Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:58 pm

binocular wrote:
Jetavan wrote:I don't see how you got from the idea the world is conditioned and dependently arising, to the idea that the world is an "illusion".

It looks like a popular Mahayana influence.


Actually I meant it as in devoid of svabhava. Conditioned, transitory, in flux. Perhaps I should have been more detailed and precise. I didn't want my post to drag on. I assumed that as Buddhists we all kinda know the basics of the dharma and that I could crack on with my argumentation that lead to my point. This is not aimed at anyone in particular as a dig but I seem to be getting a lot of fine tuning of dogma instead of an answer of opinion on my overall original question.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:06 pm

binocular wrote:
NMRK32 wrote:/.../
We are not really here in the absolute sense, right? My cherished little self is an illusion. There is no eternal John in this body.
/.../

First of all, I really do make a point of not calling myself Buddhist, so take my input with this caveat.

I think you do not accurately present the teachings from the suttas, and that this is part (or most) of the problem you have with Buddhism.

A mistake on the level of theory leads to a mistake on the level of practice and that then leads to a mistake in realization.

I think it would take many many pages to explain where your interpretation differs from the suttas. Such discussions make up the majority of Buddhist forums anyway. So you're not alone. :)


I must respectfully reject the claim that I have a problem with Buddhism. I don't. Or that I don't present the sutras correctly. At the same time I do not claim omniscience either. I did not go into fine details because I just wanted to crack on with my argumentation instead of consuming another wall of text with a careful analysis of the dharma that would find everyone in absolute agreement. I don't think that would be possible. I offered a simple overview how ever rushed so I could finally get to my questions. I seem to be getting a lot of fine tubing on theory that ultimately doesn't answer any of the questions I posted or the argumentation I provided how ever crude. The sutras are always confusing anyway and not always clear judging from the various contesting translations and interpretations they receive. I have read countless posts where people sieve through tons of grammar trying to understand how things are meant and they still can't agree as to what or how it's being said. Another reason why I attempted to keep it basic and argue on the basis of the general overview of our tenets instead of pedantically fretting over which precise term t and structure to use. As for the amount of pages that it would take to correct me I guess it would be the same as a nuclear physicist would need to explain a 5th grader his science in complex mathematics. Or being the great accomplished teacher that he is he could just draw pictures on the blackboard and still get the kid to understand without the complex equations. This is where I believe we Buddhists actually lose the plot, pardon my french. We carry on and on with the Pali and the endless quoting of Scripture instead of cracking on with teaching each other and helping with the essential understanding on the dharma. We get lost in our own texts.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:00 pm

NMRK32 wrote:But if I'm a conventional reference with no substantial svabhava then any perception of dukkha is also just an illusion ultimately. To me right now for instance everything is real because I see them through the prism of my normal daily self as a reference point and a prism. But if I'm not really anything more than a collection of bits and bats that will dissolve upon death anyway then dukkha isn't really happening to nobody. Nobody is really experiencing it as nobody was ever born really. I was never here.

I think you've already answered your questions yourself based on the above. It boils down to which plane of truth one is able to experience. Buddhas and arahants can say that dukkha doesn't affect them for they have completely transcended all notion of "I", "mine", and "myself". And if there's no "I", "mine", and "myself", who is there to experience dukkha? Only they have earned the right to proclaim "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world". For us worldlings, although we can "say" that there's no "self" to experience dukkha, but are we able to put the money where the mouth is? Does lust still arise at the sight of a young voluptuous woman? Does greed still arise at the sight of huge wealth or fame? Does aversion and fear still arise when your nose and hands are being chopped off by somesone in war torn regions? Until one's mind remains perfectly calm and serene in front of any situation, there is still a very real and concrete "self" that s/he still needs to work with, and there's still the Triple Gem that one will need to go to to solve that issue. The wonderful Zen story below says it all:
A Zen student shows off his deep understanding to his master:
Student: "I'm just a wave in the ocean. Self is a delusional concept. There's no one to experience suffering, etc.."
Master gave him a heavy smack on the head.
Student cried out in pain: "What the heck was that for?"
Master: "Who is experiencing suffering?"
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby Bakmoon » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:14 pm

NMRK32 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:If you cling to the self, it is not an illusion to you; it is very real and so is the dukkha.


