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where are the Buddhists
Posted: 28 March 2007 12:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Please excuse my poor typing and sometimes erratic sententence structure. I had a small stroke a while ago and I still struggle a bit with it.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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For Rational Revolution

HI I am keen to find out which of these books or texts referred to below you actually took the time to read. The name and the author will do. And please copy and paste a few lines of the most insane nonsense you found so I and everyone els can see exactly what you are referring to. Please back this up with some evidence.

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Posted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:30 pm   Post subject:
Here are some posts I made on the subject on the Richard Dawkins site:

http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=99213#99213

Here are some Buddhist texts:

http://www.buddhanet.net/ebooks_g.htm

I’ve read through several of them. Take a look. It’s the most insane nonsense I’ve seen in a long time.
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HI I am keen to find out which of these books or texts you actually took the time to read. The name and the author will do. And please copy and paste a few lines of the most insane nonsense you found so I and everyone els can see exactly waht you are referring to.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 12:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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This is an excerpt by HH the Dalai Lama from a chapter
on the nature of Consciousness in his recent book “The universe in a single Atom”


Here I feel a close collaboration between modern science and the contemplative traditions, such as Buddhism, could prove beneficial. Buddhism has a long history of investigation into the nature of mind and its various aspects - this is effectively what Buddhist meditation and its critical analysis constitute. Unlike that of modern science, Buddhism’s approach has been primarily from first-person experience. The contemplative method, as developed by Buddhism, is an empirical use of introspection, sustained by rigorous training in technique and robust testing of the reliability of experience. All meditatively valid subjective experiences must be verifiable both through repetition by the same practitioner and through other individuals being able to attain the same state by the same practice. If they are thus verified, such states may be taken to be universal, at any rate for human beings.
The Buddhist understanding of mind is primarily derived from empirical observations grounded in the phenomenology of experience, which includes the contemplative techniques of meditation. Working models of the mind and its various aspects and functions are generated on this basis; they are then subjected to sustained critical and philosophical analysis and empirical testing through both meditation and mindful observation. If we want to observe how our perceptions work, we may train our mind in attention and learn to observe the rising and falling of perceptual processes on a moment-by-moment basis. This is an empirical process which results in first-hand knowledge of a certain aspect of how the mind works. We may use that knowledge to reduce the effects of emotions such as anger or resentment (indeed, meditation practitioners in search of overcoming mental affliction would wish to do this), but my point here is that this process offers a first-person empirical method with relation to the mind.
I am aware that there is a deep suspicion of first-person methods in modern science. I have been told that, given the problem inherent in developing objective criteria to adjudicate between competing first-person claims of different individuals, introspection as a method for the study of the mind in psychology has been abandoned in the West. Given the dominance of third-person scientific method as a paradigm for acquiring knowledge, this disquiet is entirely understandable.
I agree with the Harvard psychologist Stephen Kosslyn, who has conducted pioneering research into the role of introspection in imagination; he argued at a recent Mind and Life conference, ‘Investigating the Mind’, that it is critical to recognise the natural boundaries of introspection. He argued that, no matter how highly trained a person may be, we have no evidence that his or her introspection can reveal the intricacies of the neural networks and the biochemical composition of the human brain, or the physical correlates of specific mental activities - tasks that can be most accurately performed by empirical observation through application of powerful instruments. However, a disciplined use of introspection would be most suited to probe the psychological and phenomenological aspects of our cognitive and emotional states.
What occurs during meditative contemplation in a tradition such as Buddhism and what occurs during introspection in the ordinary sense are two quite different things. In the context of Buddhism, introspection is employed with careful attention to the dangers of extreme subjectivism - such as fantasies and delusions - and with the cultivation of a disciplined state of mind. Refinement of attention, in terms of stability and vividness, is a crucial preparation for the utilisation of rigorous introspection, much as a telescope is crucial for the detailed examination of celestial phenomena. Just as in science, there is a series of protocols and procedures which contemplative introspection must employ. Upon entering a laboratory, someone untrained in science would not know what to look at, would have no capacity to recognise when something is found; in the same way, an untrained mind will have no ability to apply the introspective focus on a chosen object and will fail to recognise when processes of the mind show themselves. Just like a trained scientist, a disciplined mind will have the knowledge of what to look for and the ability to recognise when discoveries are made.
It may well be that the question of whether consciousness can ultimately be reduced to physical processes, or whether our subjective experiences are non-material features of the world, will remain a matter of philosophical choice. The key issue here is to bracket out the metaphysical questions about mind and matter, and to explore together how to understand scientifically the various modalities of the mind. I believe that it is possible for Buddhism and modern science to engage in collaborative research in the understanding of consciousness while leaving aside the philosophical question of whether consciousness is ultimately physical. By bringing together these two modes of inquiry, both disciplines may be enriched. Such collaborative study will contribute not only to greater human understanding of consciousness but also to a better understanding of the dynamics of the human mind and its relation to suffering. This is a precious gateway into the alleviation of suffering, which I believe to be our principal task on this earth.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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So who gets to decide what Mexican food is? Mexicans. Mexican-Americans? You? Is it only food served in Mexico?

