Cannot believe in magical things

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:20 pm

Buckwheat wrote: So, basically, I'm saying you already believe in some things that are not true, and don't even know it.


Yes, beliefs are a real nuisance. ;)

Spiny ( I think )

Buckwheat
Posts: 937
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: California USA

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:17 pm

Haha, nice one Spiny. My comment was a generalization inspired by Kare's "Alice in Wonderland" quote and the title of this thread. It wasn't meant as an argument supporting rebirth or anything, only to point out that we all have our delusion, no matter if we face up to them or not. Also, I didn't mean to indicate that every belief we hold is untrue. If I could figure out how to tell the true from the untrue that didn't require years of brutally honest meditation, I'd package it in a little pill and make gabillions of dollars while helping everybody achieve enlightenment overnight :thinking: (I'm kidding, of course).
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Kare
Posts: 689
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Kare » Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:51 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Haha, nice one Spiny. My comment was a generalization inspired by Kare's "Alice in Wonderland" quote ....


Actually, it was from "Through the Looking-Glass" ... :reading:
Mettāya,
Kåre

User avatar
aknon
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:33 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby aknon » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:34 pm

I once had the exact opposite situation to your query. I believed in the existence of gods (not God the Creator). When I came upon Buddhism rejection of gods, I tried to make sense of it. One thing about Buddhism I realized is that what it taught can be observed; maybe not in the actual form but in a representative form.

If you look at gods and devas as higher realm beings, you probably will be wondering is there really such beings. How about if I show you a lower realm - that of the animals and insects. Our realm as human is higher than animal and insects. Animals and insects might see us as in term of gods and devas. They, animals and insects, lived shorter life span compared to us humans just as we humans live shorter life span compared to the gods and devas. We can interact with the animal and insects for good or evil (e.g. we can extinguish a fire that threatened a bee-hive or we can destroy a bee-hive) just as the gods can interact in human affairs for good or evil. Now, to a human, extinguishing a fire only requires us to turn on a tap and hose it down, but to a bee, it would seem that the human can command water; it would be magical. As for Buddha's magical power in the angulimala sutta, the Buddha could be doing something that the has realized in his enlightenment but is miraculous to us.

Before I took up the meditation to establish mindfulness, there was an advice to try it before making any judgement and see it for myself. I did just that and the effect was real and present even for a mediocre practitioner like myself. It would not be beyond believe for the Buddha to have achieved some thing we perceived to be magical power.

Brizzy
Posts: 138
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Brizzy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:31 pm

Surely for most of us it is a gradual process. I personally believe in other worlds. In the beginning I believed in the creator God but, with time and life experience I realised that this could not be. Then I committed to Buddha and had a half hearted believe in 'magical' things. Then over time I proved to myself more & more that the Buddha's teachings were true and could be verified. It is now, not such a tremendous stretch of faith to believe the rest of what the Buddha taught was true (magical things). So even though I have not actually proven to myself that other world's exist, my faith in them has grown with my understanding of the Dhamma. I personally think that the best attitude towards such things is 'lets see' and not be so definitive in our belief or disbelief of such things until we have actually verified or negated the Buddha's teachings.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

nowheat
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby nowheat » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:30 pm

Zom wrote:
As Buddha said - "if there is no rebirth, there is no living the holy life". The explanation of this statement is this: if there in only one life - no need to practise deep renunciation from the world. No need to be a monk. No need to accumulate kamma, no need to develop faculties. Everyone will end up quite soon with one and the same end. The best option will be to get a lot of money and enjoy sensual pleasures.


Hi Zom. I saw this post of yours quoted over on the Great Rebirth Debate thread, and I went looking for a sutta in which the Buddha says, "If there is no rebirth, there is no living of the holy life" and despite some time spent on Pali searches, I cannot find it. I wonder if you would be able to provide me with a citation for that quote?

Thanks in advance.

:namaste:

Buckwheat
Posts: 937
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: California USA

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:35 am

nowheat wrote:
Zom wrote:
As Buddha said - "if there is no rebirth, there is no living the holy life". The explanation of this statement is this: if there in only one life - no need to practise deep renunciation from the world. No need to be a monk. No need to accumulate kamma, no need to develop faculties. Everyone will end up quite soon with one and the same end. The best option will be to get a lot of money and enjoy sensual pleasures.


Hi Zom. I saw this post of yours quoted over on the Great Rebirth Debate thread, and I went looking for a sutta in which the Buddha says, "If there is no rebirth, there is no living of the holy life" and despite some time spent on Pali searches, I cannot find it. I wonder if you would be able to provide me with a citation for that quote?

Thanks in advance.

:namaste:


In the Kalama sutta he says the exact opposite of Zom's "quote": that even if one can not accept rebirth they will still benefit in this lifetime from non-greed, non-hate, and non-delusion.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16351
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:37 am

Hi Buckwheat,

Buckwheat wrote:
In the Kalama sutta he says the exact opposite of Zom's "quote": that even if one can not accept rebirth they will still benefit in this lifetime from non-greed, non-hate, and non-delusion.


