I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:27 pm

Beyond true and false
Buddhist philosophy is full of contradictions. Now modern logic is learning why that might be a good thing
Graham Priest

Anyway, what did Nagarjuna make of this [noumenal/phenomenal] problem? Nothing much. He didn’t even comment on it. Perhaps that’s not so surprising: after all, he thought that certain things might be simultaneously true and false. But later Buddhist philosophers did try to wriggle out of it, not least the influential 15th-century Tibetan philosopher, Gorampa.


Certain things? How about actual things in particular? Things which through the language of philosphy or religion can be described as both "simultaneously true and false". And then demonstrated to be so. For Buddhists, in regard to either karma and enlightenment here and now, or reincarnation and Nirvana there and then.

What on earth are they talking about?

Gorampa was troubled enough by the situation that he attempted to distinguish between two ultimate realities: a real ultimate reality, which is ineffable, and a ‘nominal’ ultimate reality, which is what we end up talking about when we try to talk about the real ultimate.


How might one then connect the dots here between Plato and Buddha? Or is there an "ultimate reality" inside the cave as well as outside of it?

Okay, let's go there. But only in regard to a particular set of circumstances. And only in regard to things we think and feel are true about the situation are able to be demonstrated to others as in fact true for all of us. How far would that go?

But wait a minute – the nominal ultimate is obviously effable: by definition, it is the reality that we can talk about. In that case, if we say that ultimate reality is ineffable and we are actually talking about the nominal ultimate, what we are saying is false. Thus Gorampa’s proposal refutes itself.


Really, "serious philosophers" here, like Buddhist theologians, can go on and on and on discussing this sort of thing in intellectual contraptions such as these.

And all I can do is to challenge folks in places like this to bring them out into the world that they live in and explain how these ideas are applicable to the lives that they live.

Especially in regard to contexts in which value judgments come into conflict...precipitating discussions about here and now and there and then. Before and after we die.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:04 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
It might be rational to not covet your neighbor's wife because he's a big guy and if he even sniffs you staring at her he might preemptively beat the shit out of you. I lived next to a guy like that. They exist. They consider women their property. It is rational to not covet her. That doesn't make it moral. You have to have a certain attitude. Get it (the behavior is rational, and that's necessary for most people's conception of moral behavior ((or lack of immoral))) but it is not enough, you also have to do it for the right reasons. Or when the skinny little guy comes along with the hot wife, you will be immoral.


On the contrary, any number of religious folks, citing the Ten Commandments, do in fact construe such behavior as immoral. As a Sin against God. Punishable [for some] by eternal damnation in Hell. Just as secular objectivists like Ayn Rand considered it entirely rational [and thus moral] for Nathaniel Brandon [married to Barbara] to sleep with her. Indeed, he was morally obligated to because she construed herself to be the highest form of woman.

And it's one thing for men to deem women their property from the perspective of might makes right. But what of those like Satyr and his clique at KT who insist that this behavior is entirely in sync with that which nature compels. This then becoming their own "philosophical" rendition of right makes might.

Now, on this thread, what I am interested in exploring is how individual Buddhists react to coveting their neighbor's spouse. And then acting on it. And then configuring this behaviour "in their head" as it relates to their understanding of enlightenment and karma, as that is connected to their understanding of reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side. In other words, given their religious values what are the actual consequences -- here and now, there and then -- of the behaviors they choose.

Also, my point is that the "attitudes" that particular individuals acquire here is rooted as much or more in dasein as in anything they might come to conclude as philosophers or ethicists or religionists.

Further there are rational reasons for stealing as Phyllo has pointed out: do I need to hold your hand through that also? A behavior being rational - that is you effectively move towards a goal through it, arriving at your behavior through logical analysis - is insufficient to make it a moral behavior. Stealing, to most religious and even most secular people, is not moral, though it can be seen as rational by many.


Again, in any particular context where stealing becomes a matter of survival, it can be rationalized as acceptable behavior. But, for some, that doesn't make it any less immoral. And what of those who couldn't care less about pinning down the behaviors they choose as either right or wrong. They do what they do because it furthers their own self-interest. Period. You'll see that more and more if the coronavirus crisis really begins to deepen. Assessments of rational/irrational, moral/immoral, sufficient/insufficient behavior will begin to blur more and more. It will depend on the context perceived in a particular way.

After all, why on earth do you suppose hundreds of millions of men and women turn to one or another religious narrative in the first place? With God all of these conflicted distinctions are resolved on Judgment Day.

It's just that with Buddhism, there appears to be no God and thus no Judgment Day. So, how does it work "for all practical purposes" when the rubber meets the road...when conflicting assessments of enlightened behavior here and now are reconfigured into reincarnation and Nirvana there and then.