Don’t know I’m just saying that that’s part of the problem with these types of issues.

When does Western Buddhism cease to be Buddhism and just secular humanism with some Buddhist trappings?

I don’t know, but it is important to make the distinctions.

If we argue that people who claim to follow a religion but who don’t literally accept the most egregiously ridiculous of the tenets that have historically been associated with that religion, then we exclude from the religion most of its adherents, at least in most post-Enlightenment Western societies.

I’m not so sure about that. I think that one can reasonably be called a Christian if they believe in heaven and hell, believe in God, believe that Jesus was the son of God who was sent to earth to redeem the world of its sins (whatever that means) and that by faith in Jesus and/or being good, your soul will go to heaven and have eternal life.

I think that pretty much all Christians believed that 2,000 years ago, and they do today as well.

Or must people from those traditions renounce any claim to them in order to join humanism, secularism, or whatever we here are promoting?

My view is yes. I don’t think that any religion is compatible with reason or an ethical life or society. Religion must be 100% rejected, especially these ancient ones.

Why? The two different modes of thought are fundamentally incompatible.

Is God, or Jesus, or Buddha the source of truth or not? Fundamentally, all of these belief systems claim that some individual was special and above everyone else, and that this individual or being, IS THE source of knowledge and what is right and wrong, etc.

Believing that that is true is fundamentally incompatible with secular humanism, science, and reason. If you reject the idea that Buddha or Jesus were special people whose words and deeds had some special meaning above and beyond those of anyone else, then fundamentally you have rejected those religions.

They may not be ideas unique to Buddhism, but they are certainly traditionally Buddhist ideas. Focusing on the present moment, the uselessness of anxiety about past and future, the importance of compassion and the behavioral strategies for reducing anger and disatisfaction are traditional Buddhist ideas and techniques, and they work for many secular weesterners because they don’t depend on a supernaturalist metaphysics.

Yes of course, but these aren’t unique to Buddhism and you don’t have to be a Buddhist be aware of these same things.

at least many traditional Buddhist teachers (though certainly not all) find exploring these things and leaving aside the rest an acceptable way to at least begin the practice of Buddhism.

Right, the big advantage of Buddhism is that more Buddhists seem to be open to rejecting the beliefs of Buddhism. Great, perhaps some day soon all Buddhists will learn to reject all of Buddhism and that will be their greatest achievement!

I’ll call myself a Buddhist at this point. I have reached full enlightenment, and that enlightenment is that there was no Buddha and this religion is nonsense.

Here are some of my specific problems with Buddhism:

1) Many Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, claim that Buddhist meditation is a means of obtaining facts about reality that is superior to empiricism and the scientific method. In other words, they claim that through meditation they “come into contact with true reality and learn the real truths about the world”.

2) Most Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, believe in reincarnation, and reincarnation is a fundamental aspect of Buddhist belief. Reincarnation is the driving force behind all the ideas. If you take away reincarnation then basically you don’t have Buddhism anymore, you just have a meditation practice. That’s like calling the act of prayer being a Christian. Meditating doesn’t make one a Buddhist any more than praying makes one a Christian. Buddhism without reincarnation is like Christianity without heaven, hell, God, and Jesus.

3) A core teaching of Buddhism is the rejection of all desire. I find this simply to be unhealthy and a horrible concept. Indeed, if you look at Buddhist cultures in Asia, you find that Buddhism has spread poverty and backwardness with it wherever it has gone.

