Hi Silver Surfer,
It sounds like you have a decent head on your shoulders.
silver surfer wrote: I mean, they sure don't sound like they're giving me direct knowledge, if you know what I mean. You can sense it when you hear someone speak about an idea, and you can tell when you hear someone speak their knowledge. They come out really different, the expressions.
I think what you're trying to express is the perceptible difference between authentic and inauthentic insight. Most Buddhists are full of shit. Everyone wants to obtain privileged, esoteric knowledge about the world in order to become someone admirable and of authority. It is your responsibility to critically evaluate the content of what is said in order to determine whether it has any value to you.
When judging whether or not something is worthy of my consideration, I ask: Is it coherent? Is it relevant to my condition? Is it something I can act upon?
If not, then I don't worry about it and move on.
silver surfer wrote:So,
I was wondering if any of you, has direct knowledge, as the Buddha. Do you know samsara? Or you know the "idea" of samsara? And how can you define what you know? How do you know what you know is the reality? Do you know nibbana? Or you know the "idea" of nibbana? Do you know other physical realms? Or you believe in their existence? Do you have direct knowledge on your past lives? Or you have ideas on them?
I think we could use the word 'samsara' or 'nibbana' to each describe a plurality of ideas.. but I question whether having absolute certainty of knowledge about such concepts is truly necessary. Do you need to know what samara, nibbana or other physical/psychical realms are in order to practice? I think the only prerequisite knowledge for practicing Buddhism seriously is that of suffering: as long as you're cognizant of the discomfort inherent in living, then you can practice with the aim of being free of it.
silver surfer wrote:It's not something I gained via meditation. I have always been a thoughtful and a caring person.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I'd really appreciate a little guidance in that regard as well. But my curiosity still goes, as I really want to hear about what you know, or what your direct experiences are.
Meditation's hard, and it's only part of the Noble Eightfold Path. It's not going to give you all the things you're looking for. It's not going to transform you into a more moral or compassionate person: that's just more bullshit deluded false expectations people are selling. Good meditation is a state of equipoise. If you can sit well, you know your entire practice-- your entire being-- is balanced and healthy.
silver surfer wrote:To me, it feels like it's not possible to "not" desire sensual pleasures. I mean, even during meditation, I have to inhale fine air. And that is a sensual pleasure. Isn't it? I need a tranquil place and an appropriate temperature, and that is also a desire.
There is NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH SENSUAL PLEASURE
. What can cause suffering are the dependent habits which are sometimes (though not necessarily) formed when coming into contact with sensual pleasure. As long as you can pick things up and then let them go, you're okay. Your contentment should ideally not be dependent upon the availability of a particular state of affairs.
silver surfer wrote:How do you know what's inside your mind is not an idea, but knowledge?
What I find to be the most concrete knowledge is that toward which I cannot muster any criticism. Such coherence grants me strong conviction about its truth.. but we should always be ready to give up such acquired 'knowledge' or 'insight' in the face of contrary evidence.