One can go on and on and on making these technical distinctions between rational and sufficient reasons. But where does that get you on the day you die? What does it mean -- philosophically, theologically, spiritually -- to have thought that through correctly?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:51 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Insufficient in regard to what set of circumstances?


Not insufficient in relation to circumstances. Insuffienct as a criterion for moral. To be moral you generally have to be good.

I swear, you gotta be just playing dumb to torture. I can do the time crossword and use, on some of the questions, rational deduction to come up with the answers. That doesn't make it a moral act. And if my wife was suffering in the bedroom and asking for water, most religious people would say that while I approached solving the puzzle rationally I did not act morally by ignoring her calls. It might even be rational for me to do this. Perhaps I stand to inherit big bucks and I am an unloving ass and her dying in there benefits me. But that 'being rational' is insufficient to meet the criteria of being moral.


Then we think about this differently. Given the context above there are those who will insist that the husband has a moral obligation to his wife. They might cite God or the Golden Rule or one or another deontological assessment of human interactions. They might quote some ideological manifesto or claim that it is natural to behave in certain ways. They might link rationality and morality as any number of philosophers have down through the ages.

But the bottom line is that for one or another reason the husband is morally obligated to respond to her calls. And, if he chooses not to, he will be punished. By God. By those mere mortals who learn of his behavior and shun him, reject him, evict him or even beat the shit out of him.

What I focus in on instead is why, in any particular context, the man chooses to do what he did. When others might choose something else. How is that related to the particular sequence of experiences, relationships and access to ideas in his life that predisposed him to act in a way that another's collection of existential variables do not. And, given all of the different historical, cultural and experiential contexts there have been down through the ages, is there a way for philosophers to pin down the most rational behavior or the only rational behavior.

As you point out, given sufficient reason, ignoring the wife can easily be rationalized by any particular individual in any particular set of circumstances. That's the whole point of moral objectivism -- to make situational ethics go away. Some through God and religion, some through No God and religion.

And how might a moral nihilist, a moral objectivist, a Christian or a Buddhist describe their own reactions as more or less sufficient given that set of circumstances?


Karpel Tunnel wrote: Now you are just muddying the waters and throwing a bunch of unnecessary things at me. Take small steps. Resolve one issue, if possible, move to others.


Why don't you stick to noting the distinctions these folks are likely to make given the context you noted above.

The coronavirus for example. If the rationality of any particular choice is insufficient as a criterion for judging the behavior of others, what might be more sufficient? Or sufficient enough. And if the assessments here come into conflict, what then?


Karpel Tunnel wrote: Exactly what I said above....


Ditto regarding my reaction to that above. We think about these things differently. It's just that the way I think about them leaves me "fractured and fragmented" in a way that either does or does not resonate with you.

Ought I to respond to someone's cries for help? Am I obligated to as a rational and virtuous human being? Even in a No God world? That's all buried in dasein, conflicting goods and whatever the consequences might be when others react to the behavior that "I" do choose.

The rest is basically just you taunting me, for, among other things, not being able to follow your simple arguments. Me being "dumb just to torture you". Me being the "asshole", here.

And, then, of course, what I suspect is behind that.
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
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:03 pm

felix dakat wrote:The frowning upon describing ultimate reality by words is common to all teachings of the Buddha.


Indeed, there is only so far that words can go in describing enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana.

On the other hand, once they have served their inherently circumscribed purpose, what then is left by way of demonstrating they are in fact ultimately real things.

Especially when, in acting out what you think they mean by the behaviors you choose, those behaviors themselves come into conflict with the idealized choices of others.

Let alone going beyond words to make the stuff after we die more tangible.
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 felix dakat » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:16 pm

iambiguous wrote:
felix dakat wrote:The frowning upon describing ultimate reality by words is common to all teachings of the Buddha.


Indeed, there is only so far that words can go in describing enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana.

On the other hand, once they have served their inherently circumscribed purpose, what then is left by way of demonstrating they are in fact ultimately real things.

Especially when, in acting out what you think they mean by the behaviors you choose, those behaviors themselves come into conflict with the idealized choices of others.

Let alone going beyond words to make the stuff after we die more tangible.


Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:23 pm

felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
felix dakat wrote:The frowning upon describing ultimate reality by words is common to all teachings of the Buddha.


Indeed, there is only so far that words can go in describing enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana.

On the other hand, once they have served their inherently circumscribed purpose, what then is left by way of demonstrating they are in fact ultimately real things.

Especially when, in acting out what you think they mean by the behaviors you choose, those behaviors themselves come into conflict with the idealized choices of others.

Let alone going beyond words to make the stuff after we die more tangible.


Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers.


Seriously, do you actually imagine this is a substantive response to the points I raised?
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 MagsJ » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:51 pm

felix dakat wrote:Zen master Nan-Chuan said:

The way does not depend on what you know or do not know.
If you know it, your knowledge is just speculative ideas.
If you don't, your ignorance is like the inanimate.
When you have no doubts, the unlimited universe will open in front of you, and no discrimination is possible.

Question: One could say.. how do you differentiate Knowing from Non-doubt, to reach that state of unlimitedness?

Answer: It’s all in the Practise?

Why? because there are no short-cuts.. your path, becoming a life-long objective to stay on, once that point of inquisitive-no-return has been reached.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

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


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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby felix dakat » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:58 pm

MagsJ wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Zen master Nan-Chuan said:

The way does not depend on what you know or do not know.
If you know it, your knowledge is just speculative ideas.
If you don't, your ignorance is like the inanimate.
When you have no doubts, the unlimited universe will open in front of you, and no discrimination is possible.

Question: One could say.. how do you differentiate Knowing from Non-doubt, to reach that state of unlimitedness?

Answer: It’s all in the Practise?

Why? because there are no short-cuts.. your path, becoming a life-long objective to stay on, once that point of inquisitive-no-return has been reached.


A path is formed by walking on it.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:37 am

felix dakat wrote:Why? because there are no short-cuts.. your path, becoming a life-long objective to stay on, once that point of inquisitive-no-return has been reached.
A path is formed by walking on it.

..every step forming the path behind, making way for what lays ahead.. the now, future journey, soon to unfold and become a known.. the way forward.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

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


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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:00 pm

MagsJ wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Why? because there are no short-cuts.. your path, becoming a life-long objective to stay on, once that point of inquisitive-no-return has been reached.
A path is formed by walking on it.

..every step forming the path behind, making way for what lays ahead.. the now, future journey, soon to unfold and become a known.. the way forward.

Living in the present moment, I know it is a wonderful moment.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:07 pm

iambiguous wrote:Seriously, do you actually imagine this is a substantive response to the points I raised?


All phenomena of being are independent of concepts and words. Concepts and words cannot transform them or separate them from their true nature.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby promethean75 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:13 pm

Felix and magsj: before you understand the wisdom of the pathmaker, you must answer this question.

What is the sound of one leg walking?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:41 pm

promethean75 wrote:Felix and magsj: before you understand the wisdom of the pathmaker, you must answer this question.

What is the sound of one leg walking?



When a foolish man hears of the Path, he laughs out loud. If he didn’t laugh, it wouldn’t be the Path.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:02 pm

Pearls before swine. But then, I think shifting over to non-discursive is peachy. people were certainly not 'getting Buddhism' by hallucinating in long sentences about things they have no experience of.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby promethean75 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:03 pm

Maybe we should become familiarized with the fundamentals before we attempt to discuss it responsibly.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby felix dakat » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:45 pm

promethean75 wrote:Maybe we should become familiarized with the fundamentals before we attempt to discuss it responsibly.


Love JP Sears.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:48 pm

felix dakat wrote:Living in the present moment, I know it is a wonderful moment.
felix dakat wrote:
promethean75 wrote:Felix and magsj: before you understand the wisdom of the pathmaker, you must answer this question.

What is the sound of one leg walking?

When a foolish man hears of the Path, he laughs out loud. If he didn’t laugh, it wouldn’t be the Path.

Once you are on your path, your path will start leading you to where you need to go.

Well that was fun, while it lasted,

@Prom: as opposed to one hand clapping? and what a ridiculous rumination that one was. 8-[ Regardless of that, I’ll go with option b).
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

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


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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:16 am

promethean75 wrote:Maybe we should become familiarized with the fundamentals before we attempt to discuss it responsibly.

There's actually some nice critique in there not only of the bizzarre ways people use a belief system to further their old habits, but also a nice critiques of Buddhism itself.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:32 pm

felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Seriously, do you actually imagine this is a substantive response to the points I raised?


All phenomena of being are independent of concepts and words. Concepts and words cannot transform them or separate them from their true nature.


Okay, now connect the dots between this observation, Buddhism [as you "get" it] and, say, the coronavirus pandemic. As this relates to your understanding of karma and enlightenment on this side of the grave. As that relates to your understanding of reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side of it.

Criticize me for ever and always going in this direction, but that reflects my own actual interest in both religion and philosophy.

Morality here and now, immortality there and then.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:35 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Pearls before swine. But then, I think shifting over to non-discursive is peachy. people were certainly not 'getting Buddhism' by hallucinating in long sentences about things they have no experience of.


