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Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007




Paramemetic posted:

The brain is physical hardware that addresses a lot of sensation and perception including the embodied experience of thoughts (these being a class of perception) but we don't really have a good reason to associate this with mind itself.

Do you have a good reason to dissociate the mind from the embodied experience of thoughts?

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Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Rodney The Yam II posted:

Do you have a good reason to dissociate the mind from the embodied experience of thoughts?

A good reason? Probably not? No better than the reason for associating them in the first place. I'd vaguely gesture towards like Ian Stevenson's research at UVA, Rhea White's work with EHEs and how many of those include disembodied consciousness experiences, and so on but I don't have an alternate physical location for the mind that I would propose. The mind doesn't have a location, basically, and isn't really a spatial thing, and I would say that both from an experiential and a Buddhist and a research based perspective. But a good reason just kinda leads down the rabbit hole of what someone wants to consider sufficient.

Suffice to say the conscious experience we have when waking is undoubtedly mediated by the physical sense organs and the functioning of the brain, but that doesn't give us a lot of insight into mind itself, and that I don't think the hard problem of consciousness is not adequately resolved through a "consciousness comes from the brain" answer.

I guess the glib answer would be "do you have a good reason for associating the mind with the brain."

Also to be clear I was saying that mind itself isn't really dependent on the brain. Embodied experience of thought is certainly something that is arising within the mind. The brain is certainly part of that sense organ -> contact -> phenomenon pathway, but not necessarily the entirety of it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Paramemetic posted:

I guess the glib answer would be "do you have a good reason for associating the mind with the brain."

Also to be clear I was saying that mind itself isn't really dependent on the brain. Embodied experience of thought is certainly something that is arising within the mind. The brain is certainly part of that sense organ -> contact -> phenomenon pathway, but not necessarily the entirety of it.
My own analogy has been that the brain is a tool for the mind, and that the brain can affect the mind, but they aren't a 1:1 parallel. It is something that will be difficult to test without regenerative brain therapies of various kinds, but I expect that if you had someone with a rage problem due to an organic brain injury, and you healed that injury, they will still have some echoes of the rage problem - the habits they had developed to get around it, and so on.

Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007




I suppose my question was a reaction to your wording about not having a good reason for associating them. Instead, it would be better for me to offer potentially good reasons for that association, and to articulate why I react so hard to what I saw as an easy assumption about the mind and body being unassociated. I'm out and about at the moment, so for now thank you for your response and I'll be back later with more to add!

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


Paramemetic posted:

Okay so there are some layers here.

First layer is, don't make the mistake of thinking that psychedelic experiences are comparable here or a useful frame of reference. They can be, but I've more often seen people confuse their psychedelic experiences for The Experience You're Looking For and think that Buddhist methods are trying to reproduce those states.

The other ones are tricky to answer because you can't give a dualistic answer to a question of non-dual states. I can't say thoughts happen in a non-dual enlightened state because that would mean thoughts are occurring in a dualistic mode (happening, as opposed to not-happening) or what the cognitive processes involved are. The physical body of someone who has achieved an enlightened state still go through normal processes, including the brain - but I don't necessarily think that the brain and the mind are are linked as people would like to believe. The brain is physical hardware that addresses a lot of sensation and perception including the embodied experience of thoughts (these being a class of perception) but we don't really have a good reason to associate this with mind itself.

The unfortunately probably-unsatisfactory answer that Jigten Sumgon gave to this question, in the Single Intention, is basically "play to find out what happens." You can't express the enlightened, non-dual experience using a dualistic modality like answering these questions. It can only be experienced. When you have an experience that you can't express, that's maybe a glimpse, but don't dwell on it. Trust in the method to get you where you need to be and don't get distracted pursuing after things that can be pursued.

So that's the Buddhist answer. From a Western transpersonal psychology perspective, I'm going to say: It's not just "zoning out," it's not "flow," but it is superficially similar to both in that it's an altered state of consciousness of which the present goings-on of our lives are merely a fragment. That is, this experience that we're having now doesn't necessarily go away, but our view of it and our understanding and engagement with it fundamentally changes. I can't speak to the enlightened state from experience, but this is my take on what it could very well be like from a scientific perspective.

I think one of the really key distinctions between drug-induced non-dual experience and uh a non-dual baseline (by whichever name you want to call it) is that one requires doing something specific to induce it as an experience each time; the other is just a background state that exists, but is generally obscured or otherwise rather difficult to notice or perceive (or even to think to look for, as the case may be).