But if I'm a conventional reference with no substantial svabhava then any perception of dukkha is also just an illusion ultimately. To me right now for instance everything is real because I see them through the prism of my normal daily self as a reference point and a prism. But if I'm not really anything more than a collection of bits and bats that will dissolve upon death anyway then dukkha isn't really happening to nobody. Nobody is really experiencing it as nobody was ever born really. I was never here.


That doesn't actually follow. Just because there is no self, that does not mean that dukkha is unreal. The dukkha is conditioned, impermanent, and without substance, but that is very different than saying that the dukkha is just an illusion, as the experience of dukkha is in fact still there, and as long as dukkha still arises, there is a problem, and the answer to the problem is the Noble Eightfold Path.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:21 pm

NMRK32 wrote:But if I'm a conventional reference with no substantial svabhava then any perception of dukkha is also just an illusion ultimately. To me right now for instance everything is real because I see them through the prism of my normal daily self as a reference point and a prism. But if I'm not really anything more than a collection of bits and bats that will dissolve upon death anyway then dukkha isn't really happening to nobody. Nobody is really experiencing it as nobody was ever born really. I was never here.


Dukkha is experienced. The concept of a "self" is also experienced. It is not the concept of self that experiences dukkha. This seems to be the misunderstanding. A "self" is not a requirement for experience. Whether suffering is "real" or "illusion" is a distraction. A hallucination of pain and fear is just as unpleasant as "real" pain and fear. Seeing things as "just an illusion" is a technique that can be used to reduce dukkha, but it can also be misused to create dukkha.

NMRK32 wrote:Of course it's all constructed from the point of self. Its myself that I'm trying to logically convince, train and exercise in the dharma. If the dharma makes no sense to my conventional self then how does it differ from biblical religions where what is said is taken on faith?


The emphasis on direct experience and understanding cause and effect rather than believing things based solely on faith is one difference. To work towards the cessation of dukkha there is a path of practice available. If the cessation of dukkha isn't perceived as a sufficient goal then the path may not seem worthwhile.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:31 pm

NMRK32 wrote: Of course it's all constructed from the point of self. Its myself that I'm trying to logically convince, train and exercise in the dharma. If the dharma makes no sense to my conventional self then how does it differ from biblical religions where what is said is taken on faith?

Then we're back to basic meta-religious issues, such as conversion and justification for conversion. There can be quite a bit to clear up in this, depending on the individual person.

On the whole, I think that the seeming availability of world's religions to Westerners can easily leave one with the impression that one is able and welcome to take up any religion that may happen to be on offer or seem on offer.
But just because preachers and other members of religions advertise their religions and invite people to join or at least to "come and see," and just because one is able to physically attend a religious establishment and follow through with a daily regimen of religio-spiritual practice, that doesn't really mean much in terms of actual availability of a particular religious path for a person.

Some years back, the Dalai Lama spoke out against people converting to Buddhism. He was met with quite a bit of criticism from Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. I tend to agree with him, though. I think many Westerners have the tendency to take religious conversion too lightly and too easily, and as a result, end up with a lot of trouble for themselves (and for others too).

NMRK32 wrote:/.../
This is where I believe we Buddhists actually lose the plot,

Who are "we Buddhists"?
I think actual Buddhists never feel like they have lost the plot when explaining the Dhamma to others (or to themselves).
If someone indeed "loses the plot" like this, then why call themselves a "Buddhist"?

NMRK32 wrote:Or being the great accomplished teacher that he is he could just draw pictures on the blackboard and still get the kid to understand without the complex equations.

I don't think so. Some things simply are so complex or so specific that a person without sufficient knowledge and experience already present simply cannot understand them or relate to them.

pardon my french. We carry on and on with the Pali and the endless quoting of Scripture instead of cracking on with teaching each other and helping with the essential understanding on the dharma. We get lost in our own texts.

In short, I think you're either asking for something that nobody can give you, or have not established the interpersonal relationship in which that which you're asking for could be given and received.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:52 pm

culaavuso wrote:To work towards the cessation of dukkha there is a path of practice available.

That such a path is in fact available has to be taken on faith, though!


If the cessation of dukkha isn't perceived as a sufficient goal then the path may not seem worthwhile.

