Collective wrote:Found this interesting:
"As a former Buddhist I have come upon a fundamental fallacy that no Buddhist (including several high Tibetan Lamas) have never been able to answer. There are a few facts that one has to confront first.
1. All Buddhists believe that once you have attained enlightenment--i.e. become a Buddha--you can never go back. Attaining enlightenment changes you forever, whether you are a Mayahana buddhist and return to the cycle of existence as a boddhisatva or as a Therevaden enter into Nirvana and stop the cycle of rebirth.
2. All Buddhists believe that we have lived an infinite number of prior lives. This is because of the law of dependent origination. All phenomena have a cause which precedes it in time. This gives rise to the law of cause and effect, or karma. Tibetans have a rather beautiful way of encouraging compassion in this respect. They say that every sentient being has been your mother in a prior life, not just once, but an infinite number of times.
So...if this is true then it must be impossible for me to attain enlightenment, as I haven't become enlightened yet, even though I have had an INFINITE number of lives to do so.
I have asked zen monks, Tibetan lamas (Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Lama Choden Rinpoche, Lama Ribur Rinpoche, among others, this question and they either shrug their shoulders or laugh. But nobody gives me an answer."
What do you think?
I think it's naive to assume that Buddhism is about holding beliefs regarding what we cannot see.
I'm sure that you observed that meditation practice is pretty much about putting down any and every speculative opinions, views and beliefs; this is the way that leads to realization, that leads to the end of suffering. But even with a good worldly comprehension of the dhamma, it is quite clear that the attainment of Nibbana is basically irrelevant. The reason for this is that the path is about a direction, and not about a destination. You just hold the direction, because you understood that it is the only reasonable direction. With every single step you know that you get further and further away from stress, and you get nearer and nearer to ease. Whether there is an endpoint or not... It only matters if one thinks that there are better things to do in the case of no Nibbana, but if one's level of understanding is this, then, well, there is truly no Nibbana for that being.
Of course there is nothing wrong with intellectual inquiry; after all this is how we came to Buddhism. But it is important to keep in mind that regarding the Ultimate, much of our everyday concepts lose their applicability. What was before Everything? Where is this Everything in? How could something come into existence from nothing? These topics are so vague that every kind of religious person uses them to ascertain the existence of a creator god, with some strangle logic. You can go just such and such far with everyday intellect, and then you have to put it down if you intent to pursue that direction with any success in clear comprehension.
Speaking about fallacy, what do you think, what was the motivation of the questioner? Why he or she proposed this question? If you follow the thread, it boils down to the realization that he or she simply pursued his or her interest, pursued his or her contentment. In fact every single act of every single sentient being is about pursuing contentment. Even if someone says that he is not interested in contentment, the real meaning is that he identifies contentment with not being interested in contentment. Remember that the Buddha said: I only teach suffering and the end of suffering
? This doesn't mean limited teaching: it means that this is the highest, this is the essential; everything
falls into this category. So, did the questioner get closer to contentment by asking this question, and by possibly losing the Dhamma? Did he acted with clear comprehension of his or her true motivation? Not likely. The inability to distinguish the essential from the unessential, and the not knowing of our true motivation – this is what I call fundamental fallacy.
Edit: You might want to check out the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta
about the speculative views:
As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"
"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"
"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"
"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"
"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"
"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if he holds the view 'the cosmos is eternal...' ... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless,' he says '...no...' in each case. Seeing what drawback, then, is Master Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?"
"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' ... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"
"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."
"But, Master Gotama, the monk whose mind is thus released: Where does he reappear?"
"'Reappear,' Vaccha, doesn't apply."
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"