I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:21 pm

What are the different places?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby zinnat » Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:42 am

There is no such one true spiritual path. All paths are valid so whatever works for one. However the ultimate goal is the only one for each and every path. Intermediate stations during that journey may differ to some extent. Having said that, some religions/ paths stop before the ultimate goal.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:08 am

phyllo wrote:What are the different places?

Well, if you medidate in a mindfulness tradition and focus on observing your thoughts and emotions, just observing them, it seems to me you will reach, after many years, a different place than someone in a Bhakti Hindu ecstatic tradition or someone who spends their time focusing on love of Jesus and trying to see Jesus in everyone they meet or than a shaman who focuses on going through the underworld and seeking visions of a deity or many. For examples. There are other traditions also. IOW you are training to do quite different things, and in neurological terms, you are engaging different parts of the brain and involving the neuronal clumps in the heart and gut regions quite differently also. I meant place metaphorically.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby zinnat » Wed Oct 21, 2020 6:12 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
phyllo wrote:What are the different places?

Well, if you medidate in a mindfulness tradition and focus on observing your thoughts and emotions, just observing them, it seems to me you will reach, after many years, a different place than someone in a Bhakti Hindu ecstatic tradition or someone who spends their time focusing on love of Jesus and trying to see Jesus in everyone they meet or than a shaman who focuses on going through the underworld and seeking visions of a deity or many. For examples. There are other traditions also. IOW you are training to do quite different things, and in neurological terms, you are engaging different parts of the brain and involving the neuronal clumps in the heart and gut regions quite differently also. I meant place metaphorically.


Yes, something like that though not exactly. Details are different but your thought direction is right.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:11 am

zinnat wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:
phyllo wrote:What are the different places?

Well, if you medidate in a mindfulness tradition and focus on observing your thoughts and emotions, just observing them, it seems to me you will reach, after many years, a different place than someone in a Bhakti Hindu ecstatic tradition or someone who spends their time focusing on love of Jesus and trying to see Jesus in everyone they meet or than a shaman who focuses on going through the underworld and seeking visions of a deity or many. For examples. There are other traditions also. IOW you are training to do quite different things, and in neurological terms, you are engaging different parts of the brain and involving the neuronal clumps in the heart and gut regions quite differently also. I meant place metaphorically.


Yes, something like that though not exactly. Details are different but your thought direction is right.

With love,
Sanjay
That's exactly the reaction I had to your posts.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby zinnat » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:37 am

[/quote]That's exactly the reaction I had to your posts.[/quote]

Okay.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:09 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
phyllo wrote:What are the different places?

Well, if you medidate in a mindfulness tradition and focus on observing your thoughts and emotions, just observing them, it seems to me you will reach, after many years, a different place than someone in a Bhakti Hindu ecstatic tradition or someone who spends their time focusing on love of Jesus and trying to see Jesus in everyone they meet or than a shaman who focuses on going through the underworld and seeking visions of a deity or many. For examples. There are other traditions also. IOW you are training to do quite different things, and in neurological terms, you are engaging different parts of the brain and involving the neuronal clumps in the heart and gut regions quite differently also. I meant place metaphorically.

I tend to think that people who share essentially the same biology and live in the same universe would reach the same understanding and insights.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:16 am

phyllo wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:
phyllo wrote:What are the different places?

Well, if you medidate in a mindfulness tradition and focus on observing your thoughts and emotions, just observing them, it seems to me you will reach, after many years, a different place than someone in a Bhakti Hindu ecstatic tradition or someone who spends their time focusing on love of Jesus and trying to see Jesus in everyone they meet or than a shaman who focuses on going through the underworld and seeking visions of a deity or many. For examples. There are other traditions also. IOW you are training to do quite different things, and in neurological terms, you are engaging different parts of the brain and involving the neuronal clumps in the heart and gut regions quite differently also. I meant place metaphorically.

I tend to think that people who share essentially the same biology and live in the same universe would reach the same understanding and insights.
I notice that people who share the same biology and live in the same universe reach different understandings and insights. And then also states of mind, which is where I was focused. And also modes of life.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:44 am

Some of those understandings and insights are mistaken.

These practices are supposed to lead to a clearer, truer understanding. Therefore, I think that they ought to converge. If not to one point then to multiple uniquely identifiable points.

That's what I'm focusing on because states of mind and modes of life could be called subjective.

Is there some objective enlightenment?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:17 pm

phyllo wrote:Some of those understandings and insights are mistaken.

These practices are supposed to lead to a clearer, truer understanding. Therefore, I think that they ought to converge. If not to one point then to multiple uniquely identifiable points.

That's what I'm focusing on because states of mind and modes of life could be called subjective.

Is there some objective enlightenment?

I'm not arguing there is. I think if your main practice is filled with passion and is decidedly interpersonal, this will lead to you have different experiences and expertise, states of mind, than someone who has a detached, not interpersonal, emotionally calm practice. In a sense like any two people learning two quite different skills will, when they perform their art or job, will perform differently. Perhaps some understandings will be the same, perhaps not. But it seems likely to me that if one set of practices is intentionally engaging the amygdala as central to the practice and the other is detaching from it, what one experiences down the line, and what one is like down the line will have significant differences.

And then, also, different understandings of the role of emotions and what one is striving for.

This also fits my experience of the people who have been practicing these traditions for a long time. They have rather different presences, especially if we include pagan/indigenous/shamanistic practitioners creating a third distinct mode, different ways of relating (as tendencies in the groups) and different insights.

It's not a coincidence that Buddhism tends to no self in ways that other practices do not. That some traditions have a no self rebirth and others a full on reincarnation. Or that the Christians have no reincarnation and a heavy moral focus. Or that the submissive self effacing practices (which include a kind of fatalism) in Islam leads to the way Muslims live and behave and relate to death.

Different practices, different parts of the brain, different foci.

I feel like it's a cliche that they all lead to the same place, same beliefs.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:48 pm

Then Biggus' "all in the head" might be a valid point.

The understandings and insights could be entirely imagined into existence. Each particular practice leading to a particular kind of "dream state". Different dream states because of the focus and emphasis of the practice but still only dream states.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 1:44 pm

phyllo wrote:Then Biggus' "all in the head" might be a valid point.

The understandings and insights could be entirely imagined into existence. Each particular practice leading to a particular kind of "dream state". Different dream states because of the focus and emphasis of the practice but still only dream states.
Sure it could be.

But let's separate out a few things.

We have

1) the states of consciousness or ways of experiencing or what it feels like to be alive when one has engaged in the practices for a long time.
2) the assertions or understandings about reality - iow verbal descriptions of what is true.

You might have very different modes of life with similar assertions about the nature of reality. You might have different modes of life and different assertions about the nature or reality. Some assertions might be objectively correct. Some modes of living might feel better than others for everyone, for some, or might fit personal desires or goals or preferences.

There are a lot of possibilities here.

Reality might have various aspects also, and each path ends up giving one insights into a different, perhaps overlapping, set of qualities and truths.
Perhaps reality is much more flexible than some realize and there is more than one objective truth, even contradictory ones.

My main focus in this last part of the discussion is on the idea that different practices will lead to different ways of experiencing and perhaps different conclusions about the nature of reality. How compatible these are I think is up in the air.

And this includes what someone like Iamb concludes, even about what is possible, what is epistemologically sound and so on. His metaposition is just as subject to all this. Which he admits. We all have practices. And practices lead to experiences and beliefs (along with inborn traits and temperment).

When you choose a set of habits, they will set you up for what and how you experience, and also what you believe. Or if you are a determinist, you might say the habits and your genes cause your experiences and beliefs.

My sense is people in different religions with different religious practices (and of course different religious texts and foci and assertions) end up with quite different worldviews and ways of experiencing. A Western Buddhist may have much more in common with an utterly secular non-Buddhist non-meditator than they do with a Muslim cleric who spends as much time in prayer as the Buddhist spends meditating. Much more in common when it comes to morals, beliefs, temperment, ways of experiencing the world, prioritization of emotions/reasoning and so on. A shaman is going to experience dreams, waking, nature, animals, the past, selves radically differently (at least a good deal of the time) than a Hindu or an atheist in Detroit or a Christian. A psychoanalyst will experience a conversation quite differently from an Orthodox jew (unless he is one). The way they each would view 'what is going on' in the conversation will likely be radically different.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:18 pm

The point, for me, is to strip away these differences in experience and to have 'raw' experience ... without the filters that being a Jew or Hindu or Christian introduces.

I see that as the objective experience of being human. And it's that experience which produces understanding and insight.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:09 pm

Pardon my repetitions. I am exploring the ideas in this, fussing over the ideas, my memories of the various adherants, the practices, neurobiology.....
phyllo wrote:The point, for me, is to strip away these differences in experience and to have 'raw' experience ... without the filters that being a Jew or Hindu or Christian introduces.

I see that as the objective experience of being human. And it's that experience which produces understanding and insight.
OK, but we all have really quite different brains. There's that thing about cab drivers in London. Because they have to memorize the complicated disorganized streets of London (much harder than those of Paris, says) they actually change the size of their hippocampus. Well, if as a Christian you focus on relationship and prayer with passion (there are other ways to be Christian but there are general differences between Christianity and Buddhism), you are activating and participating in the amydala. You are identifying with the amygdala and also engaging in an active relationship with Jesus, God and/or Mary.) You may end up with a kind of 'raw' experiencing of the world, but you will have that with a very active amydala, identification with emotions, and a relational attitude. A Buddhist who meditates in the mindfulness approach (say Vipassana), is detaching and not identifying with the amydala and emotions, she is not practicing a relational exercise. At the end of this process her experience of raw reality is going to be quite different from the Christian.
The animist Shaman walking in the woods is not having the same experience as a botanist, unless the botanist went through shamanic training. We are all training into paradigms and these affect experiences. But at an even more raw level, we are training different ways of experiencing. Experience is not passive, even in the most Buddhist or meditators. The brain is creating and anticipating experience, the emotions are involved or not, there is goal seeking or the goal is to merely notice (iow the goals are different). 'There is an enormous difference between how one experiences the face of someone else if one is trained to detach from emotions, focus on sense stimuli,
or
if one has trained to engage with experience interpersonally.

Even if, somehow, one had no filters, the dynamic relation with what is outside, the other, is very different. My raw and your raw will be different. (and this is leaving out genetic differences. The brain is heuroplastic but there are genetic tendencies and of course these affect how we train our brains also. What we choose to emphasize).

I think the idea of raw experience fits better a Buddhist experience also. I don't think that is the goal of Christian practices - in general, as a tendency. The Christian beliefs place tremendous value on what is beyond everyday experience. The numinous. Animist shamans could be seen as doing this, but they don't split the realms into immanent and transcendent. It's all immanent to them.

The Western mind places what it would call visions, dreams, hallucinations as added onto raw experience. To the shaman the Westerner has ADDED a filter to keep them from noticing true essences and real phenomena that are there if you don't have cultural blinders.

One person's raw is another person's filtered reality.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby zinnat » Thu Oct 22, 2020 3:32 am

phyllo wrote:The point, for me, is to strip away these differences in experience and to have 'raw' experience ... without the filters that being a Jew or Hindu or Christian introduces.


phyllo wrote:Then Biggus' "all in the head" might be a valid point.

The understandings and insights could be entirely imagined into existence. Each particular practice leading to a particular kind of "dream state". Different dream states because of the focus and emphasis of the practice but still only dream states.


No, he does not have any point here. The reason is that though it is true that any individual may think or believe whatever he/she finds suitable but all humans are hardwired with a same neuro-biological system which enables and governs spiritual journey so when this journey is triggered for any reasons there is only one particular way how is going to pan out irrespective of one's thinking or belief.