The desire to make an end to suffering does not automatically reveal which supposed path is the right one.
There are numerous paths on offer, all promising to end one's suffering.
Just the fact that there are so many paths promising that makes one pause and rethink.
And after one has gotten burnt a few times, one tends to become more skeptical and reserved about it all as well.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:38 pm

binocular wrote:
culaavuso wrote:To work towards the cessation of dukkha there is a path of practice available.

That such a path is in fact available has to be taken on faith, though!


It can be helpful to keep in mind the difference between a working hypothesis and blind faith. A working hypothesis provides a means to test and reach an understanding that is not a matter of faith.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:07 pm

culaavuso wrote:It can be helpful to keep in mind the difference between a working hypothesis and blind faith. A working hypothesis provides a means to test and reach an understanding that is not a matter of faith.

Teachers from several major religions like to emphasize testing and experimenting, working with working hypotheses. This sounds very scientific, and seems to require minimum faith and to minimize error.

But it is not clear how it is possible to actually perform an experiment in the domain of religion/spirituality, given that there are no constants, only variables in such an experiment (so it's not actually an experiment).

An experiment can only be performed when there are constants and variables that we can observe. But in the domain of religion/spirituality, there are no constants that a seeker could work with, because _everything_ is under scrutiny. Ie. in attempting an experiment in the domain of religion/spirituality, every definition, every concept, every experience is under scrutiny.

Moreover, in the domain of religion/spirituality, there is a keen consideration that there is likely a number of causes at work, wherefore it is impossible to discover what the exact cause and effect relationships are.


I am inclined to think that a mostly intuitive, emotional, vague, and even dogmatic approach (!) to religion may be more effective in terms of reaching the goals of a religion, than to try to understand and analyze what it teaches and then practice based on that.
I realize this sounds irrational and counterproductive, especially in regard to Buddhism. But this has been my conclusion so far, after many years of trying to understand religion analytically.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:48 pm

binocular wrote:An experiment can only be performed when there are constants and variables that we can observe.


When there is observation of stress and suffering, there can be experimentation to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of such observation. If there is no observation of stress and suffering, there would seem to be no purpose in motivation to pursue a path to end it.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:56 am

It boils down to which plane of truth one is able to experience
.

But doesn't that presuppose an experiencer? A underlying knower? An inquisitor? The conflict I have had with Theravada is that the illusionary, self is doing both the knowing and the liberating...

"Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world"


So what tells us that after we detach ourselves from everything in this world somehow this ends the circle of rebirth? Isn't that in itself lending buddhism to whatever metaphysical debate about reincarnation and what continues on which is what it's supposedly trying to avoid? If we're not really ultimately there we don't get reborn anyway, right? Which brings me to my other question in my OP. Should then Buddhism be viewed as a strategy of detachment for the termination of stress and nothing more or noble? Is then Thanissaro Bhikku's often disputed term 'the no-self STRATEGY' a more accurate description? Because if we don't want to concern ourselves with metaphysics at all and we still want to terminate dukkha here and now then we can simply, strictly say that Buddhism is not really an '-ism' at all. It's a simple yet difficult (oxymoron I know) 'trick' of the mind. Kind of like 'if I don't really mind about myself, passions, fun stuff, bitter stuff, good stuff, bad stuff' then nothing affects me. A sort of apathy....?? A stoicism taken to the extreme??
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:02 am

Bakmoon wrote:
NMRK32 wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:If you cling to the self, it is not an illusion to you; it is very real and so is the dukkha.


But if I'm a conventional reference with no substantial svabhava then any perception of dukkha is also just an illusion ultimately. To me right now for instance everything is real because I see them through the prism of my normal daily self as a reference point and a prism. But if I'm not really anything more than a collection of bits and bats that will dissolve upon death anyway then dukkha isn't really happening to nobody. Nobody is really experiencing it as nobody was ever born really. I was never here.


That doesn't actually follow. Just because there is no self, that does not mean that dukkha is unreal. The dukkha is conditioned, impermanent, and without substance, but that is very different than saying that the dukkha is just an illusion, as the experience of dukkha is in fact still there, and as long as dukkha still arises, there is a problem, and the answer to the problem is the Noble Eightfold Path.


