illusion. The either/or world claims are not deemed by me to be vacuous. I am not fractured and fragmented in regard to human interactions in the either/or world. Sure, I may be misunderstanding what is true, but what is true is there to be demonstrated. Or, rather, demonstrated to the best of our ability given all that we don't know about existence itself.


And you don't regard the illusory self the Buddhist believes in to be part of the is/ought world?


What I would like to explore with Buddhists is the distinction I make between the either/or Self rooted in human biology, demographics and empirical fact, and the extent that, in the is/ought world, "I" construe human identity not as illusive so much as elusive -- an existential contraption rooted in dasein from the cradle to the grave. And then the part about after "I" die.

iambiguous wrote:Yep, that's how the moral and political and spiritual objectivists see it. The truth is demonstrated by them merely in the act of believing it.


gib wrote: Who said anything about believing?


Don't we all? In other words, believe what we do -- here and now -- about this and everything else? Instead, my focus is more on the extent to which we are able to demonstrate to others that they are obligated to believe what we do. If they wish to be thought of as a rational human being.

iambiguous wrote:Science deals with claims that are either able to be demonstrated or they are not. Lots and lots of claims a 100 years ago may have been scoffed at but they have since been reconfigured into the astounding technologies and engineering feats that today we take for granted. On the other hand, with claims made regarding enlightenment, karma, reincarnation, Nirvana, Brahman, the Four Noble Truths etc., where is the evidence demonstrating the whole truth about them? After all, Buddha died 2,600 years ago.


gib wrote: What are you aiming at here? Are you simply asking me to demonstrate the reasoning behind my Biddhist convictions, or are you asking what I would do if confronted with


Again, I'm asking anyone to demonstrate that what they claim is true, all rational men and women are in turn obligated to believe. There are scientific claims and religious claims. What's the difference between them? Well, scientific claims revolve mostly around the either/or world in which objective answers seem within reach. Depending how far out into the really, really big or far down into the really, really small you go. But what of religious claims? Up there or down here, what of demonstrations regarding claims pertaining to "enlightenment, karma, reincarnation, Nirvana, Brahman, the Four Noble Truths etc."?

iambiguous wrote:Or, sure, we can just agree to disagree regarding what that in itself means.


gib wrote: Then why don't we do that--agree to disagree.


Works for me.

iambiguous wrote:What can I say? I can spend the rest of my life going down this list from wikipedia and, one by one, concluding that what they preach about morality and immortality is thought to be the One True Path...


gib wrote: You can conclude what you want (and you will), but when I read between the lines of your statement, I read that you're expecting dogmatism, not just objective sounding statements. If you inquire into the beliefs and values of any religion, what else would you expect but statements delineating what they believe and value structured in the usual objective grammar. That's more or less the default structure of language. But when you say "religions down through the ages insist" it's the insist part that I read as "dogmatically insist" and I'm not sure you can say that about every religion on that list.


First, we'll need a context. "Dogmatism" or "just objective sounding statements" about what? Values revolving around what actual behaviors in what set of circumstances in which enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana are broached, examined and assessed.

To what extent can the defense of them through the use of language be linked to actual experiences that substantiate claims? From any of them on the list.

iambiguous wrote:For me the assumption is that down through the ages, religions are invented in order to connect the existential dots between the life that one lives here and now and the life that one wants to go on living there and then. One or another rendition of morality, then one or another rendition of immortality.


gib wrote: Quite possibly. But connecting the dots is one thing. Insisting is another.


"I" try to make it clear that my own assessments of these relationships are no less existential contraptions rooted subjectively/subjunctively in dasein. I would never insist that others are obligated to think the same. Unless, of course, I have new experiences, new relationships or access to new ideas which prompts me to insist on it.

But then there is still the problem of demonstrating this new belief.

iambiguous wrote:Show me.


gib wrote: Show you what?


That, in regard to the main components of Buddhism, one is able to demonstrate to me that all enlightened men and women are obligated to become Buddhists.

Again, for all practical purposes, what else is there?
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 gib » Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:58 am

iambiguous wrote:What I would like to explore with Buddhists is the distinction I make between the either/or Self rooted in human biology, demographics and empirical fact, and the extent that, in the is/ought world, "I" construe human identity not as illusive so much as elusive -- an existential contraption rooted in dasein from the cradle to the grave. And then the part about after "I" die.


