Fear of death. Why?

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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby ground » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:52 am

PeterB wrote:In my eyes I reject those parts of the Suttas like hell realms and Mount Meru and Buddhas causing earthquakes that seem to me to run clear counter to science and/or what the Budhha taught elsewhere.

Our approach is different. My position ist the following:
First thing: There are no contradictions in the Buddha dharma, nowhere are there contradictions.
Second: I do not take refuge to science in the context of the practice.
Third: Buddha dharma is mind training. Applying his teachings is to effect the mind and to cause certain qualities of the mind and his teachings are not relevant in the context of whether what he says concerns existent phenomena or not. Why? Because phenomena are not really existing in the first place. The only context rigorous logical analysis is applied is the mode of existence of phenomena where it turns out that nothing at all can be found under analysis, neither the phenomena the Buddha is talking about nor the phenomena science is talking about.


Kenshou wrote:
Now either the suttas are the words of the Buddha or they are not.


Are things really quite so black and white?

Yes they are because it is a matter of convention and nothing else.

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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:17 am

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:
Now either the suttas are the words of the Buddha or they are not.


Are things really quite so black and white?

We may have the words of an individual known as the Buddha as preserved and remembered and organized by those who heard him and orally passed down those words and eventually wrote them down, but it's been 2500 years. Sabbe sankhara anicca, right? It's quite reasonable to think that some things might creep in and some things might get lost, not intentionally, but by the inevitable imperfection of any human information exchange/preservation.

Things are just not as simple as "either the suttas are the words of the Buddha or they are not". I do not say this in support of any particular batch of views, but we really have to use our critical thinking. We've got a big bag of stuff, I don't think we should just accept the whole thing unthinkingly. We've got to sort through the sack and find out what's the real stuff and what's not, and I do know that that's not necessarily an easy task at all.


Hello Kenshou, PeterB,

How do you know which things to accept and which to reject? Reject those you don't like, understand or approve of and keep those that you like? Is that the standart? Kinda like buffet approach? Pick a bit from here, a bit from there, take this, don't take that...

Talk on ghosts, devas, and hell realms make a LARGE part of sutta-pitaka. It is not just few comments here and there. If one is going to negate a LARGE part of the teaching, then you need some strong proof.

No..YOU would need some strong proof.
You do not and cannot speak for me.The only proof I need is that they dont compute.
I know what to accept and reject by using my rational mind.
I neither know nor care how you approach things. The only reason for contributing to this and similar threads as far as I am concerned is so that newbies reading the forum will know that we are not all post Christian fundamentalists who need to project a literalist view in order to have sraddha..
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:22 am

Alex123 wrote:
And we know for sure what the Buddha said in all cases?


And how do you know what He didn't say? Are you suggesting that one may as well throw out entire sutta-pitaka and use oneself as the arbitor and judge of the truth? Or are you saying that one selectively chooses (according to which standart?) from the suttas what the Buddha did and didn't teach?

The latter. Frankly if it could be proved that the Buddha had never existed ( which I dont believe btw ) it would make no difference at all to my practice of the Dhamma.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby ground » Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:27 am

PeterB wrote:The only proof I need is that they dont compute.
I know what to accept and reject by using my rational mind.


What you call "rational mind" ... what relation is there of this mind to the Buddha's teachings? What's the purpose of the Buddha's teaching at all since you have your rational mind?

PeterB wrote:Frankly if it could be proved that the Buddha had never existed ( which I dont believe btw ) it would make no difference at all to my practice of the Dhamma.

And what's the rationale for this opinion?

Frankly your likes and dislikes don't appear to be grounded on ratio. But if they aren't what is it that causes rejection and acceptance? Experience? But then your reliance on the experience of someone else is the basis for your practice. And then again: why do you reject some of this someone else's words but accept others?

