Cannot believe in magical things

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:16 am

Jhana4 wrote: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 )


I know very little about otter communication or Native American customs, so it's hard for me to comment. ;)

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby gavesako » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:08 pm

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:34 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.


Just to be clear, this isn't Dawkin's theory but a model of human psychology built up through multidisciplined reflection over many years. As far as I can see Dawkins hasn't had an original thought in his life but selectively parrots the theories that buttress his own various agendae. :broke:

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby JackV » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:43 pm

manasikara wrote:Hi pedro,

I agree that you don't need to believe eveything you read in the suttas if you cannot verify them via your experience. That's ok, so long as you follow the precepts, and find the Teachings useful in daily life, that is great. In fact it's more than just ok, it's good to not be too believing of things without also testing them out via direct experience, imho. Blind faith is not encouraged. But as Zom mentioned, I am making a special effort with just one thing, and that is the concept of kamma, rebirth and faring according to one's kamma. As a naturally sceptical person - and believe me, I can get plagued with doubt badly on occassion - I've come to an understanding of sorts over the years. As I have discovered through direct experience that many of the things that the Buddha speaks of in the suttas are indeed true, particularly in regards to the training and purification of the mind, I've had these wonderful moments where it's dawned on me, "the Buddha was right again! i've been misapprehending this...now I can see what he was talking about!" This keeps happening, and recently I confronted myself about my doubt regarding this world and the next, beings faring according to their kamma, etc. I said to myself, "the Buddha has been right about everything else so far...so many things that you did not understand before, have become clearer over the years...no other teacher knows anywhere near as much about the human mind-and-heart as the Buddha, I mean, have you found one, ever? No! So can't you just open your mind to one thing that you cannot as yet directly perceive, i.e. rebirth and faring according to kamma, on the basis that 'well he's been right about everything else, so why not just take this one (rebirth and kamma) on trust for now, on the basis of trusting the words of an exceedingly wise and noble being?"

I have not done this with regard to deva realms, hell realms, magical powers...no, those things are not central to the practice in the here-and-now. But at the least keeping the mind open to the possibility of kamma and rebirth is so important that I also recommend making a special effort with it. I see it as the one thing that I am finally willing to accept on faith, after so many years of being a die-hard sceptic, based upon my ever-growing regard for the Buddha as the consummate master of the mind, and it's training in virtue, concentration and insight, and as one who was also exceedingly good. It is a kind of 'sacrifice' I've made, to open my mind to something that I cannot directly perceive in the here and now. At the very least we must not deny the possibility of the next world (for us) and faring according to kamma, because to cling to that denial would hinder our progress. Just keep the mind open, and don't deny the possibility, that's my humble advice (and what i'm trying to do myself).

metta.


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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:40 pm

For the record, I am on the fence when it comes to rebirth.
Spiny O'Norman wrote:Blind disbelief can be as much of a hindrance as blind belief.

Well said, my friend.
Spiny O'Norman wrote:
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.

Spiny

I agree. I was simply making the point that one should build a sense of trust in the Buddhadharama in general and see the limitations of belief/disbelief so that reality may present itself to an open mind. Blind faith is not an open mind, and neither is blind disbelief. I think we are making the same point.
Prasadachitta wrote:...Magical things?...

I see your point. The term "magical things" is a loaded catchphrase that distorts reality into a wrong view. It is pretty convenient, though. :tongue:
sublime wrote: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.....

From the scientific perspective, I would add the adjectives uncertain, impermanent, illusive, and empty.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:35 pm

To paraphrase the late Dr. Carl Sagan:

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"

A person who thinks someone is being narrow minded for not believing in unproven things is ignorant of the history and philosophy of science which is basically what humanity has learned about how to reliably find out what is true.
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 kirk5a » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:10 pm

Jhana4 wrote:To paraphrase the late Dr. Carl Sagan:

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"

Like, for example: there is only this one life, and after death there is nothing whatsoever. I don't think that's been proven. :tongue:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:07 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:To paraphrase the late Dr. Carl Sagan:

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"

Like, for example: there is only this one life, and after death there is nothing whatsoever. I don't think that's been proven. :tongue:


I've written this in other threads, but Richard Dawkin's in his book "The Gold Delusion" ( can be downloaded freely and legally via a Google search ), writes about some fascinating suppositions how a drive toward believing things in a religious manner (without proof, just being told ) may have been bred into people via evolution.

I can understand, and.......appreciate the desire to accept the unproven beliefs shared by a peer group of meditators, meditation friends and meditation teachers.

However, I prefer the truth.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and even the Christian Bible has its moments. One of those moments is the idea
"The Truth Shall Set You Free"

Even when that freedom is not apparent or knowing the truth reduces psychological comfort, I think there is a certain dignity in living with the truth.
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 Buckwheat » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:43 pm

Jhana4 wrote:"The Truth Shall Set You Free"

Yes, but what is the truth?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:48 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:To paraphrase the late Dr. Carl Sagan:

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"

Like, for example: there is only this one life, and after death there is nothing whatsoever. I don't think that's been proven. :tongue:


The "Extraordinary claim" quote actually originated with my dear friend (sorely missed and may he be free from suffering and its causes) Dr.Marcello Truzzi, one of the co-founders of the original CSICOP. "An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof." He was voted out of his own organization when he suggested the organization actually investigate paranormal claims, not debunk them. :tongue:

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby icyteru » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:42 am

about rebirth / remembering past lives, search about Ian Stevenson's Reincarnation Research
or
watch this on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF3KqGpxXvo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-KUwz0vodQ
The most complete english tipitaka on the internet world. http://realtruthlife.blogspot.com .
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:57 am

icyteru wrote: Ian Stevenson's Reincarnation Research

It has been discussed here several times - see, e.g.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9900&start=20
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&start=920
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1970&start=0
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1636&start=0

Not saying it's right or wrong, just saving people reinventing wheels. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby ground » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:41 am

pedro1985 wrote:But even though the suttas contain a lot of wisdom, I still keep finding unbelievable things about:

- a world of gods, deva's
- rebirth
- remembering past lives
- magical powers (angulimala sutta)

Just put it aside for the time being.

pedro1985 wrote:I tried keeping an open mind about that rebirth is true and that gods and deva's who are mentioned in the suttas really exist.



"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that just stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Nibbida » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:21 am

When one has had the experience of anatta, even if only a temporary glimpse, the issue of rebirth becomes an entirely different matter.
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby manas » Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:22 am

Nibbida wrote:When one has had the experience of anatta, even if only a temporary glimpse, the issue of rebirth becomes an entirely different matter.


Nibbida, could you please elaborate on that?

with metta
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:08 am

Greetings Manasikara,

Not to put words in Nibidda's mouth, but I suspect it relates (maybe not explicitly?) to what Nanavira Thera was quoted by SDC as saying here - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11016#p166912

The fundamental upādāna or 'holding' is attavāda (see Majjhima ii,1 <M.i,67>), which is holding a belief in 'self'. The puthujjana takes what appears to be his 'self' at its face value; and so long as this goes on he continues to be a 'self', at least in his own eyes (and in those of others like him). This is bhava or 'being'. The puthujjana knows that people are born and die; and since he thinks 'my self exists' so he also thinks 'my self was born' and 'my self will die'. The puthujjana sees a 'self' to whom the words birth and death apply. In contrast to the puthujjana, the arahat has altogether got rid of asmimāna (not to speak of attavāda—see MAMA), and does not even think 'I am'. This is bhavanirodha, cessation of being. And since he does not think 'I am' he also does not think 'I was born' or 'I shall die'. In other words, he sees no 'self' or even 'I' for the words birth and death to apply to. This is jātinirodha and jarāmarananirodha. (See, in Kosala Samy. i,3 <S.i,71>, how the words birth and death are avoided when the arahat is spoken of.

Atthi nu kho bhante jātassa aññatra jarāmaranā ti. N'atthi kho mahārāja jātassa aññatra jarāmaranā. Ye pi te mahārāja khattiyamahāsālā... brāhmanamahāsālā... gahapatimahāsālā..., tesam pi jātānam n'atthi aññatra jarāmaranā. Ye pi te mahārāja bhikkhu arahanto khīnāsavā..., tesam pāyam kāyo bhedanadhammo nikkhepanadhammo ti.)

-- For one who is born, lord, is there anything other than ageing-&-death?—For one who is born, great king, there is nothing other than ageing-&-death. Those, great king, who are wealthy warriors... wealthy divines... wealthy householders...,—for them, too, being born, there is nothing other than ageing-&-death. Those monks, great king, who are worthy ones, destroyers of the cankers...,—for them, too, it is the nature of this body to break up, to be laid down.

The puthujjana, taking his apparent 'self' at face value, does not see that he is a victim of upādāna; he does not see that 'being a self' depends upon 'holding a belief in self' (upādānapaccayā bhavo); and he does not see that birth and death depend upon his 'being a self' (bhavapaccayā jāti, and so on). The ariyasāvaka, on the other hand, does see these things, and he sees also their cessation (even though he may not yet have fully realized it); and his seeing of these things is direct. Quite clearly, the idea of re-birth is totally irrelevant here.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:21 am

I don't want to put words in Nibbida's mouth, but what I took that comment to mean is that once you see that there is anatta, that there is nothing to be reborn, and that there is no birth, then rebirth becomes a natural process of aggregates, although not necessarily a physical one, but natural nonetheless. I'm not sure, I have difficulty with rebirth myself, but I see an opening for how it could be a reality, and it's based on that approach. I would like to hear Nibbida's take.

Sorry, Retro. I didn't see your post until just now. I'll leave mine up anyway :)
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:43 am

Nibbida wrote:When one has had the experience of anatta, even if only a temporary glimpse, the issue of rebirth becomes an entirely different matter.


I don't see how it does. It seems to me the basic issue here is about whether consciousness can exist independently of the body.

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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Kare » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:47 am

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

(Lewis Carrol)
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Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:51 pm

Isn't it funny how we take the things we already believe to be so naturally true? Think about all the crap people believed in the not so distant past, stuff we now find laughable. And we have the nerve to pretend that right now, this moment, we have actually got it figured out. Not a single delusion in the old collected knowledge. :tongue: So, basically, I'm saying you already believe in some things that are not true, and don't even know it.
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