Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby hermitwin » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:30 am

someone asked ajahn brahm about the book 'the secret'.
his reply was 'come on, you dont really believe this nonsense do you?'

its very simple, if i want to marry a woman that looks like megan fox.
i will visualise her every day, imagining every detail of our wedding.
and then, a few months later, i am married to a sexy beautiful woman
that looks like megan's twin sister.

dont believe? try it, it worked for me.
ps. just dont tell my wife about it.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:56 am

Some factoidal-like interjections:

-Mystical according to Merriam-Webster.

the "law" of attraction does not equal this:
"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness.

MN 19


as this guy illustrates:
-“What you think, you become” (Fake Buddha Quotes)

-Theravada per se (see the M-B def.) qualifies as "mystical" but it seems like it's being used here to mean something else? Perhaps "not scientific"? Are modern Theravadins more scientifically (and more inclined to philsophical materialism?) oriented than early Buddhists?
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:34 am

No One ever said the world was fair, V. :P

Incidentally, a recent study (published in Scientific American) suggests that very creative people have thought patterns almost identical to people with schizo-affective disorders. Including so-called magical thinking. I would rather have a world that embraces its magical thinkers than a world devoid of whacky creative individuals. Of which I am one. Sixteen books, over thirty DVDs, drawing and panting, and playing piano, harmonica and theremin. Make my living as an entertainer. And believe, thoroughly believe, in Santa Claus.

John R
Flying the freak flag for 53 years and counting.
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:41 am

Theravada is not mystical in nature. It may arguably meet the letter of one of your supplied dictionary definitions, but it does not fit the meaning. Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma. The Buddha's Dhamma is Sanditthiko, something quite at odds with mysticism.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:17 am

BlackBird wrote:Theravada is not mystical in nature. It may arguably meet the letter of one of your supplied dictionary definitions, but it does not fit the meaning. Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma. The Buddha's Dhamma is Sanditthiko, something quite at odds with mysticism.

Sandhitthiko indeed!!!
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:53 am

BlackBird wrote:Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma.

The intellect is a means towards wisdom, but wisdom is beyond intellectual notions.
"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: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:03 am

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma.

The intellect is a means towards wisdom, but wisdom is beyond intellectual notions.


I think we might be splitting hairs here, most probably we both have a similar view point and what is on the table right now is semantics. But nevertheless, would you like to clarify your position, perhaps with some sutta references? I equate one's understanding with intellect, one's knowledge - All eggs of the same basket in my mind, therefore a necessary function of a putthujana and ariya one in the same.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:20 am

BlackBird wrote:Theravada is not mystical in nature. It may arguably meet the letter of one of your supplied dictionary definitions, but it does not fit the meaning. Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma. The Buddha's Dhamma is Sanditthiko, something quite at odds with mysticism.


Theravada has a "nature"? You seem to be very unaware of how you've been conditioned by western-philosophical-materialism and how that is quite at odds with the Buddhadhamma.

They're not my dictionary defitinitions. They're ours. The meaning of a word is it's use in language. Many aspects of Buddhist practice are mystical, e.g., the abhiññā, even by your semantic restrictions.

Of course the dhamma is sanditthiko, but where is it so? In the phenomenon or noumenon? Is it self-evident within, without, both? Is it immediately apparent objectively, subjectively, both? Is it known by direct experience of the world without or the world within--or both? Which "eye" is it "visible" with?

If you want to stipulate a defintion for "mystical" or "mysticism" delineate clearly and distinctly what you believe that is and then try to gain the consensus of all participants in this discussion. Otherwise you'll just appear to be talking to and at us and over us instead of with us.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:22 am

kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma.

The intellect is a means towards wisdom, but wisdom is beyond intellectual notions.

That sounds kind of mystical.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:23 am

BlackBird wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma.

The intellect is a means towards wisdom, but wisdom is beyond intellectual notions.


I think we might be splitting hairs here, most probably we both have a similar view point and what is on the table right now is semantics. But nevertheless, would you like to clarify your position, perhaps with some sutta references? I equate one's understanding with intellect, one's knowledge - All eggs of the same basket in my mind, therefore a necessary function of a putthujana and ariya one in the same.

Are we splitting hairs? You say you equate understanding with intellect. I say there is intellectual understanding, and then there is the understanding which intellectual understanding points towards. Your last sentence regarding eggs I'm afraid is a bit scrambled for me. Perhaps you could clarify.
This Dhamma that I have discovered is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, not within the sphere of reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.

