The Dawkins Dilemma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Dhammabodhi
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The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Dhammabodhi » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:49 pm

Hi all,

This post is a result of vicikicca. I recently came across Richard Dawkins whom I admire a lot for his enormous courage to speak up against superstition and religious dogma. The video is below:



I'd like to know what you think about the approach he advocates and how and why should we reject it to follow a Buddhist path? Is the peace one experiences through meditation just a 'security blanket' which is self-decieving? I know there is no straightforward answer to this but I'd appreciate your views.

Thank you for your answers,
:anjali:
Dhammabodhi
"Take rest, take rest."-S.N.Goenka

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Ben
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Ben » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:55 pm

Hi Dhammabodi

The Buddha himself said that we should 'ehi passiko' (come see for ourselves). Investigate reality for ourselves. If it really was a security blanket, then we would discover that and abandon the path. THe fact is, the Buddhist path, when practiced, provides benefit now and in the future.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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cooran
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby cooran » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:15 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Laurens
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Laurens » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:23 pm

The difference in Buddhism is that continuing beyond this life into another is not a comfort.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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BlackBird
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby BlackBird » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:26 pm

Dawkins has some good ideas, but like you and me, actors, sports people, politicians, presidents, Nobel laureates and the vast majority of human beings, he's still deluded. He's still clinging to that self view, in his case, perhaps more tenaciously than some.

I think his actual knowledge of religion as a whole is woefully deficient. Like the majority of 'westerners' he tends to view religion as almost entirely concerned with one notion or other of God. I think rather than really doing his homework with an open mind, Dawkins has breezed over this part, lustful to purport his own theories. This is particularly evident with regards to Buddhism, which he quickly relegates as a ethical philosophy, not a religion, then moves on.

Sure he's got balls to stand up to some of the more negative aspects of religion, but since when did having courage alone become something to admire? Do we admire Hitler for his courage during those early years?

(i don't mean to draw the inference of comparison btw)

:anjali:
"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." -

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Cittasanto
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:53 pm

fundamentalists don't look at the whole spectrum, and hate is hate, no matter what the justification is.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:54 pm


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BlackBird
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby BlackBird » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:55 pm

Yeah that's actually quite true Tilt :embarassed:
"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." -

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Laurens
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Laurens » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:15 pm

The problem that I find with atheists is that they are increadibly hypocritical. They use extremely judgemental and often offensive terms to describe someone who claims to know that there is something beyond this life, yet they claim to know with some certainty that there is nothing beyond this life. Claiming to know for certain that there is nothing beyond this life is just as bad as claiming to know for certain that there is something beyond this life. The honest truth is; we don't know.

I really don't see much difference between atheists and religous people, they are both (for the most part) slaves to belief systems, the only difference being that an atheist's belief system is based upon science and "rationality". The other main similarity is their strong desire to preach their dogma to others and also their intolerance of people who disagree with them.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:18 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Tex
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Tex » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:39 pm

I read The God Delusion and liked a lot of what he had to say.

But Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett make most of same points and do a much better job, in my opinion.

Dawkins comes across as bitter and almost militant in his critiques (and he mentions that he was raised and educated in Christian schools, so maybe his bitterness is understandable), whereas Harris and Dennett come across as philosophers skillfully showing the flaws and dangers in theism, pulling no punches, but sounding less angry and more thoughtful in their critiques.
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

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acinteyyo
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:04 am

Last edited by acinteyyo on Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:11 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Tex
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Tex » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:30 am

Last edited by Tex on Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

Mawkish1983
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:36 am


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BlackBird
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby BlackBird » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:48 am

Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:58 am, edited 1 time 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." -

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BlackBird
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby BlackBird » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:57 am

Ah, acinteyyo's one step ahead of me :thumbsup:

I can see a rather large contradiction in the first few lines of Dawkins' speech, but perhaps that was for dramatic effect.
"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." -

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pink_trike
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby pink_trike » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:20 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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retrofuturist
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:28 am

Greetings pink_trike,

That's precisely why I said "the Dhamma" and not "Buddhism".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dhammabodhi
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Re: The Dawkins Dilemma

Postby Dhammabodhi » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:18 am

"Take rest, take rest."-S.N.Goenka


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