In some Buddhist places, the whole community becomes slaves to the monasteries, where the monks do no work and demand that the villagers feed them and care for them, etc.

4) The very idea that some person lived a perfect life and achieved perfection, which the followers are supposed to seek after and try to obtain by following “his” teachings, is absurd and destructive.

These religious figures are always fictional and mythical. Of their their life was perfect, its fiction, people contrived it. You have to be an idiot not to realize that.

As for the Four Noble Truths:

1. Suffering: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.
2. The cause of suffering: The desire which leads to renewed existence (rebirth) (the cycle of samsara)
3. The cessation of suffering: The cessation of desire.
4. The way leading to the cessation of suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path;

This is crap. This is both nonsense and destructive. Cessation of desire is NOT a good thing.

Sila is morality—abstaining from unwholesome deeds of body and speech. Within the division of sila are three parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

1. Right Speech - One speaks in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way (samyag-vāc, sammā-vācā)
2. Right Actions - Wholesome action, avoiding action that would do harm (samyak-karmānta, sammā-kammanta)
3. Right Livelihood - One’s way of livelihood does not harm in any way oneself or others; directly or indirectly (samyag-ājīva, sammā-ājīva)

Samadhi is developing mastery over one’s own mind. Within this division are another three parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

1. Right Effort/Exercise - One makes an effort to improve (samyag-vyāyāma, sammā-vāyāma)
2. Right Mindfulness/Awareness - Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness (samyak-smṛti, sammā-sati)
3. Right Concentration - Being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion. (samyak-samādhi, sammā-samādhi)

Panna is the wisdom which purifies the mind. Within this division fall two more parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

1. Right Thoughts - Change in the pattern of thinking. (samyak-saṃkalpa, sammā-saṅkappa)
2. Right Understanding - Understanding reality as it is, not just as it appears to be. (samyag-dṛṣṭi, sammā-diṭṭhi)

When you look into the details of these you see that they are all full of nonsense. It’s a lot of the same moralistic crap that comes with Christianity one the one hand, then superstitious mumbo-jumbo on the other hand.

“Right Understanding”? This basically says that reality is not as we perceive it, etc., etc., and again you go into subjective mystical nonsense, and mass delusion, where people are encouraged to basically trip out and believe that their subjective meditative delusions are “real reality”.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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[quote author=“errollarkan”]This is an excerpt by HH the Dalai Lama from a chapter
on the nature of Consciousness in his recent book “The universe in a single Atom”


Here I feel a close collaboration between modern science and the contemplative traditions, such as Buddhism, could prove beneficial. Buddhism has a long history of investigation into the nature of mind and its various aspects - this is effectively what Buddhist meditation and its critical analysis constitute. Unlike that of modern science, Buddhism’s approach has been primarily from first-person experience. The contemplative method, as developed by Buddhism, is an empirical use of introspection, sustained by rigorous training in technique and robust testing of the reliability of experience. All meditatively valid subjective experiences must be verifiable both through repetition by the same practitioner and through other individuals being able to attain the same state by the same practice. If they are thus verified, such states may be taken to be universal, at any rate for human beings.
The Buddhist understanding of mind is primarily derived from empirical observations grounded in the phenomenology of experience, which includes the contemplative techniques of meditation. Working models of the mind and its various aspects and functions are generated on this basis; they are then subjected to sustained critical and philosophical analysis and empirical testing through both meditation and mindful observation. If we want to observe how our perceptions work, we may train our mind in attention and learn to observe the rising and falling of perceptual processes on a moment-by-moment basis. This is an empirical process which results in first-hand knowledge of a certain aspect of how the mind works. We may use that knowledge to reduce the effects of emotions such as anger or resentment (indeed, meditation practitioners in search of overcoming mental affliction would wish to do this), but my point here is that this process offers a first-person empirical method with relation to the mind.
I am aware that there is a deep suspicion of first-person methods in modern science. I have been told that, given the problem inherent in developing objective criteria to adjudicate between competing first-person claims of different individuals, introspection as a method for the study of the mind in psychology has been abandoned in the West. Given the dominance of third-person scientific method as a paradigm for acquiring knowledge, this disquiet is entirely understandable.
I agree with the Harvard psychologist Stephen Kosslyn, who has conducted pioneering research into the role of introspection in imagination; he argued at a recent Mind and Life conference, ‘Investigating the Mind’, that it is critical to recognise the natural boundaries of introspection. He argued that, no matter how highly trained a person may be, we have no evidence that his or her introspection can reveal the intricacies of the neural networks and the biochemical composition of the human brain, or the physical correlates of specific mental activities - tasks that can be most accurately performed by empirical observation through application of powerful instruments. However, a disciplined use of introspection would be most suited to probe the psychological and phenomenological aspects of our cognitive and emotional states.
What occurs during meditative contemplation in a tradition such as Buddhism and what occurs during introspection in the ordinary sense are two quite different things. In the context of Buddhism, introspection is employed with careful attention to the dangers of extreme subjectivism - such as fantasies and delusions - and with the cultivation of a disciplined state of mind. Refinement of attention, in terms of stability and vividness, is a crucial preparation for the utilisation of rigorous introspection, much as a telescope is crucial for the detailed examination of celestial phenomena. Just as in science, there is a series of protocols and procedures which contemplative introspection must employ. Upon entering a laboratory, someone untrained in science would not know what to look at, would have no capacity to recognise when something is found; in the same way, an untrained mind will have no ability to apply the introspective focus on a chosen object and will fail to recognise when processes of the mind show themselves. Just like a trained scientist, a disciplined mind will have the knowledge of what to look for and the ability to recognise when discoveries are made.
It may well be that the question of whether consciousness can ultimately be reduced to physical processes, or whether our subjective experiences are non-material features of the world, will remain a matter of philosophical choice. The key issue here is to bracket out the metaphysical questions about mind and matter, and to explore together how to understand scientifically the various modalities of the mind. I believe that it is possible for Buddhism and modern science to engage in collaborative research in the understanding of consciousness while leaving aside the philosophical question of whether consciousness is ultimately physical. By bringing together these two modes of inquiry, both disciplines may be enriched. Such collaborative study will contribute not only to greater human understanding of consciousness but also to a better understanding of the dynamics of the human mind and its relation to suffering. This is a precious gateway into the alleviation of suffering, which I believe to be our principal task on this earth.

Yes, I’ve addressed the issues of the Dalai Lama many times. In essence, the Dalai Lama is acting as an apologist to the West, presenting a most favorable view of the religion and its practices.

There are hundreds of speeches and writings by Popes throughout the centuries that sound just like this, but the issue is that none of these things reflect the reality of these religions.

There are many speeches by Popes that talk about logic and reason, and how Christianity is a religion is that embraces philosophy and the sciences, and that indeed Christianity strengthens science and reason, and that Western philosophy is a product of Catholic philosophical discourse on God, etc.

There are plenty of speeches by these Popes like this that sound very good and erudite, and they say that all miracles have to be investigated and confirmed by observation and science, etc., and then you go to a church and you see old ladies lining up in kiss a piece of toast that looks like Mary.

The fact is that these erudite proclamations don’t match th reality on the ground in these religions.

And what is the Dala Lama talking about here? This isn’t even something that most people would have any use for. He’s talking about basically performing research. Is that why people are Buddhists, to try to perform subjective research on how the mind works? No.

And again, you don’t have to be a Buddhist to meditate, and whatever value there may be in various meditation practices, that in and of itself is not Buddhism any more than praying is being a Christian.

Meditation is a practice, it’s not a set of beliefs.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Re: For Rational Revolution

HI I am keen to find out which of these books or texts you actually took the time to read. The name and the author will do. And please copy and paste a few lines of the most insane nonsense you found so I and everyone els can see exactly waht you are referring to.

They seem to be copy protected. I can’t cut and paste from them.

I don’t recall which ones exactly I read through, it was several months ago. I just picked a few again, it seems that they are all nonsense.

I wish I could cut a paste from them, it would be more fun smile

Apparently the Buddhists are worried about copy protection and property rights. Who knew?

The stuff on rebirth is fun.

Womb to womb, The Scientific Acceptability of Rebirth.

Dharma Mind - Worldly Mind, that’s another fun one.