Ah, this must explain why we get no actual response from you regarding my two most recent posts above in which, in some detail, I took the time to respond to your points.
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 felix dakat » Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:04 pm

iambiguous wrote:Okay, now connect the dots between this observation, Buddhism [as you "get" it] and, say, the coronavirus pandemic. As this relates to your understanding of karma and enlightenment on this side of the grave. As that relates to your understanding of reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side of it.

Criticize me for ever and always going in this direction, but that reflects my own actual interest in both religion and philosophy.

Morality here and now, immortality there and then.


All phenomena of being are independent from the dots, Buddhism, the coronavirus pandemic, karma, enlightenment, this side of the grave, reincarnation, Nirvana and the other side of the grave which are all words and/or concepts.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:23 pm

Now we’re talking :)
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

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


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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:40 pm

felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Okay, now connect the dots between this observation, Buddhism [as you "get" it] and, say, the coronavirus pandemic. As this relates to your understanding of karma and enlightenment on this side of the grave. As that relates to your understanding of reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side of it.

Criticize me for ever and always going in this direction, but that reflects my own actual interest in both religion and philosophy.

Morality here and now, immortality there and then.


All phenomena of being are independent from the dots, Buddhism, the coronavirus pandemic, karma, enlightenment, this side of the grave, reincarnation, Nirvana and the other side of the grave which are all words and/or concepts.


Note to others:

What on earth does this have to do with the real world? The one we live in socially, politically and economically.

Yes, what we exchange here are words and concepts. But physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, geologists, meteorologists etc., exchange words and concepts in their venues too.

Only they are able to connect the dots between words and worlds.

Now, sure, if philosophers and ethicists and theologians here wish to sustain exchanges in which their words make little or no contact at all with the world we live in, fine, let them do their thing.

It's just not my thing. I am more interested in exploring how the words we convey here in regard to Buddhism are "for all practical purposes" relevant to the lives that we live. And, in particular, when, in living those lives as Buddhists, one comes into conflict with other Buddhists or other religious denominations or the No God folks in regard to what it means to embody karma and enlightenment here and now when behaviors come into conflict out in a particular context as a result of conflicting goods.

Then how that is connected to what one thinks about the part after we die.

Then the extent to which one can actually go about demonstrating that what they do think here is in fact true.

I merely focus in turn on the manner in which identity and political power might come into play as well. Re my own understanding of dasein as an existential component and political economy as a component of Marxism.
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 felix dakat » Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:59 pm

iambiguous wrote:
felix dakat wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Okay, now connect the dots between this observation, Buddhism [as you "get" it] and, say, the coronavirus pandemic. As this relates to your understanding of karma and enlightenment on this side of the grave. As that relates to your understanding of reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side of it.

Criticize me for ever and always going in this direction, but that reflects my own actual interest in both religion and philosophy.

Morality here and now, immortality there and then.


All phenomena of being are independent from the dots, Buddhism, the coronavirus pandemic, karma, enlightenment, this side of the grave, reincarnation, Nirvana and the other side of the grave which are all words and/or concepts.


Note to others:

What on earth does this have to do with the real world? The one we live in socially, politically and economically.

Yes, what we exchange here are words and concepts. But physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, geologists, meteorologists etc., exchange words and concepts in their venues too.

Only they are able to connect the dots between words and worlds.

Now, sure, if philosophers and ethicists and theologians here wish to sustain exchanges in which their words make little or no contact at all with the world we live in, fine, let them do their thing.

It's just not my thing. I am more interested in exploring how the words we convey here in regard to Buddhism are "for all practical purposes" relevant to the lives that we live. And, in particular, when, in living those lives as Buddhists, one comes into conflict with other Buddhists or other religious denominations or the No God folks in regard to what it means to embody karma and enlightenment here and now when behaviors come into conflict out in a particular context as a result of conflicting goods.

Then how that is connected to what one thinks about the part after we die.

Then the extent to which one can actually go about demonstrating that what they do think here is in fact true.

I merely focus in turn on the manner in which identity and political power might come into play as well. Re my own understanding of dasein as an existential component and political economy as a component of Marxism.


Your so-called "real world" is nothing more than an image in your mind. The real "real world" encompasses you, and is infinite and unbounded. You cannot know it although you are a part of it and it is a part of you. You are a drop of water in an infinite ocean. Glub. Glub.

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felix dakat
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:14 pm

felix dakat wrote:Your so-called "real world" is nothing more than an image in your mind. The real "real world" encompasses you, and is infinite and unbounded. You cannot know it although you are a part of it and it is a part of you. You are a drop of water in an infinite ocean. Glub. Glub.


Note to others...

Make of this what you will. You know, as it relates to the actual life you go about living from day to day to day. =D> #-o =D>
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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