-SN 6.1
"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: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:28 am

Buckwheat wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Theravada is not mystical in nature. It may arguably meet the letter of one of your supplied dictionary definitions, but it does not fit the meaning. Vijja can be grasped by one's intellect, if it were not so there would be no Dhamma. The Buddha's Dhamma is Sanditthiko, something quite at odds with mysticism.

Sandhitthiko indeed!!!

Some other things the dhamma is besides just sandhittiko.

...deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.


And the reason?

...this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.
-Ayacana Sutta, SN 6.1

Not much has changed from the Buddha's generation to ours.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:12 am

danieLion wrote: Otherwise you'll just appear to be talking to and at us and over us instead of with us.


There is no 'us', there's just you. You exhbit classic manipulative behaviour. Trying vainly to set up and 'us and them' situation, or in this case a 'you and us', where no such situation exists. I'm not gonna play ball with you man, it's a forum, not a school yard. You might see me as quote "permanently" on your "list of foes" but I don't see you as anything, just words on a page that I disagree with, and which annoy me.

I'm really in two mind here. Part of me wants to say if you continue to misrepresent something (i.e. calling Theravada mystical) I will continue to offer a contrary point of view, so that people passing by don't happen to think you're an authority on such matter. The other part just wants to put you on ignore, because your attitude problem and arrogance is getting under my skin, and I see no benefit to myself or others of allowing any further negative mind states to arise in me as a result of my dealings with you.

I think the best thing is just to put you on ignore. So it's done.
Last edited by BlackBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:35 am

danieLion wrote:Of course the dhamma is sanditthiko, but where is it so? In the phenomenon or noumenon? Is it self-evident within, without, both? Is it immediately apparent objectively, subjectively, both? Is it known by direct experience of the world without or the world within--or both? Which "eye" is it "visible" with?



I don't think the Buddha, for the purposes of putting an end to dukkha, is concerned at all about noumena.

"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."


But maybe that was your point. Anyway, the dhamma isn't about abstracting in our minds the 'out there' but about seeing what's right here, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, mental phenomena.

mystical (2nd definition): involving or having the nature of an individual's direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality


Also, I think in part that Awakening is abandoning notions of the mystical, letting go, relinquishing the craving for union with god or the experience of ultimate reality. Nibbana is not ultimate reality, it is the destruction of passion, aversion, delusion, craving, self-identity views, the conceit 'I am', the giving up and letting go of everything you've ever thought or experienced, the renunciation of all acquisitions, and is the unexcelled sublime state of peace that results. We could get into semantics about what ultimate reality means but I'll just go ahead and say that by definition ultimate reality would be "out there" and experience by definition never gets out there.

Metta

:anjali:
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:50 am, edited 3 times in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:43 am

BlackBird wrote:
danieLion wrote: Otherwise you'll just appear to be talking to and at us and over us instead of with us.


There is no 'us', there's just you. You exhbit classic manipulative behaviour. I'm not gonna play ball with you man, it's a forum, not a school yard. You might see me as quote "permanently" on your "list of foes" but I don't see you as anything, just words on a page that I disagree with. But if you continue to misrepresent something (i.e. calling Theravada mystical) I will continue to offer a contrary point of view, so that people passing by don't happen to think you're an authority on such matters.


You attack my character? I'm not the one who just made a confidential and private statement public without my permission. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. And I'm the maniuplative one (we all manipulate each other all the time; sometimes skillfulyl and sometimes not; qualifying it with "classic" is unskillful)? What's more school yard than betraying a privatate, confidential statement? You've made a great mistake. I hope you understand that gravity of what you've done.

You appear to be at odds with yourself. You're not going to "play ball" but you're going to continue to argue with me? I think your emotions are getting the best of you.

How can you deny that Theravada is "mystical" when you haven't even properly defined "the meaning" of mystical. Here's some text from William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience to calm your emotions and clear up your muddled intellect.

The words 'mysticism' and 'mystical' are often used as terms of mere reproach, to throw at any opinion which we regard as vague and vast and sentimental, and without a base in either facts or logic. For some writers a 'mystic' is any person who believes in thought-transference, or spirit-return. Employed in this way the word has little value: there are too many less ambiguous synonyms. So, to keep it useful by restricting it, I will do what I did in the case of the word 'religion,' and simply propose to you four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify us in calling it mystical for the purpose of the present lectures. In this way we shall save verbal disputation, and the recriminations that generally go therewith.