And, there is only one thing that can trigger this journey which is mental concentration. It does not matter what causes this concentration, the result would be the same in each and every case. That is why it helps greatly if one has some kind of faith, It does not matter what one's faith is or whether it is right or wrong as it all will get corrected with spiritual experiences and thus derived knowledge. Having said that, faith is not necessary. One can also have required level of concentration using purely mental exercises but that route is difficult and does not work in the most cases though theoretically it should.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 22, 2020 6:29 pm

phyllo wrote:Then Biggus' "all in the head" might be a valid point.


Just for the record, by "all in the head", I make a clear distinction between what someone believes or claims to know about Buddhism "in their head", and what they are able to demonstrate that all rational [and for some all virtuous] men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

I merely shift the focus in discussions of religion to that which they believe "in their head" motivates them to choose particular behaviors on this side of the grave in a world bursting at the seams with conflicting goods --- given that which they believe "in their head" about God or the Buddhist equivalent of God, given what is at stake in regard to immortality, salvation, reincarnation and Nirvana on the other side of the grave..

The part that folks like Zinnat steer completely away from. Why? Because, in my view, all he has in the way of "evidence" is what he believes "in his head". And the last place he wants to go is where I take that.

Instead, he is far more comfortable sustaining his convictions in "general description intellectual contraptions" like this:

No, he does not have any point here. The reason is that though it is true that any individual may think or believe whatever he/she finds suitable but all humans are hardwired with a same neuro-biological system which enables and governs spiritual journey so when this journey is triggered for any reasons there is only one particular way how is going to pan out irrespective of one's thinking or belief.

And, there is only one thing that can trigger this journey which is mental concentration. It does not matter what causes this concentration, the result would be the same in each and every case. That is why it helps greatly if one has some kind of faith, It does not matter what one's faith is or whether it is right or wrong as it all will get corrected with spiritual experiences and thus derived knowledge. Having said that, faith is not necessary. One can also have required level of concentration using purely mental exercises but that route is difficult and does not work in the most cases though theoretically it should.
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 zinnat » Fri Oct 23, 2020 4:33 am

Lamb,

I am not that kind of person who takes decisions in haste. I give myself more than enough time to make up its mind but when I decide anything, I stay put. That is my default nature.

So, when I said that I done with you that means I am really done with you thus these kind of provocations will not help your cause in any way. You can keep trying if you want but I am not taking the bait.

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:09 pm

zinnat wrote: Lamb,

I am not that kind of person who takes decisions in haste. I give myself more than enough time to make up its mind but when I decide anything, I stay put. That is my default nature.


Okay, but there are many others here and elsewhere who have very, very different assessments of God and religion and all things spiritual. Also, very, very different assessments of the "right thing to do" morally and politically. And they too will assure us of much the same thing that you do.

Right?

But what doesn't go away for any of us is that, if we choose to interact with others, we must choose behaviors in a world where these different paths can come into conflict and particular rules of behavior must be put in place rewarding and punishing particular behaviors in order to sustain the least dysfunctional communities.

So, I ask those who are religious or spiritual to note how their own understanding of this plays out in the behaviors that they do choose. And then how they connect the dots "in their heads" between the behaviors they choose here and now and what they believe will be the fate of "I" on the other side.

Then, with so much at stake, I ask them how they go about demonstrating that what they do think and believe, others should/must as well. Why? Because our very souls are on the line. And for all of eternity.

Right?

zinnat wrote: So, when I said that I done with you that means I am really done with you thus these kind of provocations will not help your cause in any way. You can keep trying if you want but I am not taking the bait.

With love,
Sanjay


That's your take on what I am doing here. It's not mine. Besides, in this tiny little corner of the internet that barely registers at all for the world at large what possible difference could it make what either one of us tries to do?

Be "done" with me then. Again. And "with love" no less.
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 Dan~ » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:27 pm

Is there some objective enlightenment?

