Cannot believe in magical things

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby reflection » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:03 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
reflection wrote:... following the dhamma already makes the current life better, not only potential next lifes. I for example prefer meditation over money, rebirth or no rebirth. A lot of people think and experience this way.

In support of this position: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html

:namaste:
Kim

:goodpost:
Nice, I forgot about that one.

Let me quote it here:
With regard to this, a wise person considers thus: 'If there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the break-up of the body, after death — will reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable brahmans & contemplatives, this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the wise as a person of good habits & right view: one who holds to a doctrine of existence. If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a good throw twice, in that he is praised by the wise here-&-now; and in that — with the break-up of the body, after death — he will reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:11 am

There are similar statements in the Kalama Sutta. Rebirth or No-Rebirth, Kamma or No-Kamma, one will be better off by practicing virtue, training the mind, and developing wisdom. At the same time, it is pointed out in other places that the spiritual practice will grow even deeper once there is confidence in the more "magical" aspects of the dhamma. Finally, there is a large difference between developing trust in the Buddhadhamma :sage: and blind faith. :evil:
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby manas » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:46 am

Viscid wrote:
manasikara wrote:And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view


This to me still says that the denial of such things is wrong view. Right view may consist of a belief in rebirth, but I do not believe that such a belief is to be founded on blind faith. Rather, right view and its associated insight into the process of rebirth is gained by directly knowing and realizing it.

I can't see what advantage having blind faith in rebirth has-- it does not serve to make the Four Noble Truths or the Noble Eightfold Path any more relevant.
Hi Viscid,

actually we have no real difference of opinion on this. I mean, I know we cannot will ourselves into blindly believing something, nor would I want to, nor should we. But that's not really what I was trying to say above.

Like I said I don't think we really disagree, maybe I wasn't clear enough when I said I no longer wish to be agnostic about it. I was not implying that I've suddenly started believing it, despite not having directly perceived it yet. It's more that I am trying to frame my life more in reference to it, on the reasonable assumption that it probably is true. That's where I'm at with it, at this stage.

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:09 am

Viscid wrote:I don't see why you should need to 'sacrifice' anything in order to be open to the possibility of rebirth. There would only be a 'sacrifice' if one had very strong conviction in their denial of rebirth. A conviction born of ego, a bias one should willingly renounce. If you do not directly perceive a process which occurs after death, you do not need to have a personal opinion on the matter. Your affirmation or denial of rebirth doesn't make it any more or less true.


Well said. Blind disbelief can be as much of a hindrance as blind belief.

Spiny
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:11 am

Buckwheat wrote: Finally, there is a large difference between developing trust in the Buddhadhamma :sage: and blind faith. :evil:


Agreed. But there is also a large difference between keeping an open-mind and rejecting those teachings which don't fit with one's ( current ) personal belief system.

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:47 pm

pedro1985 wrote:But after reading about them alot, I noticed that I honestly cannot believe that rebirth, gods, deva's, etc are real. Neither do I believe that the Buddha had any magical powers. I believe he was a man without any magical powers at all, who was not able to fly, nor could he read someones thoughts from a large distance.

Nevertheless, the rest of what is explained in the suttas: 8-fold path, 4 noble truths, meditation; are very usefull. I try to follow this teachings every day.


:goodpost:

Ditto!

I agree with Richard Dawkin's that human beings evolved with a psychological "need" for "religion" ( see his theory in his book "The God Delusion" ). I think otherwise rational people not raised in Buddhism, being unaware of this vulnerability, get swept up with the powerful experiences of meditation and the camaraderie of community to become "Buddhist" with beliefs they would never otherwise endorse.
Last edited by Jhana4 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby plwk » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:08 pm

Sigh...
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Otsom » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:49 pm

.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:15 pm

Otsom wrote:In my opinion these 'magical things' are similar to this Dhamma mentioned above. I have no experiences of these, they are not 'real' for me, but I'm in no position to claim that others can't have such experiences.


That isn't what the original poster wrote. He wrote that he couldn't believe in those things.

I was in the museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. the other weak. On one of the video monitors were cartoons portraying the religious stories of one of the North American native nations. The story I watched was about a man's wife who swam off with a talking otter. After returning, she had the otters son. Her husband treated the otter's son with kindness so the otter told him all the secrets of the other animals so he could more easily hunt them.

The literal content of this story is ridiculous to me ( though I value the lesson of showing kindness in strained circumstances ) and I don't feel any need to allow that other people "can't have such experiences". Yet, this story is not the slightest bit more fanciful than some of the myths in the Pali Canon. However, I feel compelled to give more respect to those myths than the native American story I paraphrased. Why?

My intuition is that I have spent more time exposing myself to the Pali Canon and more time exposing myself to intelligent people who believe those myths have some sort of reality. Human beings are pack animals like chimpanzees and dogs. Other people believing X bolster the belief of X in ourselves and vice-versa in my opinion. That is why we have religious wars......even Buddhists, because someone not sharing your belief will tend to shake your faith in it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Alexei » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:37 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I agree with Richard Dawkin's that human beings evolved with a psychological "need" for "religion" ( see his theory in his book "The God Delusion" ). I think otherwise rational people not raised in Buddhism, being unaware of this vulnerability, get swept up with the powerful experiences of meditation and the camaraderie of community to become "Buddhist" with beliefs they would never otherwise endorse.