1. Ineffability.—The handiest of the marks by which I classify a state of mind as mystical is negative. The subject of it immediately says that it defies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words. It follows from this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others. In this peculiarity mystical states are more like states of feeling than like states of intellect. No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling, in what the quality or worth of it consists. One must have musical ears to know the value of a symphony; one must have been in love one's self to understand a lover's state of mind. Lacking the heart or ear, we cannot interpret the musician or the lover justly, and are even likely to consider him weak-minded or absurd. The mystic finds that most of us accord to his experiences an equally incompetent treatment.

2. Noetic quality.—Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.

These two characters will entitle any state to be called mystical, in the sense in which I use the word. Two other qualities are less sharply marked, but are usually found. These are:—

3. Transiency.—Mystical states cannot be sustained for long. Except in rare instances, half an hour, or at most an hour or two, seems to be the limit beyond which they fade into the light of common day. Often, when faded, their quality can but imperfectly be reproduced in memory; but when they recur it is recognized; and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and importance.

4. Passivity.—Although the oncoming of mystical states may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as by fixing the attention, or going through certain bodily performances, or in other ways which manuals of mysticism prescribe; yet when the characteristic sort of consciousness once has set in, the mystic feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped and held by a superior power. This latter peculiarity connects mystical states with certain definite phenomena of secondary or alternative personality, such as prophetic speech, automatic writing, or the mediumistic trance. When these latter conditions are well pronounced, however, there may be no recollection whatever of the phenomenon, and it may have no significance for the subject's usual inner life, to which, as it were, it makes a mere interruption. Mystical states, strictly so called, are never merely interruptive. Some memory of their content always remains, and a profound sense of their importance. They modify the inner life of the subject between the times of their recurrence. Sharp divisions in this region are, however, difficult to make, and we find all sorts of gradations and mixtures.

These four characteristics are sufficient to mark out a group of states of consciousness peculiar enough to deserve a special name and to call for careful study. Let it then be called the mystical group.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:57 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:
danieLion wrote:Of course the dhamma is sanditthiko, but where is it so? In the phenomenon or noumenon? Is it self-evident within, without, both? Is it immediately apparent objectively, subjectively, both? Is it known by direct experience of the world without or the world within--or both? Which "eye" is it "visible" with?



I don't think the Buddha, for the purposes of putting an end to dukkha, gives a flying duck about noumena.

So you think he experienced the abhiññā and nibbanna phenomenally only?

polarbuddha101 wrote:
"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."


But maybe that was your point. Anyway, the dhamma isn't about abstracting in our minds the 'out there' but about seeing what's right here, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, mental phenomena.

mystical (2nd definition): involving or having the nature of an individual's direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality


Also, I think in part that Awakening is abandoning notions of the mystical, letting go, relinquishing the craving for union with god or the experience of ultimate reality. Nibbana is not ultimate reality, it is the destruction of passion, aversion, delusion, craving, self-identity views, the conceit 'I am', the giving up and letting go of everything you've ever thought or experienced, the renunciation of all acquisitions, and is the unexcelled sublime state of peace that results. We could get into semantics about what ultimate reality means but I'll just go ahead and say that by definition ultimate reality would be "out there" and experience by definition never gets out there.
So you think ultimate reality, or nibbana as the Buddha called it, happens noumenally and phenomenally?

If you're not going for consistency, then I suppose there's some sense to this.
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:28 am

So you think he experienced the abhiññā and nibbanna phenomenally only?


As for retrocogniton, it is recollection of previous experience (which I suppose may require ESP but I can't really say for sure, it may be more related to memory). As for seeing beings pass away and be reborn I suppose it's a matter of extra-sensory perception and so I guess it does have some sort of noumenal component in so far as the Buddha was tapping into something out there to perceive. As for flying around and whatnot, I think it was added in to the suttas later (or it's figurative) but I suppose it's conceivable that either people really can fly around or that the Buddha was crazy, although I can't accept the last idea seeing as I think he was awakened and all. As for knowing the mind states of others, the suttas aren't talking about reading thoughts (at least usually as far as I know), they're talking about knowing whether a mind is greedy or not, in samadhi or not, etc. and most of this could be picked up by having an awesome ability to read body language although I suppose some ESP may be required when this doesn't suffice. So I suppose the abhinna are a bit more than mere sights, sounds, smells, taste, tactile sensations, (ordinary mental phenomena) although they are in the end just a higher level of mental phenomena.

