The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:52 am

Tilt, you wonder why I sometimes don't respond to you. It's because you seem to enjoy debating topics in this advesarial fashion. What is the purpose? It's quite tiring and I don't see how its helpful to your or my practice. I have posted my views, I will leave it to others to debate you. It's just not worth the time, I think, yours or mine. We see things quite differently, that is all.

But don't we have better things to do?

Sanghamitta wrote:.Christopher::: I notice that you are in the habit of quoting out of context in order to support your own views. Please dont do that to my posts. You quote Sanghamitta saying that if you spend time with live Buddhists you will be aware that they are uninterested in opinions. It was quite clear from the context that I was not referring to Buddhist Doctrine, but to speculative views about gods etc. A correct understanding of Buddhist Doctrine does not fall into the catagory of speculative views and opinions. God talk does.


I apologize for that, Sanghamitta.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby chicka-Dee » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:47 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:That is a doomed quest, for a number of reasons. In decades to come you will still be looking for yourself within yourself.


Are you really sure about that?
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Hoja » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:05 pm

christopher::: wrote:
I'm skeptical when i read certain things, that the Buddha actually said them. Such skepticism arises, and its not usually based on emotion. But i also recognize that i'm not nearly enlightened enough to make such distinctions, so i try (not always successfully) to be as open-minded and uncritical as possible.

This is one reason, probably, that I have been most attracted to Zen Buddhism. If you read the writings of Seng Tsan, Shunryu Suzuki and others its emphasized frequently to keep an open mind and not become attached to views, even when those views are presented in Buddhist texts as "truths"...

:namaste:


Perhaps I've don't understand that sutta, but I think that the Kalama Sutta talks about questioning our views and traditions through the lens of our practice.
And Buddhadasa Bikkhu has stated that Views and Teachers can be a prision if we cling to them. That sounds for me perfectly logical.

For myself I try to keep an open mind with respect to God or whatever could be called. I can't see any substancial difference between Interdependence, Interbeing, Voidness, an inmanent God or the Tao. I strongly believe that at the very end the goal is the same, and that there are cultural differences (and then different ways to express it) that make it appear as diferent goals.

Perhaps I don't have enough fait in the original teachings of the Buddha, but the only I certainly know at this stage is that I'm not knowledgeabkle enough to deny or affirm anything and that I need to practice and study more.

Metta.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:09 pm

On the information within your posts its a reasonable deduction chicka- Dee. What we call our selves is a series of constantly changing processes. There is no self to find ourselves. You could say in the sense that you come to this realisation it will be finding yourself, but that would be a linguistic convention only.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:58 pm

christopher::: wrote:Tilt, you wonder why I sometimes don't respond to you. It's because you seem to enjoy debating topics in this advesarial fashion.


I do not mind debating, but I prefer dialogue, but when an individual makes truth claims, and is unwilling to back them up with some sort of reasoned evidence and discussion, I can get a bit pushy to try to get at what is being said.

In trying to look at your views, you get angry when they are challenged, accusing me of being intolerant and disrespectful of other religions, but based upon what? Your eisegetical point of view which you are unwilling or unable to explain?

What is the purpose?


Better understanding of what is said, clearer understanding of the Dhamma, mutual understanding of differing points of view, but there needs to be at least dialogue, a willingness to explain one’s position, a willingness to be challenged.

It's quite tiring and I don't see how its helpful to your or my practice.


A clearer understanding of the Dhamma is always a good thing for one’s practice.

I have posted my views,


But you are unwilling to explain them, unwilling to explore how others see them, unwilling to allow them to be challenged.

I will leave it to others to debate you. It's just not worth the time, I think, yours or mine.


A better understanding of one’s own and the other’s position by explaining it, by being open to criticisms of it, by being willing to defend it, by being open to the possibility of it being wrong is always worthwhile and is well worth the time and energy put into it.

We see things quite differently, that is all.


It seems it might be a bit more than that.

But don't we have better things to do?


Than a better understanding of one’s own and another’s point of view? Probably not.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:04 pm

Hoja wrote:

For myself I try to keep an open mind with respect to God or whatever could be called. I can't see any substancial difference between Interdependence, Interbeing, Voidness, an inmanent God or the Tao. I strongly believe that at the very end the goal is the same, and that there are cultural differences (and then different ways to express it) that make it appear as diferent goals.


