Buddhist Athiest

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Buddhist Athiest

Postby JKPenumbra » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:04 pm

Hello again all...
In regards to Karma, Rebirth, and the almost godlike worship of the Buddha in Asia (and elsewhere), I've always been quite skeptic.. I came across this book "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" Its author, Stephen Batchelor was a monk for 10 years before disrobing, and his insights have been quite thought provoking for me...

he new publication is Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Its author, Stephen Batchelor, is at the vanguard of attempts to forge an authentically western Buddhism. He is probably best known for Buddhism Without Beliefs, in which he describes himself as an agnostic. Now he has decided on atheism, the significance of which is not just that he doesn't believe in transcendent deities, but is also found in his stripping down of Buddhism to the basics.

Reincarnation and karma are rejected as Indian accretions: his study of the historical Siddhartha Gautama – one element in the new book – suggests the Buddha himself was probably indifferent to these doctrines. What Batchelor believes the Buddha did preach were four essentials. First, the conditioned nature of existence, which is to say everything continually comes and goes. Second, the practice of mindfulness, as the way to be awake to what is and what is not. Third, the tasks of knowing suffering, letting go of craving, experiencing cessation and the "noble path". Fourth, the self-reliance of the individual, so that nothing is taken on authority, and everything is found through experience.

(S. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... m-hitchens )

Buddhism, so it seems, adapts to it's environment (as you see with Tibetan Mysticism and Lama's) I, personally cannot fathom how one would know that someone was a "reincarnate", or how there is actually rebirth after death (though I understand the 'theory' is based on the rising and falling of phenomena), and I attribute Karma to the law of cause and effect... However, I have experienced first hand the benefits of Meditation, and have read quite extensively on MLI and Younget Mingyur Rinpoche's books, and am aware of neuroplasticity

I was wanting to know your guys/gals thoughts on this, and any additional information or beliefs y'all (hehe) might have.

Namaste :)

Edit (I personally am Agnostic, as I have no evidence or experience to sway me either way)
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:32 pm

Hi, JKP,
This is a subject which has come up here several times before. A search on 'Batchelor' should find most of the old threads. If it doesn't (and some folk reckon that DW's internal search doesn't work all that well), try a Google search within the domain, dhammawheel.com.
:namaste:
Kim

Afterthought: also search "Broken Buddha" and "Naked Buddha"
- Kim
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby JKPenumbra » Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:42 am

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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:31 pm

Hi JKP

Its a bit like curry- you got to go easy on the hot stuff ...to begin with :tongue:

Matheesha
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Cloud » Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:39 am

The easy answer is that misunderstandings are more common than right view... or else enlightenment would be less of a challenge.

One can combine a view of rebirth with an eternity view quite easily and not even know you're on the wrong track. This is apparent if ever the thought or words arise "my future rebirth". The consciousness that conditions life (your life) is neither "you" nor belongs to you; it is not self. It will condition future life after the dissolution of the aggregates, but that future life will not be "you" either. We don't own that consciousness or the lives preceding or succeeding this one (not even this one!).

Many people get caught up in living today for their future rebirths, but this is not the Buddha's teaching. The greatest compassion we can show for ourselves and for others is to awaken, that we might act skillfully in each moment for the benefit of all and not to waste this life. This is the Middle Way, and it requires great honesty with one's self and to face the fear of death and let it go through discernment of reality, non-clinging and compassion for all life.

Namaste
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby ground » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:18 am

Cloud wrote:Many people get caught up in living today for their future rebirths, but this is not the Buddha's teaching.


Caution.The Buddha does not teach that you should get caught up, right. The Buddha however does teach that the deeds and motivations are the causes of the "qualities" of re-appearances (also called "rebirths"). The Buddha however does not teach that the one being "re-born" is identical to the one having died in a conventional sense.


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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Cloud » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:35 am

My apologies, I was not specific enough. What was meant is that people get caught up in their personal post-mortem rebirths, rather than the moment-to-moment cycle of rebirths in the here-and-now (which we call samsara).

There are no "personal" post-mortem rebirths, only "selfless" ones. This is the distinction between having an eternity view and having a right view based on the Middle Way. We should have concern for the future; this is why we act to create better conditions -- but it is not about self.