In the past I read through about 5 or 6 of them. So far every one I have read is completely absurd.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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hi
You are clearly quite happy with the way things are in your life and mind.
Good for you. I genuinely wish you all the best.
It is rare to find some one who is as certain as you are about what is real and important.
Please continue spreading the good news.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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rationalrevolution,

Quote:
When does Western Buddhism cease to be Buddhism and just secular humanism with some Buddhist trappings?


I don’t know, but it is important to make the distinctions.

I guess I’m just not as certain as you that such distinctions can clearly be made.

If you reject the idea that Buddha or Jesus were special people whose words and deeds had some special meaning above and beyond those of anyone else, then fundamentally you have rejected those religions.

Well, Einstein was a special person who’s understanding of some things was greater than most people. To say this doesn’t mean I deify him. I have no idea if the Buddha existed or not, and I’m personally happy to call him a metaphor. But even real Buddhists often say that he was merely an example of what is possible for everyone, not anything unique or divine. As they say, ” If you meet the Buddha, kill him!” By which I think they mean don’t get lost in the cult of worshipping the Buddha because it is a distraction from the real work of understanding yourself and the universe. I think you conflate Buddhist and Christian approaches to their central personalities and ignore a potentially improtant distinction.

Quote:
They may not be ideas unique to Buddhism, but they are certainly traditionally Buddhist ideas. Focusing on the present moment, the uselessness of anxiety about past and future, the importance of compassion and the behavioral strategies for reducing anger and disatisfaction are traditional Buddhist ideas and techniques, and they work for many secular weesterners because they don’t depend on a supernaturalist metaphysics.


Yes of course, but these aren’t unique to Buddhism and you don’t have to be a Buddhist be aware of these same things.

Right, but my whole point was that if Buddhism is a vehicle for bringing these ideas to people, and if the ideas themselves are useful, then Buddhism has something to offer despite the parts that we would agree are crap.

1) Many Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, claim that Buddhist meditation is a means of obtaining facts about reality that is superior to empiricism and the scientific method. In other words, they claim that through meditation they “come into contact with true reality and learn the real truths about the world”.

Agreed. If the method of introspection is supposed to replace empiricism, it’s a mistake. Howevere, the techniques may be useful even before we’ve achieved a truly scientific udnerstanding of what they are doing. Again, the data is not there to support the thesis, but it is not unreasonable that the trial and error development of meditation techniques specific to Buddhism has actually stumbled on usefuls methods for manipulating behavior in beneficial ways. There is a lot science can yet do for us in terms of human psychology, so finding new avenues of research even in such places as ancient religious practices seems rational to me.

2) Most Buddhists, even Western Buddhists, believe in reincarnation, and reincarnation is a fundamental aspect of Buddhist belief. Reincarnation is the driving force behind all the ideas. If you take away reincarnation then basically you don’t have Buddhism anymore, you just have a meditation practice. That’s like calling the act of prayer being a Christian. Meditating doesn’t make one a Buddhist any more than praying makes one a Christian. Buddhism without reincarnation is like Christianity without heaven, hell, God, and Jesus.

Yeah, I have to admit I find this the least appealing aspect of the religion. All I disagree with is the idea that if this is stripped away then there is nothing meaningfuly Buddhist about the remainder. I think Christians can approach Hell, Jesus, Heaven, and other core doctrines metaphorically and still be Christians, though not literalists or fundamentalists. This goes backl to my questions about what ingredients define the cuisine.

3) A core teaching of Buddhism is the rejection of all desire. I find this simply to be unhealthy and a horrible concept. Indeed, if you look at Buddhist cultures in Asia, you find that Buddhism has spread poverty and backwardness with it wherever it has gone.

I think this is a very Werstern misunderstanding of Buddhism. Desire is not itself to be banned, but tghe way desire shapes our approach to life does create suffering. The difference between a child crying hysterically when there’s no ice cream left in the fridge and an adult philosophically shrugging their shoulders and moving on is the kind of manipulation of one’s desires Buddhism suggests, and it’s not the same as Christian mortification of the flesh at all.

I think the idea that BUddhism is responsible for spreading poverty in Asia is a bit of a reach. I think Buddhist cultures may be more inclined to accept philosophically circumstances rather than strive to change everything for the better as we always do in the West. I think a balance between the two would be healthier than either approach. Complacency with suffering is bad, but so is endless disatisfaction and unsatisfiable desire.

