If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby daverupa » Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:09 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
binocular wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:It depends what we mean by "helps", Dave - a theist would probably say that believing in God helps.

I don't think many theists would say that.


I think you've missed my point, which was that the definition of "helpful" is likely to depend on one's spiritual tradition. So somebody in a theist tradition would regard faith in God as helpful to their practice while somebody in a non-theist tradition wouldn't.


This is why the diagnosis of the problem as well as the curative prescription is part of the Four Truths; the problem is defined in a certain way, and understanding this is part of the process of development.

So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:24 am

daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.


For a Buddhist, certainly.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:48 pm

daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.

Which takes for granted that the Dhammic benchmarks are the objectively, independently valid ones, for everyone, at all times.


Spiny Norman wrote:I think you've missed my point, which was that the definition of "helpful" is likely to depend on one's spiritual tradition.

I didn't miss that point at all. Which is why I said earlier -
"And then there are the issues of self-fulfilling prophecies, the placebo effect, and self-referentiality."


So somebody in a theist tradition would regard faith in God as helpful to their practice

I still think that's an odd idea. Have you ever heard an actual theist say that "believing in God helps me in my spiritual practice"?
I haven't.

It's like saying "Knowing how to drive a truck helps me in my job as a truck driver." While it is trivially true, it is also the case that it is not possible to be a truck driver without knowing how to drive a truck to begin with; being able to drive a truck is fundamental to being a truck driver.
In comparison, "Not drinking alcohol helps me in my job as a truck driver" - "not drinking alcohol" is not fundamental to nor specific to being a truck driver.

Non-fundamental and non-specific things can indeed be regarded as "helpful", but basic ones (like believing in God is for a theist, or taking refuge in the Triple Gem is for a Buddhist) are in a category of their own, they are neither helpful nor non-helpful, but definitive.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Crazy cloud » Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:14 pm

soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?


No, if gaining it doesent result in breaking the precepts

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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 7:38 pm

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:... the definition of "helpful" is likely to depend on one's spiritual tradition.


This is why the diagnosis of the problem as well as the curative prescription is part of the Four Truths; the problem is defined in a certain way, and understanding this is part of the process of development.


binocular wrote:
daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.

Which takes for granted that the Dhammic benchmarks are the objectively, independently valid ones, for everyone, at all times.


I did not say those underlined bits, which is an interesting thing for you to generate emphasis about.

I said: "...part of the Four Truths". If this definition of the problem isn't understood, the proposed solution isn't going to make sense either. They are interrelated.

This also doesn't require taking things for granted: the Four Truths are up for discussion with anyone, at all times, and are not articles of faith.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:18 pm

daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.

Why? By whom?

The OP is inquiring about "helpful ideas". But it doesn't specify what they are to be helpful for.

For example, if one wants to make a lot of money in the modern corporate world, then Buddhist insights are for the most part not going to be helpful. Another example, if one wishes to have sex with many people, Buddhism is not where to look for advice.


But I got the impression that you mean "So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks" in absolute terms, regardless of purpose - that some things simply are "helpful", and no discussion of the purpose for which they are helpful is necessary.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:11 pm

binocular wrote:
daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.

Why?


To accomplish Dhammic goals.

By whom?


Dhamma practitioners.

The OP is inquiring about "helpful ideas". But it doesn't specify what they are to be helpful for.


They do say things like 'Buddhism' and 'meditation' though...

But I got the impression...


Hopefully things are cleared up. As I said, what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks - context, in other words.

Spiny Norman wrote:For a Buddhist, certainly.


Well, for anyone interested, really. "Leading to dispassion", and so forth, might just make for an intriguing indication leading to a worthwhile investigation by a nonBuddhist. As I say, the Four Truths are always worth discussing.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:15 am

binocular wrote: Have you ever heard an actual theist say that "believing in God helps me in my spiritual practice"?


Yes, I have, particularly in the more liberal Christian traditions. But perhaps we should discuss this in another thread?
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