I don't think nibbana is something out there, it isn't some noumena existing outside of the destruction of passion, aversion, delusion, craving etc.. Nibbana is just a word that describes this destruction of fermentations and the unexcelled sublime state of peace that results. It's also the end of any more rebirth and so at death the six senses grow cold right there. Nana put it well in another thread:

Given the definition given in SN 38.1, SN 43.1-44, and Abhidhamma Vibhaṅga 184, I would say that it's a designation (paññatti, prajñapti) referring to the elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion. Or with regard to the four paths (stream-entry, etc.), a designation referring to the elimination of fetters terminated by each path. This is similar to the Sautrāntika interpretation.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=16374&start=0




So you think ultimate reality, or nibbana as the Buddha called it, happens noumenally and phenomenally?

If you're not going for consistency, then I suppose there's some sense to this.


I think ultimate reality is a rather silly idea considering the fact that one can never escape experience, our world is always phenomenological, it consists of experience, speaking of stuff outside of phenomena, i.e. appearances/experience, is talking about ideas, which also are part of experience. No inconsistency here.

Also, the idea of experiencing noumena is contradictory if we're going by Leibniz here.

So nibbana is wholly phenomenal (in the sense that nibbana isn't something hanging out waiting to be cognized through ESP) while the abhinna have some aspect of "out there-ness" that one taps into with ESP.

Also, only the sixth abhinna, the destruction of the asavas and realization of nibbana is necessary to put an end to dukkha. Hence my first statement stands that for the purposes of putting an end to dukkha, searching "out there" is unnecessary.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby Mr Man » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:02 am

hermitwin wrote:someone asked ajahn brahm about the book 'the secret'.
his reply was 'come on, you dont really believe this nonsense do you?'



Ajahn Brahm also said "therefore it is not a lie that Gods do exist, and they do assist the pure followers of the Dhamma. "

http://www.dailynews.lk/2005/03/23/fea09.htm
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby manas » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:33 am

Viscid wrote:
BubbaBuddhist wrote:The idea is that the "universe" has a storehouse of good things set aside for you, and if you send out a positive message that you're ready to receive your share--it will come to you. So if you do not get something for which you've asked, you're either asking for something not yours (the wrong car, person, or house) and/or aren't prepared to receive it.


This type of magical thinking is a fairly revolting vestige of theism. 'God rewards his obedient children with goodies.' It is absurd to say that everyone who had starved to death in a famine was unworthy of food, or that those children dying of cancer are simply not 'prepared' to be cured. Incredible tragedy happens to even the most deserving of individuals, and any principle of the world must account for that.


Viscid you summed up nicely my main objection to it. For example, take a child born into abject poverty, who has no access to clean drinking water and little access to food, is always hungry, and can't get an education - saying of that child "his current core beliefs about reality, are the underlying cause of his poverty" is not just plain wrong, it is insulting.

:anjali:
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby Mr Man » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:52 am

manas wrote:
Viscid wrote:
BubbaBuddhist wrote:The idea is that the "universe" has a storehouse of good things set aside for you, and if you send out a positive message that you're ready to receive your share--it will come to you. So if you do not get something for which you've asked, you're either asking for something not yours (the wrong car, person, or house) and/or aren't prepared to receive it.


This type of magical thinking is a fairly revolting vestige of theism. 'God rewards his obedient children with goodies.' It is absurd to say that everyone who had starved to death in a famine was unworthy of food, or that those children dying of cancer are simply not 'prepared' to be cured. Incredible tragedy happens to even the most deserving of individuals, and any principle of the world must account for that.


Viscid you summed up nicely my main objection to it. For example, take a child born into abject poverty, who has no access to clean drinking water and little access to food, is always hungry, and can't get an education - saying of that child "his current core beliefs about reality, are the underlying cause of his poverty" is not just plain wrong, it is insulting.

:anjali:


manas, there are many Theravada Buddhists who would say it is the childs kamma. How different is that?
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Re: Some dangerously misleading New Age thinking

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:48 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:Anyway, the dhamma isn't about abstracting in our minds the 'out there' but about seeing what's right here, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, mental phenomena.

Yep. But then, seeing said phenomena as "as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self" one turns the mind away from said phenomena and towards the deathless element.
"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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