Christian-Buddhism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Rambutan
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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cappuccino wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:52 am
Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:42 am It’s not “more accurate”
You can be free of stress, that’s the point
A state absent stress
This is the goal, rather than non existence
Why are you so hung up on ‘non-existence’ ?
What’s the purpose in confronting an argument
that nobody is making?
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Sam Vara
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

Post by Sam Vara »

Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:41 am
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 10:25 am
Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:14 am But how do you define nibbana? How about:
‘the complete cessation of suffering that’s caused by attachment to the appearance of phenomena as truly existent when in truth, it’s not.’
I personally wouldn't define it like that. That looks incoherent or at least ambivalent, possibly due to a grammatical error. But exact definitions aren't needed here. The salient point is that however conceived, liberation requires faith that such a thing is possible. I can't imagine any soteriology being based on apodictic premises, although I'm open to persuasion.
Haha yes it’s a run-on sentence, poorly structured but grammatically correct. Try this rewrite:

Nibbana is the complete cessation of suffering.
The suffering results from attachment to
the appearance of phenomena.
Beings create this attachment by perceiving phenomena as being truly existent (permanent).
But in fact, phenomena are not permanent, but only arise temporarily, conditionally.

In other words, everything beings grasp at
arises as composites
and when the causes of the composites cease
What beings grasp at also ceases
and suffering results from experiencing that cessation.

For example, If I identify with my body when I’m young and healthy, then because the causes of youthful appearance is only the result of temporary causes, then when I become old and sick and wrinkled, if I am still attached to my youthful appearance I will experience suffering.

So, the argument that
“without all the holy miraculous detail about the Buddha's attainment of nibbana, the whole foundation of Buddhism falls apart.” Really isn’t valid. One doesn’t need to believe by means of faith that the Buddha attained nibbana. One merely needs to practice the Buddhist teachings to experience for oneself that the less one becomes attached to appearances, the less one suffers when things change.
But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here. If one practices for the complete cessation of suffering, Arahantship, or sotapatti, then one needs to have faith that such a thing is possible; that there really are Buddhas, arahants, and sotapannas. If, though, one merely practices for a diminution of life's current problems (like, say, a "pleasant abiding in this world") one still needs to have faith that the prescribed practice is to that extent efficacious. That's why it is a pada - one goes somewhere definite, where one is not now.
Can you say that if a Christian follows the teachings of Christ that they actually experience some actual life in heaven or some level of Christ-ness while still on Earth?
Can they cure blind people or walk on water?
I guess pentacostals believe something like that, don’t they?
This is to revert back to a consideration of what religious types actually think they are doing, as opposed to what texts say. You'd do better to ask a Christian, but my understanding is that they claim to experience "life in abundance", and a growing sense of God's grace and love. That's what they tell me, anyway. I don't think any believe that the Imitatio Christi involves partaking of his divinity, any more than the fruits of Buddhist practice involve developing long ear-lobes and being able to stroke the sun and moon. But I'm out of my depth here, and maybe Retro can address this.
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:22 pm But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here.
Hi Sam Vara :hello:

But we need to distinguish between the faith and (rational) expectation/anticipation. We all live with the expectation that the Sun rises once again tomorrow. We don't know that it will rise. It might explode right now for some unexpected or unknown to us reason. But we believe , rationally expect that it will rise.

Compare this with the faith in a supernatural, omnipresent, almighty, omniscient entity that for some reason appeared in the form of a human and somehow magically redeemed us from the sin it itself had cast on us previously. And said that only by having faith in all that one will be saved.

Now, in Buddhism, we have a rational method of liberating us from the fetters of greed, hatred and delusion, based on facts. There are arahants. There are those who have reached the goal. It is possible to talk to them and feel that they got rid of greed, hatred and delusion.

The belief in gods is not necessary. Belief in karma and rebirth, as per Mahākammavibhaṅga- and Pāyāsi-suttantas, is a rather complex and very personal issue.

If we turn to the right view it likely fundamentally appears as no-view, i.e., maintaining sceptical and cognitively complex analysis of experiences, that bypasses rigid views.

All in all, it appears that the core of the teaching doesn't presuppose any need of irrational, blind faith in supernatural (impossible?) things, but, instead, is based on facts, logic and experience.
Last edited by sphairos on Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:41 am One doesn’t need to believe by means of faith that the Buddha attained nibbana.
I’d have to disagree.
“The teacher willed that this world appear to me
as impermanent, unstable, insubstantial.
Mind, let me leap into the victor’s teaching,
carry me over the great flood, so hard to pass.”
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:22 pm But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here. If one practices for the complete cessation of suffering, Arahantship, or sotapatti, then one needs to have faith that such a thing is possible;
I already explained some the reasoning behind that.