It is possible that they are the same, but it is also possible that they are not. It can become an exploration, not always comfortable, in looking at these things, or it becomes a matter of emotional comfort in believing what one believes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:13 pm

tiltbillings wrote:

I do not mind debating, but I prefer dialogue, but when an individual makes truth claims, and is unwilling to back them up with some sort of reasoned evidence and discussion, I can get a bit pushy to try to get at what is being said.


I do not recall making truth claims. I have been talking about views and beliefs, and how there is great variety in the world.

What is the purpose?


Better understanding of what is said, clearer understanding of the Dhamma, mutual understanding of differing points of view, but there needs to be at least dialogue, a willingness to explain one’s position, a willingness to be challenged.

It's quite tiring and I don't see how its helpful to your or my practice.


A clearer understanding of the Dhamma is always a good thing for one’s practice.


Wonderful. Something we agree upon.

Right now i'm on vacation in NY with my son. I have little free time. When I have more time i look forward to investigating the Buddha's dhamma in greater depth here at Dhamma Wheel. There are many great topics being explored here, much that i can learn.

I just don't see the utility of our endlessly challenging one another and debating this particular topic.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:35 pm

There are 146 replies in this topic so I must admit, I have not read nearly all of them, but I came across this link recently which I found quite interesting:

http://archive.8m.net/vidal.htm

Ordinarily, as a descendant of that eighteenth-century enlightenment which shaped our republic, I would say live and let live, and I would try not to "scoff"--to use Lincoln's verb--at the monotheists. But I am not allowed to ignore them. They won't let me. They are too busy. They have a divine mission to take away our rights as private citizens. We are forbidden abortion here, gambling there, same-sex almost everywhere, drugs everywhere, alcohol in a dry county. Our prisons are the most terrible in the First World and the most crowded. Our Death Row executions are a source of deep disgust in civilized countries where more and more we are regarded as a primitive, uneducated, and dangerous people. Although we are not allowed, under law, to kill ourselves or to take drugs that the good folk think might be bad for us, we are allowed to buy a handgun and shoot as many people as we can get away with.


I like this paragraph above because it highlights the importance of speaking out. Often one group of progressives will stop another group of progressives from speaking out, saying that they are being 'intolerant.' But then they become tolerant of intolerance and all the damage that can do. Perhaps it is better to speak out, as necessary, but in a peaceful and compassionate way.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby chicka-Dee » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:42 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:On the information within your posts its a reasonable deduction chicka- Dee. What we call our selves is a series of constantly changing processes. There is no self to find ourselves. You could say in the sense that you come to this realisation it will be finding yourself, but that would be a linguistic convention only.


Hi Sanghamitta,

The way I would word it, based on my understanding, is that in order to fully realize 'no self', we must first investigate what this 'self' really is. We must go beyond an intellectual understanding. The only way (that I know of) of doing this is to investigate what I would refer to as our own 'inner workings'. We must transcend the intellectual concepts that we form. The 'way' to do this is described in many teachings. I'm not sure I could point to any one or set of teachings. The teachings themselves are pointing the way. They are not the way. Perhaps there are many teachings because we each learn in different ways, perceive the world in different ways. And of course, meditation is a crucial part of this.

I hope this explains it a little better. It sounds like we may be talking about the same process? Words seem so inadequate to describe so much, anyways. I thank you for your comments, and wish you all the best.

Dee :namaste:
Last edited by chicka-Dee on Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby chicka-Dee » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:43 pm

TheDhamma wrote:Perhaps it is better to speak out, as necessary, but in a peaceful and compassionate way.


:namaste:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby chicka-Dee » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:46 am

Hoja wrote:Perhaps I've don't understand that sutta, but I think that the Kalama Sutta talks about questioning our views and traditions through the lens of our practice.
And Buddhadasa Bikkhu has stated that Views and Teachers can be a prision if we cling to them. That sounds for me perfectly logical.

For myself I try to keep an open mind with respect to God or whatever could be called. I can't see any substancial difference between Interdependence, Interbeing, Voidness, an inmanent God or the Tao. I strongly believe that at the very end the goal is the same, and that there are cultural differences (and then different ways to express it) that make it appear as diferent goals.

Perhaps I don't have enough fait in the original teachings of the Buddha, but the only I certainly know at this stage is that I'm not knowledgeabkle enough to deny or affirm anything and that I need to practice and study more.