With respect to the either/or world, I think most Buddhists would agree with you. With respect to the is/ought world, I can't say what a Buddhist would say, but I have an idea. So let me put my Buddhist cap back on. *Ah-hem* Well, Biggy, the self is an illusion because nothing is permanent. Everything eventually fades into oblivion. Even when it's here, it is always changing so that whatever it is in one moment, it ceases to be that in the next. We identify the things we see in our environment on the principle of permanence. We say: that is a chair, this is a fork, over there is my neighbor Ben. But is it really a chair? Is it really a fork? Maybe it was at one point. Maybe at one point the object I point to matched my conception of "chair" perfectly, but since then it has changed, and is therefore not the chair as I conceptualize it. Why would it be any different for myself? Maybe the self I conceptualize myself to be was that conceptualization perfectly, but since then I have changed, and I am no longer the self I imagine myself to be. In fact, I can never pin down myself. As soon as I think I've pegged myself for who I really am, I'm changed.

^ So there's an intellectual contraption if there ever was one, and a typical response from an average Buddhist as I understand Buddhists (if I'm wrong, it's what this Buddhist responds with). If you say this falls short of an objective demonstration that all rational men and women are obligated to concur with, I would agree. But it does expose the logic and reasoning going on inside this Buddhist's mind, that which underlies his position on the self and its illusory nature. So what's your next move? What do you do with this?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Yep, that's how the moral and political and spiritual objectivists see it. The truth is demonstrated by them merely in the act of believing it.


Who said anything about believing?


Don't we all? In other words, believe what we do -- here and now -- about this and everything else? Instead, my focus is more on the extent to which we are able to demonstrate to others that they are obligated to believe what we do. If they wish to be thought of as a rational human being.


But you didn't ask for a demonstration--not in this instance anyway. I just said the truth as I see it remains the truth regardless of whether others believe me or not. That doesn't mean the truth is as it is because I believe it.

iambiguous wrote:Again, I'm asking anyone to demonstrate that what they claim is true, all rational men and women are in turn obligated to believe. There are scientific claims and religious claims. What's the difference between them? Well, scientific claims revolve mostly around the either/or world in which objective answers seem within reach. Depending how far out into the really, really big or far down into the really, really small you go. But what of religious claims? Up there or down here, what of demonstrations regarding claims pertaining to "enlightenment, karma, reincarnation, Nirvana, Brahman, the Four Noble Truths etc."?


So I'll take this to mean you're asking me directly (as opposed to asking me what I'd do when confronted with other "unsavory" people demanding an irrefutable demonstration of my beliefs). As this Buddhist character I'm playing, I would probably appeal to the argument about permanence again--seems to be the founding pillar of the whole Buddhist philosophy, or at least that part of it that takes everything to be illusion--I would say that it follows from the impermanence of everything that everything we think we know about the world is false. What we think we know is based on our ingrained habit of identifying things--the chair, the fork, my neighbor Ben--of imposing concepts, labels, and words to things and adorning them with a superficial identity that seems to "fix" them. This completely decorates our world and without it, we would fail to recognize the world to be anything remotely like what we're familiar with. Thus, the mind distorts the world into an illusion, into something it is not.

The part about suffering and the alleviation of it through enlightenment follows from that. Once we realize this deep truth, all our worries and our angst disappear, all our suffering, which is based on our desires to achieve things in this illusory world, for this world to be a certain way--for us to have certain things, to gain wealth, to be adored, to be free of sickness and pain--vanishes. Why? For the same reason our longing and suffering vanishes when we wake from a dream. Realizing it is all a dream means realizing there is nothing to long for, nothing to desire. Whatever way we wanted the world to be, whatever we wanted to have, however we wanted to fix our lives, it could never have been in the first place--none of it was real--so we breath a sigh of relief, understanding that there is no need to struggle, to strive, to wallow in the fact that our life is like this and not like that.

Now, again, this probably doesn't meet your standard of a rigorously thorough demonstration of the Buddhist's truth. And at this point, I don't think the Buddhist would be all that pressed to try harder, to attempt to construct a more convincing and solid argument. I imagine a Buddhist would be apt to let it go at this point, and even to admit that a lot of his beliefs rest on faith. What do you do in that case? What do you do when the objectivist you wish to challenge gives up and admits he doesn't have the perfect demonstration for you and believes what he believes, to a degree, on faith?

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Then why don't we do that--agree to disagree.


Works for me.


I'm surprised you let this go. I haven't seen you do that in past encounters. You must have grown. In the past, whenever we'd arrive at an impasse, I'd try to make it clear I see nowhere to go from here, but you'd come back saying you really want to know how to get out of your dilemma, or that these are extremely important matters--of the highest moral imperative--which we can't just let go of--which would implore me to keep trying. But now I see you sometimes do put it to rest when you recognize there's nothing left to do with it. I believe this is a step forward for you.

iambiguous wrote:First, we'll need a context. "Dogmatism" or "just objective sounding statements" about what? Values revolving around what actual behaviors in what set of circumstances in which enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana are broached, examined and assessed.


Precisely. It depends on the behaviors, circumstances, dilemmas, etc. When the stakes are extremely high, people are more apt to fall back on their fundamental beliefs and values and defend them more rigorously. <-- These are the contexts in which they might "insist" or be more "dogmatic". But in other calmer, more relaxed, situations, they may be able to tolerate and entertain differing points of view, admit that while they believe what they believe, maybe they don't know it with absolute certainty.

I think it depends on the religion, the contents thereof. Some religions may encourage arrogant insistence and dogmatic intolerance of any questioning of their authority, while other religions may encourage open mindedness and humbleness with respect to confidence in knowledge.

And I think it depends on the person too. Two people from the same religion, with faith in the same beliefs, may differ noticeably in terms of how much they insist that they are right and that they know the truth.

This is why I said your initial statement was a bit of a hyperbole.

iambiguous wrote:
gib wrote:Quite possibly. But connecting the dots is one thing. Insisting is another.


"I" try to make it clear that my own assessments of these relationships are no less existential contraptions rooted subjectively/subjunctively in dasein. I would never insist that others are obligated to think the same. Unless, of course, I have new experiences, new relationships or access to new ideas which prompts me to insist on it.


I'm still talking about the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of religions, not you.

iambiguous wrote:That, in regard to the main components of Buddhism, one is able to demonstrate to me that all enlightened men and women are obligated to become Buddhists.


I think I've given a fair sample of what I think a Buddhist would say above. Does that suffice?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:42 am

In Buddhism language is not used nor is it viewed in the same way that language is used in either most Western academic contexts nor in most Western common sense uses of language views. IOW much of this discussion is extremely naive philosophically, because it is just assumed that 'self' 'Karma' 'reincarnation' and all the other words Iamb wants to treat like nouns are used in Buddhism just like in common sense use of nouns and how nouns are used in science.

And in the actual practice of Buddhism a great deal of work is done to undermine how language is normally used and how thought about 'things' proceeds.

Since these assumptions are not even discussed and Iamb has no consciousness of his own assumptions in the philosophy of language, he might as well be discussing quantum theory with his kindergarten teacher.

Elsewhere Phyllo pointed out his tendency to hijack threads. Well the whole fucking thread is hijacked by his (non-existent) 'interest' but also by the general lack of knowledge of both Buddhism and the philosophy of language.

And then further by a heady approach to something that is learned by doing.

Like using flash cards to become a good husband or parent.

This is all mental wanking to a hilariously anti-Buddhist degree. Shut the fuck up, try meditating or don't. But the pretense that there is any real interest on Iamb's part is lie number one.

Anyone care to convince all rational people that Iamb is interested in Buddhism or interested in learning about it?

You don't just dismiss whole sections of posts as gibberish if one is interested. You actually get into specific questions about what you don't understand.
For example.

One is asked to accept this claim at face value and spend time engaging in a 'dialogue' based on this claim of interest.
Well, one could try out Buddhism based on a similar assumption.

But for some reason the latter needs to have an argument designed to convince every rational person to spend time doing Buddhism.
The former claim, and the whole activity of posting in a philosophy forum, does not require any such argument.

The entire enterprise of Iamb's criterion is based on a lie. You're engaging with a liar. Not that he has the insight to notice this himself.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:52 am

Karpel,

You’re only referring to particular sects of Zen Buddhism.

Yes. Zen Buddhism invented what the west now calls post modernism or post structuralism.

In Zen Buddhism you get a koan like “butterfly farts swim greenly” and you’re supposed to mediate on it for years. Kind of silly if you ask me.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:52 am

A koan can help you get out of the intellectual trap that you are in.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:41 pm

phyllo wrote:A koan can help you get out of the intellectual trap that you are in.


Actually a koan just turns the world into a world of iambiguous’. “Words are just words talking about words; no matter what you say, it has nothing to do with me. I’m not accountable for anything. Might makes right.”

It’s a disease on this planet.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:51 pm

No. It forces you out of your "world of words" because it's not understandable or solvable in terms of words.
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