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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:16 am

Why is my practice of the Dhamma of interest to you T Mingyur ?
I thought of replying in terms of the inconsistency in accepting the Suttas that any modern has to some degree.....I assume for example that you dont accept that there is a literal Mt Meru in the centre of the earth....but actually, as I have said before my only reason for engaging in this debate at all is the thought that some bright kid from Iowa or London or St Petersburg might have logged on in order to check out Buddhism and be repelled by the apparent need that some Buddhists have to hold on to some pre medieval cosmology.To find in fact that some Buddhists hold the same fear driven superstitious view of the Universe that drove them away from mum and dad's church.
I wanted them to know that some of us had gone past that.
If on the other hand said bright kid decides that what would really make sense of the cosmos to them. help them understand life and reduce their suffering ,is a literal belief in demons that stick hot spikes into them..or heavenly musicians that scatter flowers on the deserving. or giant beings in perpetual war with each other. Or if they are inspired or scared by the thought that they might be reborn as a frog....then they have that choice dont they ?

I did not join this thread because I want to understand your view or explain mine to you...
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby ground » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:14 am

PeterB wrote:Why is my practice of the Dhamma of interest to you T Mingyur ?

If you consider your practice including your posting here, then it is of interest to me and that is why I comment.

PeterB wrote:I did not join this thread because I want to understand your view or explain mine to you..

Understanding is one thing, posting views another.

--------------------

Putting this aside, since I am not so much interested in opinions but very much interested in the Dharma:

As to "reappearance in bad destinations" the following references to MN may be given:
4.29, 7.2, 12.37ff, 13.15, 40.3, 41.4ff, 45.3, 45.5, 46.14ff, 50.13, 57.3, 57.5, 60.9ff, 84.6, 110.13, 115.17, 129.6, 130.2ff, 135.5ff, 136.8ff


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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:31 am

Fearing the undesirable consequences of my actions or lack thereof seems to me the only kind of fear with any helpful purpose. :shrug:
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:24 am

Even then Gabriel I dont see that fear serves any purpose apart to unman us.
Being aware that my actions will have consequences both foreseeable and unforeseeable, and seeing that with neither fear or aversion nor attraction ..just simply what is in the present moment, the tiny gap before acting or reacting , seems very useful to me.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:52 pm

PeterB wrote:Even then Gabriel I dont see that fear serves any purpose apart to unman us.
Being aware that my actions will have consequences both foreseeable and unforeseeable, and seeing that with neither fear or aversion nor attraction ..just simply what is in the present moment, the tiny gap before acting or reacting , seems very useful to me.


This is efficacious to you. You may lack the imagination to see how fear serves a purpose but at least you can be open to the possibility. Motivation to practice is a very precious thing and its cultivation can come in more than one form. Our practice arises out of causes and conditions. Conditions vary.

Take Care

Gabe
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:35 pm

You may of course be correct. It may simply be lack of imagination that keeps me from appreciating the positive qualities of fear. If I were more imaginative no doubt I would see fear as being just the ticket. The Buddha after all recommended cultivating fearful states of mind as much as possible. But of course that is only accessible to the imaginative.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:05 pm

PeterB wrote:You may of course be correct. It may simply be lack of imagination that keeps me from appreciating the positive qualities of fear. If I were more imaginative no doubt I would see fear as being just the ticket. The Buddha after all recommended cultivating fearful states of mind as much as possible. But of course that is only accessible to the imaginative.


The Buddha pointed out the positive side or rather the value we can find in our experience of suffering but that doesn't mean he recommended cultivating suffering as much as possible. You are twisting what I have said in a way which runs contrary to what my meaning is. I am not saying imagination is what you need to make fear useful to your practice. I am simply saying that a little imagination might help you understand how reflecting on the fear of consequences has the potential to help others. I am glad that your practice moves along without the fear of consequences.

Take Care

Gabe
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:18 pm

I love the " take care".... :lol:

My practice at times moves along like I am walking on eggshells or guarding my eyes.
Fear doesn't come into it though. The Buddha said that we are required to be warriors.... Kshatriya.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby BuddhiHermit » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:26 pm

Tiltbillings
And we know for sure what the Buddha said in all cases?

Alex123
Talk on ghosts, devas, and hell realms make a LARGE part of sutta-pitaka. It is not just few comments here and there.

Kenshou
My distrust is not in the man himself but in the means by which the information has been passed down to us.