Finally, I don’t see the stuff in the Eightfold Path as nearly as objectiuonable as you seem to. Don’t hurt people, tell the truth, don’t exploit people or trash the environment for a living, pay attention to the present moment. Doesn’t really sound all that terrible. You seem determined to see the excesses and extremes of all religion as all there is to the religion. Sure, those things are there and I fight them in my work and community all the time, or I wouldn’t be here. But lets not get as carried away as the “true believers” themselves. Religious traditions may couch sensible ideas in metaphysical nonsense, but the ideas may be sound sometimes anyway, and the only real question is how to get rid of the crap and when do you decide that you’v e gotten rid of enough to no longer have a religion. Some people think Buddhism is already there and call it a “philosophy” instead of a religion. I’m more inclined to still call it a religion, but it ain’t no Islam or Evangelical Christianity, that’s for sure.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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But even real Buddhists often say that he was merely an example of what is possible for everyone, not anything unique or divine. As they say, ” If you meet the Buddha, kill him!” By which I think they mean don’t get lost in the cult of worshipping the Buddha because it is a distraction from the real work of understanding yourself and the universe. I think you conflate Buddhist and Christian approaches to their central personalities and ignore a potentially improtant distinction.

This is another interesting aspect of Buddhism. Buddhism has tons of non-Buddhist apologists who defend some great ideal Buddhism that could exist in theory, but where is this Buddhism, and who practices it?

If you really reject the cult worship of Buddha, then you wouldn’t even call yourself a Buddhist, you wouldn’t have any statues of Buddha, and you wouldn’t revere any teachings of Buddha. So, where does that leave us again?

And, how can a fictional metaphor be an example of anything?

I can write any kind of story about a fictional great person and we can hold that up as an example.

The whole idea of “Buddhism”, is that there is something special about this particular person or set of teachings that is superior to everything else. Something makes it special. I can’t just write a story about a cool guy that was a nice and led a good life that has lessons that are applicable to other people and have that be equal to Buddhism in the mind of Buddhists, no for Buddhists, Buddha and this set of stories has some “transcendental power”, and that’s bullshit.

Right, but my whole point was that if Buddhism is a vehicle for bringing these ideas to people, and if the ideas themselves are useful, then Buddhism has something to offer despite the parts that we would agree are crap.

No, Buddhism doesn’t have anything to offer, because it’s just offering the same stuff everyone else is.

Why have anything to do with Buddhism when both Buddhism and Secular Humanism are offering the same cookies, but Buddhism comes with additional poison on the side, when SH doesn’t?

There are a few good principles, with pretty much every religion agrees upon, and non-religious people to.

The religions, including Buddhism, then add additional lies and crap to those simple basis. There is no reason to have these religions, because they offer nothing real that can’t be had without them, and the additional stuff that they have that goes above and beyond the basics like “be good”,  is all wrong and causes confusion, deception, and undermines other objective and secular values.

The negatives of Buddhism outweigh the positives, because anyone can have the positives without being a Buddhist.

There isn’t anything particular to Buddhism that makes the particular Buddhist beliefs necessary or beneficial.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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RR I went through the section you quoted (below), and removed the wordiness.

[quote author=“rationalrevolution”]

1. One [should] speak in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way.
2. Avoid action that would do harm.
3. Don’t engage in a livelihood that harms others.

1. Make an effort to improve.
2&3. Work to see things clearly, without positive or negative prejudice or myth.

2. Realize that things are not always as they appear at first sight.

When you look into the details of these you see that they are all full of nonsense.

This basically says that reality is not as we perceive it, etc., etc., and again you go into subjective mystical nonsense, and mass delusion, where people are encouraged to basically trip out and believe that their subjective meditative delusions are “real reality”.

I don’t know, RR, it seems pretty humanistic and rational to me.

A agree that people often confuse “truth” as we see it and reality.  I think they were saying that none of us can apprehend more than a tiny bit of the reality of the universe, and that we often misinterpert what we see.

I’m not at all as hard on Buddhism as you are, RR.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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FWIW, and I have argued this here in the past, I find Buddhism to be a generally congenial religion as religions go. The four noble truths are psychological truths in a sense, and quite amenable to the radical anti-acquisitiveness that some on this forum argue for.

