Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:47 am

Greetings,

I have been meaning to update this for a while, but upon noticing that the E-Sangha Beginners Buddhism Library has been shut down (and along with it, the only online version of this document), it seems like an opportune time to do so now.

The purpose of this booklet is to provide an introduction to the Dhamma for those who are naturally of a skeptical disposition. It addresses key Buddhist concepts in a way that they are verifiable for oneself through either logic or personal experience and opens the doors to further investigation of the Buddha's teachings.

Feel free to provide comment, feedback or send to loved ones as you see fit.

Metta,
Retro. :)

( attachment removed: latest version downloadable at http://www.justbegood.net/Downloads.htm )
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:25 am

Thanks for this Retro :reading:
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Jechbi » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:03 am

Very cool, thanks. :anjali:

I liked this bit:
One interesting point of note is that the concept of Right View only refers to
views which have a bearing on suffering. Right View is not concerned about
mundane knowledge which is irrelevant to the elimination of suffering. If we
falsely believed that the sun was a flat disc or that spiders have ten legs, it
would neither be “right view” nor “wrong view” with respect to the Noble
Eightfold Path. As far as eliminating suffering goes, such information is
trivial and irrelevant.

One thing: Would it be worthwhile to include a section in there about how the term "right" is used in Buddhism? Lots of skeptics might immediately imagine that we're talking about "right" and "wrong," or "good" and "evil" or something like that. But obviously that's not what "samma" means. For the modern skeptic, a fuller explanation of the notion of "samma" might resonate very well.

:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby sukhamanveti » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:03 am

Well done. :twothumbsup:
Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Fede » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:20 am

Jechbi wrote:One thing: Would it be worthwhile to include a section in there about how the term "right" is used in Buddhism? Lots of skeptics might immediately imagine that we're talking about "right" and "wrong," or "good" and "evil" or something like that. But obviously that's not what "samma" means. For the modern skeptic, a fuller explanation of the notion of "samma" might resonate very well.

:smile:


I had always understood "Right" to imply 'skilful' as opposed to 'correct'......

I'm about 20 years behind everyone else on Reading and listening..... so I hope I'm on the right track. :hello:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:01 pm

Right View
Right View relates to having a correct understanding of the Four Noble
Truths and understanding the relationship between craving and suffering.
Right View begins with this conceptual framework and is strengthened as we
experience the consequences of the Four Noble Truths personally in our
daily lives.
One interesting point of note is that the concept of Right View only refers to
views which have a bearing on suffering. Right View is not concerned about
mundane knowledge which is irrelevant to the elimination of suffering. If we
falsely believed that the sun was a flat disc or that spiders have ten legs, it
would neither be “right view” nor “wrong view” with respect to the Noble
Eightfold Path. As far as eliminating suffering goes, such information is
trivial and irrelevant.


I like this bit of it, very good explanation of Right View
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Feel free to send to loved ones...

Done... :heart:
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Zack » Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:38 am

Thanks Retro
I seem to recall it being a beneficial work, I'll read it again.
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:26 am

Great job, retro!

I just finished reading it the other day and see that this is now hosted on a Buddhist website!

Congratulations!

Just Be Good
http://www.justbegood.net/Downloads.htm

(Just scroll down to the E-Books section to find it)
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Individual » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:29 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I have been meaning to update this for a while, but upon noticing that the E-Sangha Beginners Buddhism Library has been shut down (and along with it, the only online version of this document), it seems like an opportune time to do so now.

The purpose of this booklet is to provide an introduction to the Dhamma for those who are naturally of a skeptical disposition. It addresses key Buddhist concepts in a way that they are verifiable for oneself through either logic or personal experience and opens the doors to further investigation of the Buddha's teachings.

Feel free to provide comment, feedback or send to loved ones as you see fit.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Another sub-forum gone? E-Sangha is like a doctor that amputates a patient's limb when they complain of pain or injury.

Somebody who is clever ought to create a webspider to download e-Sangha's entire forum and have a clone of it uploaded somewhere.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:41 am

Greetings,

Individual wrote:Another sub-forum gone? E-Sangha is like a doctor that amputates a patient's limb when they complain of pain or injury.


To be fair, the libraries had become completely neglected with Ben's departure as an E-Sangha mod/librarian in December 2008. On the other hand, it was a genuinely good resource, and if the view counts (and download counts) were anything to go by, it was valued by members too.

If I recall correctly, I think the earlier copies of Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic that I had posted there was downloaded somewhere in the order of 1000-1500 times, if that's any indication of the earlier traffic there.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:00 am

Already at one of my websites too:

http://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=B ... rn_Skeptic

I'll also put another link at one of my other websites later.
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby appicchato » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:37 am

retrofuturist wrote:If I recall correctly, I think the earlier copies of Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic that I had posted there was downloaded somewhere in the order of 1000-1500 times, if that's any indication of the earlier traffic there.

Happy...and impressed...to see it at 'Just Be Good'...well done Paul... :thumbsup:
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:42 am

Thanks bhante.

Mr Lee said he has found "the ultra down-to-earth and practical approach" to Buddhism to be beneficial to his readers/users, and said the text was "clear and well-written and it will certainly appeal to the 'skeptics' around us".

Thanks to you, Fede and others who have had a hand in the tinkering and tweaking of the text over the past couple of years.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Fede » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:12 am

And thanks to you for having the confidence in me to not butcher the piece.
It was a pleasure and a privilege.

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Mawkish1983 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:24 pm

Hi there :),

I hope you don't mind Retro, but I've printed out a copy of your book for a friend of mine at work who was enquiring yesterday. He didn't want me to send him any links, saying he'd never get the time (and would forget) to check online... so I said I'd print him a copy out to read.

I've not actually read it yet myself, but it does look rather apt at first glance :)

Thank you!
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:09 pm

This was a good resource. Are you and the other mods planning to create a resource library similar to the one we used to have at you-know-where? :tongue:

J
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:38 pm

Greetings,

Mawkish1983.... that's fine, thanks for thinking of it!

Bubbabuddhist... Blackbird has been working on compiling a list of resources here ( viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3012 ). We could potentially host some things here but it seems more plausible to do that at DhammaWiki, or even do what Blackbird has done elsewhere and send things to What Buddha Taught (and other such minded sites) for their consideration.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:11 pm

Hi, everyone - two quick comments:

'Buddhism for the Modern Sceptic' is a very good introduction to that way of thinking about the dhamma. The two books called 'The Naked Buddha' which prompted the thread of that name http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3058 explore the same ideas in more depth.

I can't see much advantage in endless reduplication of online resources. Isn't it more economical of everyone's time and server space to simply host a page of annotated links here?

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Buddhism For The Modern Skeptic

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:06 pm

Very good points all.

As I recall there were some unique documents, such as Venerable Dhamananando's essays on Abhidhamma and others which were most instructive. Having these under one roof seemed like a useful thing.

J
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?
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