It can be said that these people have karmic connection, so they are fond of Buddhism. Religion can't be disproved :tongue:

By the way, I find Pascal Boyer reasons more substantial.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby manas » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:02 pm

It's possible that hell would freeze over before I would ever advocate blind faith.

I would only advocate informed faith.

It is regretful that what I wrote previously was misinterpreted by some, and it makes me feel that sometimes, when I voice my feelings on this essentially wonderful internet forum, I end up having to clarify justify and defend my point of view, and this can end up causing me so much stress that I end up wishing I had never made the post in the first place.

With metta - to all -

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Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:28 am

Even the Venerable Sāriputta did not have blind faith in the Buddha.

See An Excellent Man is Not Credulous and Sāriputta's Lion's Roar
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:04 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I agree with Richard Dawkin's that human beings evolved with a psychological "need" for "religion" ( see his theory in his book "The God Delusion" ). I think otherwise rational people not raised in Buddhism, being unaware of this vulnerability, get swept up with the powerful experiences of meditation and the camaraderie of community to become "Buddhist" with beliefs they would never otherwise endorse.


It may be that some Buddhists have a psychological need to believe in rebirth, the realms, etc, though I personally think most Buddists are a little more intelligent than that. But is it also possible that some modern Buddhists have been swept up with the powerful experience of scientific materialism and have a need to disbelieve such things?

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:38 pm

HI ALL,

Magical things? For some the word magical refers to something that by definition has no correlation to actuality. What actually is cannot, by that way of seeing, be magical in any way. For some, magical is an adjective that describes actuality when it seems to remarkably diverge from our model of how we see things.

With the second definition in mind, I would call the field of intention "magical". I would caution anyone (especially a Buddhist) when they imagine limitations on the power of intention. Since the field of intentionality is a critical aspect of Buddhist rebirth It does not surprise me that it remarkably diverges from models of how things actually are. Those who see "magic" everywhere tend to be more in touch the incredible power and scope of the field of intentionality. Those of us (me included) who are a bit more skeptical will not be so inclined to give credence to unfathomed potentials and that's fine. However, I think we should be careful to not hold on to our limited notions of what is possible.

Just my thoughts on magic.

Take care and practice well.

Prasadachitta
"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: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby cooran » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:31 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Viscid wrote:I don't see why you should need to 'sacrifice' anything in order to be open to the possibility of rebirth. There would only be a 'sacrifice' if one had very strong conviction in their denial of rebirth. A conviction born of ego, a bias one should willingly renounce. If you do not directly perceive a process which occurs after death, you do not need to have a personal opinion on the matter. Your affirmation or denial of rebirth doesn't make it any more or less true.


Well said. Blind disbelief can be as much of a hindrance as blind belief.

Spiny


Saddhu! Well said!

with metta
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:56 pm

Prasadachitta wrote: However, I think we should be careful to not hold on to our limited notions of what is possible.



Yes, and our limited notions of what is impossible. For me an important aspect of practice is in trying to develop an open-mind, and beginning to let go of all those views, opinions, beliefs and disbeliefs.

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:56 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Prasadachitta wrote: However, I think we should be careful to not hold on to our limited notions of what is possible.



Yes, and our limited notions of what is impossible. For me an important aspect of practice is in trying to develop an open-mind, and beginning to let go of all those views, opinions, beliefs and disbeliefs.

Spiny



I concur Spiny.

:smile:
"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: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:06 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Prasadachitta wrote: However, I think we should be careful to not hold on to our limited notions of what is possible.



Yes, and our limited notions of what is impossible. For me an important aspect of practice is in trying to develop an open-mind, and beginning to let go of all those views, opinions, beliefs and disbeliefs.

Spiny


Do you have an open mind to talking otters who mate with Native American women and produce viable offspring?
( I'm referencing an earlier post I made in this thread )
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:24 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Prasadachitta wrote: However, I think we should be careful to not hold on to our limited notions of what is possible.



Yes, and our limited notions of what is impossible. For me an important aspect of practice is in trying to develop an open-mind, and beginning to let go of all those views, opinions, beliefs and disbeliefs.

Spiny


Do you have an open mind to talking otters who mate with Native American women and produce viable offspring?
( I'm referencing an earlier post I made in this thread )


Hi Jhana4,

I do strive to have an open mind to such things. In the sense that they represent an actual experiential relationship to some kind of notion about how things are. I try to stay focused on how people's notions relate to the way in which they feel and act in the world. I generally find it a wast of time to engage with a process of correcting notions which lie outside of that proximate field of practicality.


Take care

Prasadachitta
"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: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby sublime » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:25 pm

Or you can keep an open mind. Even theoretical physicists say stuff like "the world is a strange and magical place." The more one knows about science the more miraculous the world seems. Mathematician and philosopher Wittgenstein marveled that anything should exist. I agree with what others are saying to an extent: sure use what you like. But don't forget Buddha said explicitly holding to a view of no kamma and no rebirth is wrong view. Holding to a view of no buddha is wrong view too. All I'm saying is don't hold on to a view. The contention from this side is that dhamma is the nature of everything. If we are correct, then it is happening to you and your consent is not required. Like when you sit at the beach, the tide will make you wet. If I tell you to feel the wetness, it won't mean that when you feel the wetness you are doing something. It is the same when you practice samatha and vipassana, the nature of mind has it's own quality, like water has wetness, coolness, weight and motion. Mind's qualities are kamma, iddhi and ultimately, nibbana.
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