So if there is no ultimate experiencer, who's experiencing the dukkha? And how come the answer is the eightfold path? Don't the really devout Christians and Muslims who place all their faith in their respective Gods and transcend themselves overcome dukkha? They won't be continuing on after death anyway, so while they're here their religions too offer the same type of transcedence and detachment from worldly and selfish affairs if followed to the letter, no?
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:07 am

NMRK32 wrote:Or being the great accomplished teacher that he is he could just draw pictures on the blackboard and still get the kid to understand without the complex equations.

I don't think so. Some things simply are so complex or so specific that a person without sufficient knowledge and experience already present simply cannot understand them or relate to them.


I must insist that when the teacher is good enough the student will follow. Like in a class, you will have the genuises who will catch it all the moment you say it, others will need a few repetitions. But a good teacher aims to leave nobody behind. We cannot be elitists and split people into the worthy and the unworthy ones or the capable and incapable ones. Not very noble...
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:16 am

NMRK32 wrote:But doesn't that presuppose an experiencer? A underlying knower? An inquisitor? The conflict I have had with Theravada is that the illusionary, self is doing both the knowing and the liberating...

As already mentioned, depends on which perspective do you ask the question, a worldling or an enlightened being? For a worldling, yes, there's still an experienCER, but for an enlightened being, there's just experience, for how can there be an experienCER if there's no "I", "mine", nor "myself"?
NMRK32 wrote:So what tells us that after we detach ourselves from everything in this world somehow this ends the circle of rebirth? Isn't that in itself lending buddhism to whatever metaphysical debate about reincarnation and what continues on which is what it's supposedly trying to avoid? If we're not really ultimately there we don't get reborn anyway, right? Which brings me to my other question in my OP. Should then Buddhism be viewed as a strategy of detachment for the termination of stress and nothing more or noble? Is then Thanissaro Bhikku's often disputed term 'the no-self STRATEGY' a more accurate description? Because if we don't want to concern ourselves with metaphysics at all and we still want to terminate dukkha here and now then we can simply, strictly say that Buddhism is not really an '-ism' at all. It's a simple yet difficult (oxymoron I know) 'trick' of the mind. Kind of like 'if I don't really mind about myself, passions, fun stuff, bitter stuff, good stuff, bad stuff' then nothing affects me. A sort of apathy....?? A stoicism taken to the extreme??

Again, depends on what exactly do you mean by "detach ourselves from everything in this world"?? And again, I repeat, from what perspective, worldling or enlightened being do you ask your questions? Even if "ultimately" there's nothing get reborn, and assuming Buddhism is nothing more than just a strategy, all the deal with apathy, or a stoicism taken to the extreme... how do they help you in your practice right in the here and now?
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:29 am

santa100 wrote:
NMRK32 wrote:But doesn't that presuppose an experiencer? A underlying knower? An inquisitor? The conflict I have had with Theravada is that the illusionary, self is doing both the knowing and the liberating...

As already mentioned, depends on which perspective do you ask the question, a worldling or an enlightened being? For a worldling, yes, there's still an experienCER, but for an enlightened being, there's just experience, for how can there be an experienCER if there's no "I", "mine", nor "myself"?
NMRK32 wrote:So what tells us that after we detach ourselves from everything in this world somehow this ends the circle of rebirth? Isn't that in itself lending buddhism to whatever metaphysical debate about reincarnation and what continues on which is what it's supposedly trying to avoid? If we're not really ultimately there we don't get reborn anyway, right? Which brings me to my other question in my OP. Should then Buddhism be viewed as a strategy of detachment for the termination of stress and nothing more or noble? Is then Thanissaro Bhikku's often disputed term 'the no-self STRATEGY' a more accurate description? Because if we don't want to concern ourselves with metaphysics at all and we still want to terminate dukkha here and now then we can simply, strictly say that Buddhism is not really an '-ism' at all. It's a simple yet difficult (oxymoron I know) 'trick' of the mind. Kind of like 'if I don't really mind about myself, passions, fun stuff, bitter stuff, good stuff, bad stuff' then nothing affects me. A sort of apathy....?? A stoicism taken to the extreme??