Thank you for pointing that out.
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby ground » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:31 am

Cloud wrote:What was meant is that people get caught up in their personal post-mortem rebirths, rather than the moment-to-moment cycle of rebirths in the here-and-now (which we call samsara).


But if you posit a "here and now" you are entangled in "time" and "locus" and if you are entangled in "time" and "locus" you are subject to "re-birth" and if you are subject to "re-birth" you should not mistake "being vigilant as to deeds and thoughts in the context of re-birth" for "being caught up with personal post-mortem rebirth".


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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Cloud » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:36 am

Technically time is an illusion (so is control) in the ultimate sense, but for the sake of making some amount of sense "here and now" refers to the present, which you could also call the "eternal now", but words simply don't do justice to the ultimate reality that can not be spoken. Semantics will lead down a very confusing road; we must all use conceptual language to convey conceptual understandings of the Dharma.

Namaste
Last edited by Cloud on Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby ground » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:39 am

Cloud wrote:Technically time is an illusion (so is control) in the ultimate sense, ...


See this is what I was aiming at: There is no "ultimate sense" that would legitimate you to speak in a way that may be understood as rejecting the Buddhas teachings.


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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Cloud » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:43 am

I was referring to misunderstandings of the Buddha's teachings, not rejecting or denying those teachings. I apologize if you've taken offense or have a different view, and will refrain from speaking on this further in this thread. I do hope that you will see, but an argument will not be helpful (just as arguing over semantics would not be).
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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby ground » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:51 am

Cloud

no offence has been intended. Just take our conversation as an illustration.

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Re: Buddhist Athiest

Postby Skaffen » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:55 am

Humans greatest attribute is curiosity. This has caused us to incur new Environments, opening up new challenges, leading to natural selection based on 'intellect' (Provision of clothing, tools...etc). Allowing us to move into more remote/different environments, opening up new.........you get the point.

Environment/Necessity/Invention/Technology/Environment/Necessity/Invention/Technology/Environment/Necessity/Invention/Technology/Environment.....more like a cycle though :)

Individual curiosity is better than group curiosity, big groups are less mobile/adaptable - this (plus the best sweat glands in the animal kingdom to facilitate body/brain temp regulation), is what some consider special/divine/eternal in some way?! - Curiosity compliments strong individuals that are ego driven (independent, ambitious), however curiosity also drives the weak into danger....we are no more than nosey, sweaty rock throwing hairless apes with the ability to remember and recognise patterns. Molecular self-organisation kicked it off and biological evolution has brought us this far.

All animals are limited to their senses and environment, and no-one has reliablyand conclusively demonstrated it in the past 100yrs it is safe to conclude there is no significant transfer of conciousness (involving retaining previous identity, which the Buddha advised to shed asap). The mystification of rebirth and karma equates to the scientifically termed - Principle of Conservation. With deep Implications - There is no room for Infinity in a Relativistic Universe (ie God has to be absent), Action leads to reaction (ie no good without bad) - all measurements are on spectrum's that we cannot objectify (due to the nature of relativity) as there is nothing 'fixed/ultimate/true' (see. Uncertainty Principle). Everything, even abstract thoughts, do not escape this constraint - Hence the Middle Path. If you converse in complexities, a Master will respond simply, if you are mundane a Master will challenge your understanding. If you demand Truth, the answer is we are only potential. If you apply minimal geometric structure to the constraints/Fundamental Forces, (must maintain conservation) you have attractive and repulsive forces that intersect and create stable self organising elements-compounds, virus-bacteria.....

Accepting Nothing as the starting point (Including space time), we must tend to infinity as a flow of connections between constraints. (String Theory)

The potential between chaos & order, we term evolution, so if you accept that it can be, then it must be. It is driven by the observer who, as a potential, does not notice nor need to become dismayed that they are not part of Infinity and better still imaginative enough to crawl out of Nothing.....potentially :)

I arrived at Buddhism following my pursuit for deeper scientific understanding, Relativity is the Yin-Yang, you know both when you consider where they balance....in the middle.

I think invoking mystical attributes to 'karma' & 'rebirth', is like saying if you study psychology you will become telekinetic.
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