PeterB
The only reason for contributing to this and similar threads as far as I am concerned is so that newbies reading the forum will know that we are not all post Christian fundamentalists who need to project a literalist view in order to have sraddha..


Wow! PeterB, 1847 posts just to save the newbies, not counting any other forums. You are a truly compassionate person; You must be a Bodhisattva.

I see that your most active forum by far is the The Dhammic free-for-all. That speaks volumes. A Kshatriya and a Bodhisattva - just like Buddha himself. I'm impressed.

My own view is that they are most probably all Buddha's words, however, I agree that we do not necessarily understand what he meant. We have only our own interpretation, which, as a basis for practice, should suffice until our practice reveals the truth. I have found it helpful to challenge my views against others and appreciate members on this forum sharing their views and experiences. I'ts a pleasant change to see a forum where the considered opinions expressed far outweigh the evangelists.

As to fear of death, that appears to be built into the body, but it too dissipates as Dhamma practice progresses.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:15 am

PeterB wrote:You do not and cannot speak for me.The only proof I need is that they dont compute. I know what to accept and reject by using my rational mind.


Are you saying that YOU know better than the Buddha? Are you saying that you know better what is truth and what (if any) is false?

Is your rational mind the criteria for truth that is more authoritative the Buddha Dhamma?
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:48 am

Isn't this a thread about why there is fear of death? How did it devolve into all this bickering?

Fear of death is pretty common - whether it's 'wrong' or not - it's pretty common. Animals fear death - we're hard-wired with survival instict. There's all sorts of societal conditioning to make people afraid of death.

There's loads to talk about - in a nice, honest fashion - about why you fear death - or think others fear death. That would be an interesting discussion. Not this 'discussion' though - and do I really want to dignify it by calling it a discussion? :thinking:

Mayhap people are afraid to voice their true thoughts, musings and fears because - y'know - they might get debated at.

It's ok to 'wonder', it's ok to 'not be RIGHT', and just say what you feel about the subject of death. You can take the suttas literally if you want - it's OK (and there are MANY references to literal re-births - one of which is "You can't meet anyone without that person having been your mother, father, sister, brother, etc etc" and loads of others that come to mind. No, I'm not going to cite - I'd have to flip through all my nikayas - I don't have a download on all the translations. But I know what I've read.

I take a sutta study class and I've never seen our teacher get bent out of shape if anyone says - "Hey Bhante - you know the one where the Buddha and Ananda are yakking about ..." "Oh, it's the such and such sutta - page so and so - in the Pali it reads ...but yes, the paraphrase you gave is essentially correct - except that it should be clarified that ...." Gentle correction and teaching.

Or - "Bhante - I really think all this stuff about the Devas and all that in the story of the Buddha is just exposition." "Yes, many people take that view. What do others think? " Many hands go up - many different ideas are spoken- no one debates or gets stroppy or defensive. The teacher finds it all interesting and says what HE thinks - but doesn't insist that he's the end all and be all. He also provides background as to general Indian cosmology at the time of the Buddha to put things into perspective. Not nastily or angrily - just matter of fact "teacherally". (Bleah, that's a bad made up word but it's late here on Mt. Meru).

But I digress ... apologies ...

I'm sure there are some people who fear death because they ARE afraid of a future rebirth. Well - it's ok for them to say it. In " real reality" - it's ok to say it. It's an opinion - might be right or wrong. It can be discussed - not debated.

Or maybe you think - well - I really don't think there's any 'rebirth' - but - you know - I don't know - all the crap you grow up hearing - what if ..."

That's ok to say out loud as well. And we could get into - wow - all that conditioning you get - what's that about? How can we look at that in practise - in meditation - in musings. But - sadly - no. It's more important to seem clever, well-read, "intelligent" ... a pox on well-read, witty, intelligent Buddhists, I say!

Just my two groats from Mt. Meru,

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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:49 am

Alex123 wrote:
PeterB wrote:You do not and cannot speak for me.The only proof I need is that they dont compute. I know what to accept and reject by using my rational mind.


Are you saying that YOU know better than the Buddha? Are you saying that you know better what is truth and what (if any) is false?

Is your rational mind the criteria for truth that is more authoritative the Buddha Dhamma?