Again, depends on what exactly do you mean by "detach ourselves from everything in this world"?? And again, I repeat, from what perspective, worldling or enlightened being do you ask your questions? Even if "ultimately" there's nothing get reborn, and assuming Buddhism is nothing more than just a strategy, all the deal with apathy, or a stoicism taken to the extreme... how do they help you in your practice right in the here and now?



I would say that I ask my questions as a worldling on the path. If I was fully enlightened I wouldn't need to be arguing on a forum about what makes sense and what doesn't. And quite possibly you wouldn't be replying. To get back to what you said earlier about there being nothing but experience without experiencer for an enlightened being...isn't that kinda like a fire without flames? Or wetness without a liquid?

As for the second question you posed, how do other strategies help me in the here and now, well they don't help ME but they seem to be working for others. Ultimately though when you compare religions, strategies, arguments for and against, lines of logic, traditions questions do arise. As a buddhist I find it difficult to accept a practice, including buddhism without doubt, scepticism, interrogation and research. Which is why I am here playing devil's advocate. It's the perceived or actual holes in the theory that drive me to inquire and possibly learn from the experience of others. I'm hoping that one or some of you would have had similar questions at some point in your practice. Ten years ago I was more accepting of what I read in the Sutras, as I grow older my questions grow more persistent. I guess it's part of my growing up process and a stage through which I must tread.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:40 am

NMRK32 wrote:I would say that I ask my questions as a worldling on the path. If I was fully enlightened I wouldn't need to be arguing on a forum about what makes sense and what doesn't. And quite possibly you wouldn't be replying. To get back to what you said earlier about there being nothing but experience without experiencer for an enlightened being...isn't that kinda like a fire without flames? Or wetness without a liquid?

But don't you think it's exactly because on the level of an un-enlightened being, we always see that kinda like a fire without flames or wetness without liquid? We have not penetrated the no "I", "mine", nor "myself", so how do we expect to see it in the same light as the enlightened one? The reason for my second question, it's because regardless of what kind of answers you get for all your deep questions, at the end of the day you have to be bloody honest with yourself and ask this question: "Do my lust, greed, hatred, fear, etc.. actually decrease? or does "business" still go on as usual after all these deep philosophical talks about this illusory self?" Addressing this question is to directly address the question in your OP: "Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?".
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:59 am

santa100 wrote:
NMRK32 wrote:I would say that I ask my questions as a worldling on the path. If I was fully enlightened I wouldn't need to be arguing on a forum about what makes sense and what doesn't. And quite possibly you wouldn't be replying. To get back to what you said earlier about there being nothing but experience without experiencer for an enlightened being...isn't that kinda like a fire without flames? Or wetness without a liquid?

But don't you think it's exactly because on the level of an un-enlightened being, we always see that kinda like a fire without flames or wetness without liquid? We have not penetrated the no "I", "mine", nor "myself", so how do we expect to see it in the same light as the enlightened one? The reason for my second question, it's because regardless of what kind of answers you get for all your deep questions, at the end of the day you have to be bloody honest with yourself and ask this question: "Do my lust, greed, hatred, fear, etc.. actually decrease? or does "business" still go on as usual after all these deep philosophical talks about this illusory self?"


Although I acknowledge that as unenlightened beings we cannot see things from the 'enlightened' being's point of view we see from the sutras that the Buddha is appealing to our empirical knowledge and sense of logic to expound his dogma. Our logical faculties as unenlightened beings are utilised and appealed to for us to 'see sense' and decide to terminate our suffering. So to me it follows that whatever questions I have there should be a logical answer. When we arrive at the point where buddhism or any kind of '-ism' tells me illogical stuff and I have to take that 'leap of faith' it's then that my problems begin.

I also acknowledge your questions on what is my point for asking all these deep questions if they don't help me decrease my hate, anger, lust and other defilements. Indeed the questions do not really help much if at all, kinda like the parabole of the man and the poisoned arrow. However, as Buddhism is often taught and often times expressed in the sutras and the commentaries with all its metaphysical projections it inadvertedly lends itself to those questions. In other words theory is tied too deeply with tradition, religious formalities and forms and other 'woo-woo'. I guess my problem lies in how I should approach Buddhism. Should I treat it as a religion? Are the sutras religious texts? Or should I treat it as a strategy of detachment that doesn't really concern itself with whether I have a soul or not whether it be in the conventional or another sense altogether? Do I treat it as a stress release method or as something more? Is it really a soteriological method of deliverance or just a meditational exercise into apathy?