Metta.


Hello Hoja,

I just wanted to recognize your post, as I 'see' in a very similar way, and want to encourage you to keep practicing and keep your open minded outlook.. I believe this is key to our progress. I like what you mentioned about questioning our views and traditions through the lens of our practice. It seems to me we need to find a balance between listening to our intuition and finding outside confirmation. It's important to keep questioning and reviewing, but also important to listen to that quiet voice within ourselves. I wish you well and thank you for your insightful post.


Dee :namaste:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:23 am

christopher::: wrote:
I do not recall making truth claims. I have been talking about views and beliefs, and how there is great variety in the world.


You have expressed your views as if they were the way things truly are, which make it look like you are making truth claims. Shall I play back your words?

I just don't see the utility of our endlessly challenging one another and debating this particular topic.


I don't see the utility of you putting these views out there on a discussion forum if you are unwilling to actually discuss them, if you are not open to having them looked at.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:45 am

Hi Tilt & everyone.

When i used the words "I don't see the utility" that was meant to imply that i was expressing a view.

TheDhamma wrote:
I like this paragraph above because it highlights the importance of speaking out. Often one group of progressives will stop another group of progressives from speaking out, saying that they are being 'intolerant.' But then they become tolerant of intolerance and all the damage that can do. Perhaps it is better to speak out, as necessary, but in a peaceful and compassionate way.


Good points, David.

BTW, a discussion with Robert Wright from PBS that relates to this topic. I didn't have time to watch it all now, but the half was pretty interesting, with Wright raising some of the same themes that have been discussed here, offering his perspective, as someone raised Christian, who believed in God. He talks about his experience with Buddhist meditation, about half way in...



:namaste:
Last edited by christopher::: on Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:57 am

christopher::: wrote:Hi Tilt. When i used the words "I don't see the utility" that was meant to imply that i was expressing a view.


You do have a way of avoiding addressing what has been said to you, which is to say, you avoid dialogue.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:07 am

Check out Wright, Tilt, I think you'll find his views interesting. You said you wanted to understand a diversity of views. I dropped something off which is in line with that.

I have to go now, its a few minutes after midnight here.

Take care.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:57 am

christopher::: wrote:Check out Wright, Tilt, I think you'll find his views interesting. You said you wanted to understand a diversity of views. I dropped something off which is in line with that.


Sure. God is the product of human culture. I'll take the Buddha, who pushed behind that scene.

You dropped something off, but hardly with the sophistication or insight of Robert Wright.

I'll say this again, you do not engage with what other people say to you unless they agree with you, or unless it is to complain (not engage) about people disagreeing with you.

If you want to have a real dialogue about Wright's point of view, that would be good, but it would mean that you will need to do something you have refused to do to date: actually engage with those ideas that run counter to your point of view.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Hoja » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:13 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It can become an exploration, not always comfortable, in looking at these things, or it becomes a matter of emotional comfort in believing what one believes.

Yea, I can undersand your point. I'm trying to explore and do my best, but I'm afraid that sometimes it's hard to move away from my comfort zone.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Hoja » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:16 pm

chicka-Dee wrote:I wish you well and thank you for your insightful post.


Thanks Dee! Keep your practice too.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:56 pm

Yes, thanks for posting Hoja.

Tilt, i'm on vacation. In 15 minutes we'll be taking my son into NYC to the Museum of Natural History. I'm not going to continue dialouge with you because for every comment i make you have more questions, and you dont seem to hear half the things i say!! (Like that I dont have time now to participate here). Also, we view things differently, we hold different beliefs about this.

But this is the General Theravada forum and I'm a Zen Buddhist with a Unitarian Universalist background. This is your turf, so i will disengage. I think that's a healthy response, not a copout. We see things differently. I don't see how continuing in this fashion is helpful to your or my dharma practice. There are other topics related to Theravada Buddhism that i would rather spend my time focusing upon when i do have the time to visit here. I hope you will consider that too. Is this really an essential topic for you to be focusing so much attention on?

Have a good day.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:29 pm

Here's a curiosity I stumbled across. I won't vouch for its legitimacy.

On a side note, please don't take this as a smart-ass comment (or do, I guess it doesn't matter), but I think it's possible to smile at the flower here. This topic is like a weed, but don't those things sometimes produce flowers?
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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