Early Buddhism, so far as people can reconstruct, was also relatively free of supernatural excrescences. Basically it was an egalitarian psychology of personal freedom from desire. It was egalitarian in that the Buddha taught that there were no such thing as “castes” ... all sentient beings could potentially understand his teachings, and become enlightened thereby.

I wouldn’t go too far with it, but as I say, if I were to choose any religion as worthwhile, it would be Buddhism as it was practiced in its early stages.

... most of the later Mahayana stuff involves pantheons of Buddhist deities, and puts a bigger emphasis on karma and reincarnation, which is supernatural and without any evidentiary support.

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Posted: 28 March 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]FWIW, and I have argued this here in the past, I find Buddhism to be a generally congenial religion as religions go. The four noble truths are psychological truths in a sense, and quite amenable to the radical anti-acquisitiveness that some on this forum argue for.

Early Buddhism, so far as people can reconstruct, was also relatively free of supernatural excrescences. Basically it was an egalitarian psychology of personal freedom from desire. It was egalitarian in that the Buddha taught that there were no such thing as “castes” ... all sentient beings could potentially understand his teachings, and become enlightened thereby.

I wouldn’t go too far with it, but as I say, if I were to choose any religion as worthwhile, it would be Buddhism as it was practiced in its early stages.

... most of the later Mahayana stuff involves pantheons of Buddhist deities, and puts a bigger emphasis on karma and reincarnation, which is supernatural and without any evidentiary support.

Actually I think the opposite of this is true.

First of all, the earliest writings on Buddhism were supposedly made some 400-600 years after the origin of the religion, so even trying to reconstruct “early Buddhism” is virtually impossible.

Secondly, from the very earliest writings the religion was filled with superstition and deities and cult practices.

Buddhism emerged from Hinduism. It was a sort of anti-establishment movement, that did ridicule many aspects of Hinduism, including the cast system as you say, but this is really no different from Christianity, indeed it was perhaps the Hindu version of Christianity and indeed the two have a lot in common.

You can say certain good things about Christianity too, and there are people who will try and argue that there was some “early pure Christianity that was good”, etc., but it’s all just as futile a problem.

Indeed early Buddhism is far more lost to us than early Christianity is, and both are just as irrelevant to the modern forms.

Both also rely on huge assumptions and reconstructions based on what modern people want the reconstructions to be.

Buddhism “suffers” from a similar thing that happened to Christianity during the Enlightenment by liberal scholars, which is an idealized reconstruction based on the fantasies of the reconstructors not on the facts.

Yes, that idealized reconstruction sounds good, because it interjects modern secular and liberal ideas into these old religions, but the problem is that there is no evidence that these systems ever actually were what these liberal reconstructions purport them to have been.

There is no ancient belief system that hold any kind of “special truth”. At best Buddhism was an anti-cast system movement of its day and had some honorable qualities for its time. The idea that any ancient system of thought should be practiced today, adhered to, or used to seek “truth” or understand the world I simply find to be dangerous, foolish, and absurd.

The idea that “this (fictitious) guy”, or this system, “got it right” and “should be followed” is just plain nonsense.

The fact that anything is even called “Four Noble Truths” is itself dogmatic and absurd. And that the core of these “truths” is rejection of worldliness and desire I find repulsive and destructive.

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Posted: 30 March 2007 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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as an indian

i have a feeling having lived in india & all that…i have a clearer image of what buddhism is about. it started as an offshoot of what the world now calls hinduism, & many hindus accept budhha as a hindu deity. what it essentially is about is a rejection of reality & ambition, including ambition to be happy

now u take that idea further & u get a lot of variations on the theme….. zen, confucious, the lamas…... but what all these say is contemplation is all u need…. if u think hard enough (or wish hard enough) anything is possible… basicaly a situation like the movie matrix.

i dont think there is something inherently wrong about a desire to expand the scope of science into introspection, but making that all u ever want to do precludes all action & ambition, all active inquiry & all science as a result.

thats why i feel this & al eastern religions are bad, because they ridicule happiness & encourage passivity & hollow expostulations. i feel happiness is ours to achieve & anyone who says otherwise is our enemy, no matter how he frames his doctrin

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