I just think that Buddhism has left itself purposely or accidentally open to such discussion and speculation, hence all the different schools of thought in it. Again, all these questions do not seem to matter much as to what I feel whilst meditating for instance but on a theoretical mundane level I think buddhism is a very nebulous system of thought. One moment it's a holy path, the next it's a strategy, it gets into metaphysical grounds but quickly runs away before anyone notices. It's neither here nor there. I would advocate for a clear streamlining and reinterpretation perhaps of what it really is....
Last edited by NMRK32 on Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:27 am

NMRK32 wrote:I also acknowledge your questions on what is my point for asking all these deep questions if they don't help me decrease my hate, anger, lust and other defilements. Indeed the questions do not really help much if at all, kinda like the parabole of the man and the poisoned arrow. However, as Buddhism is often taught and often times expressed in the sutras and the commentaries with all its metaphysical projections it inadvertedly lends itself to those questions. In other words theory is tied too deeply with tradition, religious formalities and forms and other 'woo-woo'. I guess my problem lays in how I should approach Buddhism. Should I treat it as a religion? Are the sutras religious texts? Or should I treat it as a strategy of detachment that doesn't really concern itself with whether I have a soul or not whether it be in the conventional or another sense altogether? Do I treat it as a stress release method or as something more? Is it really a soteriological method of deliverance or just a meditational exercise into apathy?

It's important to note that the reason the Buddha Dhamma covers such a wide spectrum of topics from very basic to very advanced precisely is because His audience WERE a spectrum of basic and advanced practitioners. That's why there's the term the "Gradual" training, starting with Virtues, then Meditation, and finally culminate in Wisdom. Interestingly, as one advances along the path, one's view about what the Teaching really is will change. If one still has a lot of issues with their lust, greed, aversion, etc.. then the Dhamma would be seen as a strategy to counter those afflictions. As one's gained a solid foundation on Virtues and making progress on Meditation, then the Dhamma would be seen as some meditational system, not just a mere ethical system. So on and so forth with one's developed Wisdom..so and so with metaphsical concepts, etc..
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby NMRK32 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:31 am

santa100 wrote:
NMRK32 wrote:I also acknowledge your questions on what is my point for asking all these deep questions if they don't help me decrease my hate, anger, lust and other defilements. Indeed the questions do not really help much if at all, kinda like the parabole of the man and the poisoned arrow. However, as Buddhism is often taught and often times expressed in the sutras and the commentaries with all its metaphysical projections it inadvertedly lends itself to those questions. In other words theory is tied too deeply with tradition, religious formalities and forms and other 'woo-woo'. I guess my problem lays in how I should approach Buddhism. Should I treat it as a religion? Are the sutras religious texts? Or should I treat it as a strategy of detachment that doesn't really concern itself with whether I have a soul or not whether it be in the conventional or another sense altogether? Do I treat it as a stress release method or as something more? Is it really a soteriological method of deliverance or just a meditational exercise into apathy?

It's important to note that the reason the Buddha Dhamma covers such a wide spectrum of topics from very basic to very advanced precisely is because His audience WERE a spectrum of basic and advanced practitioners. That's why there's the term the "Gradual" training, starting with Virtues, then Meditation, and finally culminate in Wisdom. Interestingly, as one advances along the path, one's view about what the Teaching really is will change. If one still has a lot of issues with their lust, greed, aversion, etc.. then the Dhamma would be seen as a strategy to counter those afflictions. As one's gained a solid foundation on Virtues and making progress on Meditation, then the Dhamma would be seen as some meditational system, not just a mere ethical system. So on and so forth with one's developed Wisdom..so and so with metaphsical concepts, etc..



So in your own personal opinion and experience, what is Buddhism?
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Re: Is there really a point in practicing Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:36 am

Exactly what I just told you. It's a system in which scale and scope will continue to open as one progresses along the path. To put it poetically, it's a secret garden where the beauty continues to amaze the visitor as long as s/he's willing to continue to step forward and open the subsequent gates!
Last edited by santa100 on Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
santa100
 
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