You should also read the Apanaka Sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

nowheat
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby nowheat » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:07 pm

I agree, Buckwheat, and that's why I asked. I have had two suttas pointed out to me in defense of the Buddha saying that a belief in rebirth is necessary to the practice, and one turns out to say quite the opposite (if we read the Pali and take it at its word) and the other is mentioned by Ben below. That's why I'd be interested in finding a sutta where he says it as plainly as Zom quotes him saying it.

Ben wrote:Hi Buckwheat,

Buckwheat wrote:
In the Kalama sutta he says the exact opposite of Zom's "quote": that even if one can not accept rebirth they will still benefit in this lifetime from non-greed, non-hate, and non-delusion.


You should also read the Apanaka Sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya.


And when you do, note that the Apanaka Sutta comes with a strong logical structure as its basis, and the way that logical structure is broken by the "B" sections. The overall structure is one of non-dogmatic thought, and the pieces that break the logic -- and make the whole thing pointless -- are the elements of dogmatic thought.

:namaste:

User avatar
Son
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Son » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:55 am

pedro1985 wrote:I try to practice what is written in the suttas (http://www.accesstoinsight.com), because I think it is useful.

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)

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.

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.

I practice what is explained in the suttas because the way of life that is explained in the suttas is the most stable and usefull way of life (in my opinion).

Does anyone feel similar about this?

Please note that it is not my purpose to challenge anybodies beliefs in rebirth.


Very good. But, according to these very useful teachings of the Buddha, you must see the reality of what you're experiencing. The reality is, you have difficulty believing in rebirth and godly beings because almost everyone in your society frowns upon or rejects that idea. Almost everyone in the Buddha's time held the view that rebirth and godly beings were very normal and a FACT of life. The reality of the situation is, society and also the way you are raised in that society has conditioned you very much, and this society is always all around you--people, family, friends, TELEVISION, books, religions. Some people can't believe that there isn't a God. Some people can't believe that there is. The reason you can't believe in the powers of the Buddha is because you didn't see them--makes perfect sense--but it's always because your society and your upraising does NOT accept those ideas. Simple fact of reality. Obvious if you focus on your here and now experience.

These are extreme views. You must see the reality of your own mind, your own life. Don't believe or disbelieve rebirth or devas. You have no problem believing the Buddha existed, but that he saw devas and remembered his past lives you cannot believe. It is discrepancy. You never saw or heard the Buddha, just as you never saw your past life or heard devas. However, if you focus on your own here and now experience and STRIVE with effort and concentration to see the Truth, with meditation, then you can arrive at that knowledge for yourself. This doubt is an obstacle you're imposing on yourself. Do not blindly believe in devas or rebirth. Do not blindly disbelieve them, either! All things can be known by you, when you are ready to know them. So, ready yourself. Focus on readying, nothing but readying. Eventually, be ready to release yourself from suffering altogether. Then, you will know even nirvana. And knowledge of nirvana is even more unbelievable than devas or rebirth.

:) I hope I was helpful to you. I put my heart into this advice.
A seed sleeps in soil.
It's cold and alone, hopeless.
Until it blooms above.

User avatar
Son
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:58 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Postby Son » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 am

Brizzy wrote:Surely for most of us it is a gradual process. I personally believe in other worlds. In the beginning I believed in the creator God but, with time and life experience I realised that this could not be. Then I committed to Buddha and had a half hearted believe in 'magical' things. Then over time I proved to myself more & more that the Buddha's teachings were true and could be verified. It is now, not such a tremendous stretch of faith to believe the rest of what the Buddha taught was true (magical things). So even though I have not actually proven to myself that other world's exist, my faith in them has grown with my understanding of the Dhamma. I personally think that the best attitude towards such things is 'lets see' and not be so definitive in our belief or disbelief of such things until we have actually verified or negated the Buddha's teachings.

Metta

:smile:


Exactly. That's very helpful!

Also, even if you don't believe you'll be reborn, or you don't believe past life karma is effecting you, that doesn't mean you can't do as much good and as much practice to advance to nirvana as possible in this life. Even if you don't believe, in the next life all that karma will benefit you and the practice will move you toward peace. Even if in that next life you don't believe in rebirth, you would still have benefited from the previous life. So you could go through 9 lives of not believing in rebirth, and over that course of 9 lives you could finally reach nirvana, and still not believe in rebirth even when that happens! I think that's beautiful, and that's all that is important here. If belief is ugly it is rejected. If it's beautiful its accepted. That's why people have different beliefs. That's why belief is just subjective.
A seed sleeps in soil.
It's cold and alone, hopeless.
Until it blooms above.


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests