Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby Marcus Epicurus » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:55 am

I have been thinking about this the last few days, and I would like to hear the views of other forum members.

The Buddha, when confronted with seeing an old person, a diseased person, and a dead body, began looking for a way to escape from suffering. What The Buddha came up with for an answer was to teach that by giving up your home, your job, and your possessions, and giving up things that make you happy, and go live in solitude in the forest and meditate, you could thereby eliminate suffering. I know this may be an over simplification of what The Buddha taught, but I think you get the idea.

While I agree that it is true that to simplify your life to that extant will certainly reduce or eliminate suffering, isn’t that just running away from life to a great extant?

It seems to me, that really what The Buddha was teaching, is that if you ignore suffering, through meditation, and shutting yourself off from the rest of the world, then suffering will go away.

Am I right? Am I right to a certain extant? Am I at least half right? Or am I completely wrong?

I’d like to hear what the forum members think about this.

Thanks in advance for your views.
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby Fede » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:35 am

bluebuddha wrote:The Buddha, when confronted with seeing an old person, a diseased person, and a dead body, began looking for a way to escape from suffering.

No he didn't. he wanted to find a way of ceasing suffering. there is a difference, and it's not so subtle.

What The Buddha came up with for an answer was to teach that by giving up your home, your job, and your possessions, and giving up things that make you happy, and go live in solitude in the forest and meditate, you could thereby eliminate suffering.

Wrong again.
This is what the Buddha felt he had to do, in order to completely turn his thinking around. How many Buddhists do you know personally?
And how many of those have done the above? We follow his teachings because they are logical. To follow his example is not always logical. neither is it skilful.
I know this may be an over simplification of what The Buddha taught, but I think you get the idea.

It's not an over-simplification. It's a complete inaccuracy.

While I agree that it is true that to simplify your life to that extant will certainly reduce or eliminate suffering, isn’t that just running away from life to a great extant?
if you simplify your life skilfully, it is running towards a skilful result. if you simplify your life UNskilfully, it is running towards an unskilful result.

It seems to me, that really what The Buddha was teaching, is that if you ignore suffering, through meditation, and shutting yourself off from the rest of the world, then suffering will go away.

Am I right? Am I right to a certain extant? Am I at least half right? Or am I completely wrong?


You are completely wrong.
In every ExtEnt.
I think you need to do some revision, you're not going to get good marks in this exam....!

I’d like to hear what the forum members think about this.

Thanks in advance for your views.

The Buddha stated, "I come to teach about the origin of Suffering, and the cessation of suffering."
He gave us the Four Noble Truths, (incorporating the Eightfold path) but he took around 6 years to come to this realisation.
It's not about running away from suffering. It's about understanding how and why Suffering arises, and eliminating that cause.
Shutting yourself off from suffering' is like running like stink and taking refuge in a room with a door that has multiple locking systems, and where there are secure bars on the windows, and throwing every bolt and turning every key until the door is securely shut - and then realising as you turn round, that suffering sneaked in attached to your coat tails - and now, there you are, together, in an impenetrable room.....

You need to understand what suffering is, what it does and why.
Only by doing this, can you eliminate it.

As the saying goes: Kep your friends close, but your enemies closer. ;)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:00 am

Hello BlueBuddha, all,

The Great Renunciation
‘’Having seen the vanity and the danger of the three intoxications, he was overcome by a powerful urge to seek and win the Deathless, to strive for deliverance from old age, illness, misery, and death not only for himself but for all beings (including his wife and child) that suffer. It was his deep compassion that led him to the quest ending in enlightenment, in Buddhahood.’’
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... d_lt04.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby khlawng » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:01 am

Hi BlueBuddha,

Its not about ending or escaping suffering this one life you have. Its about extinguishing suffering forever with the knowledge that this has been going on for ions and ions and ions, in a never-ending cycle of past existences and future ones which will continue to play out for ions and ions and ions due to our ignorance and actions. The trick is to develop this knowledge and the start is a conviction that the Buddha's words are true.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby ground » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:46 am

bluebuddha wrote:It seems to me, that really what The Buddha was teaching, is that if you ignore suffering, through meditation, and shutting yourself off from the rest of the world, then suffering will go away.

Am I right? Am I right to a certain extant? Am I at least half right? Or am I completely wrong?


I am sorry to say this, but this is completely wrong. Actually what is taught is what "right armour" is and how to put it on.

Kind regards
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby Fede » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:26 am

khlawng wrote:Hi BlueBuddha,

....this has been going on for ions and ions and ions, ...will continue to play out for ions and ions and ions ....


IONS:
"An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. ..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ions

EONS:
e·on also ae·on (n, n)
n.
1. An indefinitely long period of time; an age.
2. The longest division of geologic time, containing two or more eras.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/eon



khlawng wrote:Hope that helps.


So do I...... :smile:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby khlawng » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:17 pm

Fede wrote:
khlawng wrote:Hi BlueBuddha,

....this has been going on for ions and ions and ions, ...will continue to play out for ions and ions and ions ....


IONS:
"An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. ..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ions

EONS:
e·on also ae·on (n, n)
n.
1. An indefinitely long period of time; an age.
2. The longest division of geologic time, containing two or more eras.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/eon


:oops:
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:32 pm

bluebuddha wrote:While I agree that it is true that to simplify your life to that extant will certainly reduce or eliminate suffering, isn’t that just running away from life to a great extant?


Simplifying one's life is really a way of making time to understand and fully experience it, rather than running way from it. So many people are caught up in an endless round of habitual distraction, keeping busy in order not to think.

Spiny
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby Fede » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:20 pm

khlawng wrote: :oops:


I hope you took no offence. None was meant. It's the pedant-proof-reader in me... :hug:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby nobody12345 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:00 pm

No it is not.
True Buddhism (Theravada tradition) is the path of a victor, the one who crushes THE enemy (Mara) and roars his lion's roar in the end.
There's a reason why the Buddha used the expression of the lion's roar.
Lion is the absolute power who forcefully dominates all the other creatures in jungle.
The Buddha was the greatest conquering hero ever in our own aeon.
He conquered Mara and all of his minions.
No man, no deva, no being ever achieved that at least in our own aeon (except previous and future Buddhas)
All the pain, all the sacrifice, all the training, all the blood and tears, all the incident that you clinches your teeth and pushing your tongue to the upper mouth to crushe the sense desire are not in vain because no victory is more glorious than our ultimate goal.
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:16 pm

While I agree that it is true that to simplify your life to that extant will certainly reduce or eliminate suffering, isn’t that just running away from life to a great extant?



An essential part of the path is coming face to face with dukkha, since to overcome it you must first know it


In worldly life people run away from dukkha. I would then say that the Buddhadhamma is about facing reality head on
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby khlawng » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:58 am

Fede wrote:I hope you took no offence. None was meant. It's the pedant-proof-reader in me... :hug:


Hey Fede,

Don't worry about it. I made a careless mistake and and I am glad you pointed it out.
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Re: Is Buddhism defeatist or escapist?

Postby manas » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:55 pm

Buddhism is not for the faint-hearted. As mindfulness and insight grow over time, we see things that undermine even our sense of self. We are made to face our worst fears; no stone, or what is lurking under it, is left unturned. If I wanted to escape from life, I wouldn't pick Buddhism.
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