What I’m saying is that the true nature of your mind and my mind is no different than the mind of a Buddha. When you meditate, you are already practicing. You aren’t instantly a Buddha of course. But the faith isn’t abstract. When you take a bite of a pie, you know what the whole pie tastes like. Your faith in that is more like confidence, because you’ve tested it out for yourself and experienced the results. Same with meditation, the eightfold path, and so on.

That’s the difference between Buddhist practice and faith in a god. It’s a logical assumption that one can remove the causes of suffering completely, because it’s possible to do it now because it’s about uncovering what one already has, and not about “acquiring enlightenment”. You aren’t trying to get to Heaven. You are realizing, as the saying goes, “the kingdom of Heaven is within”. It’s already there.
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:50 pm
Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:41 am One doesn’t need to believe by means of faith that the Buddha attained nibbana.
I’d have to disagree.
How does an arsonist know that if they set fire to a house it will burn? Faith? If so, what is that faith based on?
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:04 pm Why are you so hung up on ‘non-existence’ ?
What’s the purpose in confronting an argument
that nobody is making?
Buddha said no self leads to annihilationism


And many think no self…


Though they say nothing is annihilated


That’s still the wrong view
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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The point I’m making isn’t about faith in general. It’s about “because/therefore” and the idea that
because the Buddha did this and this and this, that therefore the four noble truths are true, the eightfold path is valid, and so on.

It’s like saying that because Jesus is said to have performed miracles with water and wine and fish and bread and supposedly came back from the dead, that therefore you should practice forgiveness and loving thy neighbor and caring for the sick.

You don’t have to believe those miracles in order to do those good things. Buddha didn’t experience nibbana because he reached the cessation of suffering. Nibbana is the cessation of suffering. The four noble truths would still be just as true if the story of the Buddha had happened to his cousin Devadatta instead.
They are true because they are simply statements of the truth. Same with the eightfold path. Do this and don’t do that and you will get these results. If you don’t hit your head with a hammer, you won’t experience pain from that. You can try this out then see if it’s true. It doesn’t require religious faith.
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 2:26 pm therefore you should practice forgiveness and loving thy neighbor and caring for the sick.
In order to reach heaven and avoid hell
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:41 am Nibbana is the complete cessation of suffering.
The suffering results from attachment to
the appearance of phenomena.
The Buddha wrote:delight is the root of suffering & stress
Mulapariyaya Sutta
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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sphairos wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:49 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:22 pm But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here.
Hi Sam Vara :hello:

But we need to distinguish between the faith and (rational) expectation/anticipation. We all live with the expectation that the Sun rises once again tomorrow. We don't know that it will rise. It might explode right now for some unexpected or unknown to us reason. But we believe , rationally expect that it will rise.
Hi sphairos :hello:

Yes, such reasonable expectation is the result of inductive reasoning. Rambutan's point was that it could be deduced, and I don't think it can.
Compare this with the faith in a supernatural, omnipresent, almighty, omniscient entity that for some reason appeared in the form of a human and somehow magically redeemed us from the sin it itself had cast on us previously. And said that only by having faith in all that one will be saved.
Some might (as per the ontological argument) claim a role for deductive reasoning there, but I can't really see how that works, either.
Now, in Buddhism, we have a rational method of liberating us from the fetters of greed, hatred and delusion, based on facts. There are arahants. There are those who have reached the goal. It is possible to talk to them and feel that they got rid of greed, hatred and delusion.

The belief in gods is not necessary. Belief in karma and rebirth, as per Mahākammavibhaṅga- and Pāyāsi-suttantas, is a rather complex and very personal issue.

If we turn to the right view it likely fundamentally appears as no-view, i.e., maintaining sceptical and cognitively complex analysis of experiences, that bypasses rigid views.

All in all, it appears that the core of the teaching doesn't presuppose any need of irrational, blind faith in supernatural (impossible?) things, but, instead, is based on facts, logic and experience.
Yes, I would agree with that, but my point is the supposed deduction from any of that to the idea that nibbāna is possible for me. I would need faith in the unknown (n.b. not blind faith, nor irrational in the weaker sense of being inductively informed, nor faith in the supernatural or certainly not the impossible) in order to seek nibbāna or even a lessening of current suffering.
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Rambutan wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:52 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:22 pm But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here. If one practices for the complete cessation of suffering, Arahantship, or sotapatti, then one needs to have faith that such a thing is possible;
I already explained some the reasoning behind that.

What I’m saying is that the true nature of your mind and my mind is no different than the mind of a Buddha.
Maybe. I don't practice in those terms, and to me that looks like an article of faith. Again, I ask how one might establish the truth of such a statement if it is to form a premise in a deductive argument.
When you meditate, you are already practicing.
Of course, by definition. My point is that such meditation didn't happen without having faith in something that I didn't know, and couldn't deductively work out for myself.
That’s the difference between Buddhist practice and faith in a god. It’s a logical assumption that one can remove the causes of suffering completely, because it’s possible to do it now because it’s about uncovering what one already has, and not about “acquiring enlightenment”.
It certainly isn't, as far as I can see, deductively certain in a way that avoids faith. There is, as per above, the matter of the "true nature of my mind". If that is to be a premise in the argument, then how is its truth known? Then, looking at the logical form rather than the veracity of the premises, how does the removal or lessening of suffering here and now necessitate believing that all suffering can be completely and permanently removed?

It's something of a side-issue here, because I think they are probably equally analogous forms of thinking, but I can't see why you insist that the practice is essentially one of removing and revealing rather than acquiring or attaining. There are lots of explanations, some of them pericopes, about removing hindrances, kilesas, ignorance, and so on. All useful. But there are also huge numbers about a path, travel to somewhere where one currently isn't situated, acquiring and developing and cultivating virtues, merit, qualities, and realisations, attainments, wisdom, etc., all of which point to the opposite way of looking at practice. In the absence of a teaching which definitively states that the reality is to do with removing rather than a figurative cultivation, how much weight can this have? Is it anything more than faith or preference when selecting texts?
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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sphairos wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:49 pm
Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:22 pm But one doesn't just find oneself practising, without the faith that the practice leads to a decrease in suffering. The final aim of the practice is unimportant here.
Hi Sam Vara :hello:

But we need to distinguish between the faith and (rational) expectation/anticipation. We all live with the expectation that the Sun rises once again tomorrow. We don't know that it will rise. It might explode right now for some unexpected or unknown to us reason. But we believe , rationally expect that it will rise.

Compare this with the faith in a supernatural, omnipresent, almighty, omniscient entity that for some reason appeared in the form of a human and somehow magically redeemed us from the sin it itself had cast on us previously. And said that only by having faith in all that one will be saved.

Now, in Buddhism, we have a rational method of liberating us from the fetters of greed, hatred and delusion, based on facts. There are arahants. There are those who have reached the goal. It is possible to talk to them and feel that they got rid of greed, hatred and delusion.

The belief in gods is not necessary. Belief in karma and rebirth, as per Mahākammavibhaṅga- and Pāyāsi-suttantas, is a rather complex and very personal issue.

If we turn to the right view it likely fundamentally appears as no-view, i.e., maintaining sceptical and cognitively complex analysis of experiences, that bypasses rigid views.

All in all, it appears that the core of the teaching doesn't presuppose any need of irrational, blind faith in supernatural (impossible?) things, but, instead, is based on facts, logic and experience.
Kamma and rebirth would qualify. That is part of Right View. I don’t see how we can reason our way to the conclusion that an evolved ape can never experience anger, or grief etc (psychopaths to the side). I don’t see how we can reason that Nibbana is possible, or that the Buddha was awakened. Reasoning may play a role in awakening, but I assume we are talking before that here.
“The teacher willed that this world appear to me
as impermanent, unstable, insubstantial.
Mind, let me leap into the victor’s teaching,
carry me over the great flood, so hard to pass.”
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Ceisiwr wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:10 pm I don’t see how we can reason our way to the conclusion that an evolved ape can never experience anger, or grief
People indulge in anger and grief


They do not have to…
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Re: Christian-Buddhism?

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Sam Vara wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 3:37 pm My point is that such meditation didn't happen without having faith in something that I didn't know, and couldn't deductively work out for myself.
Well, having faith and deductively working things out are two very different things. But my experience is also different from yours. I didn’t begin with faith. I began with a monk showing me how to sit and watch the breath.
It’s like trying a new food for the first time.
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