Ofcourse. Enlightenment must be compatible with physics, math, chemistry, theory, etc.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:03 pm

Dreams and self-deception are compatible with physics, etc.

But is enlightenment more than an imagined understanding?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Dan~ » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:13 pm

phyllo wrote:Dreams and self-deception are compatible with physics, etc.
But is enlightenment more than an imagined understanding?

Enlightenment means illumination.
It is the complete clearing of distortions, illusions, half truths, etc.
Brightness, clarity, vision, comprehension,
Accuracy.

Enlightenment is a wonderful thing.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:43 pm

Okay. I agree with that.

But is it achievable? Or is it just plain impossible?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Dan~ » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:54 pm

phyllo wrote:Okay. I agree with that.

But is it achievable? Or is it just plain impossible?


Imagine someone doing the proper meditations for many hours a day.
Doing it religiously.

Someone with a higher sympathy would eventually emerge.
Exceptional cases can arise.
Then sometimes these same people try to help others reach similar heights.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:16 pm

The Case Against “Buddhism”
Randy Rosenthal talks to scholar Glenn Wallis about his thought-provoking new book A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real.
at Lion's Roar website
Lion's Roar describes itself as "BUDDHIST WISDOM for OUR TIME"

Randy Rosenthal: What is the “Real”?

Glenn Wallis: Buddhism is so unbelievably interesting because it has all of these “first names of the real,” as Laruelle would call them. The Real is a sort of a priori that all these different religious and philosophical and spiritual traditions are trying to get us to in some way — either to realize or to fuse with.


Ah, the "a priori" Real. And who can doubt that it's "out there" in the world and "in here" in our minds. And, sure, somehow it may even be possible someday for philosophers to actually explain how and when and where and why the two interact in the course of living our lives from day to day. It may even be possible to discern if our own speculations about the a priori involve some measure of free will.

In the interim, however, what on earth are we to make of various religious denominations speaking of the a priori in regard to morality here and now and immortality there and then.

Instead, most speculations of this sort are exchanged up in the invariably obtuse and abstruse clouds of intellectual abstraction. And that's the beauty of it for the "spiritually" inclined. It is knowledge that somehow we just know is true. Knowledge for which there is no actual evidence but can simply be deduced or defined into existence. Nirvana for example. Can one get much more a priori than that?

It’s a powerful element of human thought in Taoism, Confucianism — we see it in early Plato, in the pre-Socratics. Sometimes it’s called the “Real.” Sometimes it’s called the “One.” More often it’s called some other word altogether, like the “Tao,” or the “Truth.” It’s the notion that there is a really essential, important something that stands prior to our language and conceptualizations of self and existence.

Buddhism has tons of names for it, like emptiness, no self, dependent origination. It’s something that stands prior to and is unaffected by human language.


Call it whatever you want. Name it to your heart's content. Define it over and over again and provide it with meaning in one or another of Zinnat's or Felix's "spiritual contraptions".

Then bring all of this "really essential, important something that stands prior to our language" out into the world of conflicting goods. Out into a world in which each of us one by one dies. The part where many on their spiritual paths choose behaviors from day to day based on what they imagine [or want] the fate of "I" to be on "the other side".

Bring the a priori 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 phyllo » Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:31 pm

Glenn Wallis: Buddhism is so unbelievably interesting because it has all of these “first names of the real,” as Laruelle would call them. The Real is a sort of a priori that all these different religious and philosophical and spiritual traditions are trying to get us to in some way — either to realize or to fuse with.

It’s a powerful element of human thought in Taoism, Confucianism — we see it in early Plato, in the pre-Socratics. Sometimes it’s called the “Real.” Sometimes it’s called the “One.” More often it’s called some other word altogether, like the “Tao,” or the “Truth.” It’s the notion that there is a really essential, important something that stands prior to our language and conceptualizations of self and existence.

Buddhism has tons of names for it, like emptiness, no self, dependent origination. It’s something that stands prior to and is unaffected by human language.
That's it. That's what the monks are going after.
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