No I do not know better than the Buddha. I am saying that Ajahn Buddhadasa was correct when he says that we have to be discriminative to filter out what the Buddha said from what is obviously cultural padding, not just swallow it indiscriminately. Clearly portions of the Suttas are later additions that contradict the tenor and content of other sections and clearly some portions are in direct contradiction to what science has discovered..
I dont often quote the Dalai Lama nowadays but as he said if something in Buddhist teachings contradicts the discoveries of science, it is the Buddhist teaching that we put aside.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:03 am

BuddhiHermit wrote:
Tiltbillings
And we know for sure what the Buddha said in all cases?

Alex123
Talk on ghosts, devas, and hell realms make a LARGE part of sutta-pitaka. It is not just few comments here and there.

Kenshou
My distrust is not in the man himself but in the means by which the information has been passed down to us.

PeterB
The only reason for contributing to this and similar threads as far as I am concerned is so that newbies reading the forum will know that we are not all post Christian fundamentalists who need to project a literalist view in order to have sraddha..


Wow! PeterB, 1847 posts just to save the newbies, not counting any other forums. You are a truly compassionate person; You must be a Bodhisattva.

I see that your most active forum by far is the The Dhammic free-for-all. That speaks volumes. A Kshatriya and a Bodhisattva - just like Buddha himself. I'm impressed.

My own view is that they are most probably all Buddha's words, however, I agree that we do not necessarily understand what he meant. We have only our own interpretation, which, as a basis for practice, should suffice until our practice reveals the truth. I have found it helpful to challenge my views against others and appreciate members on this forum sharing their views and experiences. It's a pleasant change to see a forum where the considered opinions expressed far outweigh the evangelists.

As to fear of death, that appears to be built into the body, but it too dissipates as Dhamma practice progresses.

I am not at all a compassionate person, but I am working on it.
I dont accept the existence of Bodhisattvas except perhaps at a stretch, in the Theravadin view of such.
Neither am I claiming to be a Kshatriya..if you read what I wrote when you take off the Withering Sarcasm Specs you will see that I was quoting the Buddha as saying that we need to have the nature of a Kshatriya, not making a claim to that nature.
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:30 pm

Hello PeterB,

PeterB wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
PeterB wrote:You do not and cannot speak for me.The only proof I need is that they dont compute. I know what to accept and reject by using my rational mind.


Are you saying that YOU know better than the Buddha? Are you saying that you know better what is truth and what (if any) is false?

Is your rational mind the criteria for truth that is more authoritative the Buddha Dhamma?


No I do not know better than the Buddha. I am saying that Ajahn Buddhadasa was correct when he says that we have to be discriminative to filter out what the Buddha said from what is obviously cultural padding, not just swallow it indiscriminately. Clearly portions of the Suttas are later additions that contradict the tenor and content of other sections and clearly some portions are in direct contradiction to what science has discovered..
I dont often quote the Dalai Lama nowadays but as he said if something in Buddhist teachings contradicts the discoveries of science, it is the Buddhist teaching that we put aside.



How do you know what is true and what (if any) is false in Pali Canon? Maybe it is not Buddha's fault but of modern science if it can't confirm some things.

How do you know that your discriminitive filter isn't simply your desire to accept what you want to accept and deny what you want to deny? If you don't know better than the Buddha, then maybe you shouldn't insist on what He should or shouldn't teach. He knows better!


As for later vs earlier teachings - How do you know which is which? Those that you dislike are the later teachings and those that you accept are the real and authentic?
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby PeterB » Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:06 pm

I have given you my answer Alex. Take it or leave it.As I have said to you before I do not want to convert you to my view, and I am unlikely to be converted to yours. Been there, done that.
I wish you every good wish in practising Dhamma as you see fit.
I will continue to practice as I see fit.

:anjali:
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Re: Fear of death. Why?

Postby pink_trike » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:01 am

We fear death because we cherish our madness. Death challenges every single false concept and narrative that we use to prop our "self" up with. It makes a mockery of this hall of mirrors we call "I'. If we were to get out of our own way...then no death or fear of it, but we prefer the comfort of our madness over the liberating uncertainty of reality.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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