One other important aspect is that the drug experience is more or less by definition one of confusion and even as the experience of self breaks down it's simultaneously hyper-subjective. That's not to say that a drug-induced experience of something more or less nondual in nature is bad or not worth experiencing or not occasionally helpful to people, but one of the handful of things in Buddhism that are put truly unequivocally is that drugs/intoxicants are not the way. That feels as true a statement as ahimsa. If anything, the opposite of intoxication: sober, unhindered, wide-awake awareness is the state to cultivate, what zen likes to call 'manning the sense-gates.' I think that's the condition you have to be in to be generally useful in the world.

That said, as far as experiencing nondual states go, I suspect most people would find it far easier to experience in dreams than with drugs. Should be a lot safer, too.

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 03:31 on Jul 10, 2020

Cephas
May 11, 2009

Shape Shift With Me


Can I get some guidance on Right Effort, anger, and whether anger can be skillful?

Cultivating the qualities of a Bodhisattva is important to me, but I've noticed that I have a tendency toward depression and resignation. When I'm feeling down and demotivated, I start thinking to myself, "I carry so much pain with me. It's such a burden. Maybe the most I can accomplish in this life is to live out the entirety of my lifespan and die of natural causes without harming anyone." I've been having to deal with this sort of thinking a lot lately.

This morning, I woke up from a dream where I was furious and letting it all out at someone I know who is a racist. I woke up and realized that I've actually been harboring a ton of anger inside of myself (the world's so hosed right now), but that I've been repressing it to try to keep up the veneer of being calm and steady. And I think repressing that anger is a big part of why I've been feeling so weary and mentally exhausted and dead inside. Instead of feeling angry, I've been feeling despair.

I'm a basically nonviolent person; I tend to take things out on myself instead of on other people, although I've been doing my best not to take things out on myself any more. I grew up trapped in an abusive, dysfunctional household, so I think I spent my young life in a state of resignation while repressing my anger. I noticed the way I've been feeling lately is very similar to the weary, nihilistic way I felt when I was a kid.

It's hard for me to really figure out what I'm trying to say. I guess what I'm thinking is... It's okay to be livid, right? And it's okay to be pissed off? When I acknowledge the fact that yes, I have a mountain of anger and frustration inside of me, then I can start converting it into useful energy, right? As much as I would like to just say that I recognize the impermanence of conditioned states like anger, just saying that won't change how I feel. I have to actively work with what I'm feeling, right?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





It sounds like anger is more of an obstacle to you than a source of energy from what you're describing... but I do think it is important to be able to accept that the anger is present and is real, the question is where do you go from there.

To be clear here I mean the anger in the sense of "I am suffering because I am furious, or exhausted from being furious, and otherwise racked up," not somehow tolerating injustice. Do you have any habits of practice?

Cephas
May 11, 2009

Shape Shift With Me


That's true. I think that's a good distinction to make. "I am suffering because I am exhausted from being furious" is an accurate assessment.

I normally practice zazen, along with metta meditation, but lately I've been having trouble finding the wherewithal to practice. Maybe I ought to sit with these feelings and try to untangle them so I can have a clearer understanding of what are my wellsprings of resolve and what are the obstacles in my way.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Cephas posted:

That's true. I think that's a good distinction to make. "I am suffering because I am exhausted from being furious" is an accurate assessment.

I normally practice zazen, along with metta meditation, but lately I've been having trouble finding the wherewithal to practice. Maybe I ought to sit with these feelings and try to untangle them so I can have a clearer understanding of what are my wellsprings of resolve and what are the obstacles in my way.
Yeah, if it's been fruitful for you in the past, I'd make time for it...

From what you said above you might also look at, like, what are the goals you're aiming for? Does being angry promote those goals or does it work against them (for instance, by exhausting you and making it so you just end up suffering)? I think the two get tangled up a lot nowadays (and probably in the past too, but the cycle seems way swifter now).

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


imo anger is probably the main felt form that suffering takes in daily life. Depending on one's disposition it might be sadness, but I think they're generally two sides of the same emotion, just one tends to be directed more inwards and the other more outwards.

Yeah it's normal, reasonable, healthy, etc. to feel anger at all the myriad things in the world that are absolutely worth getting angry about. Frankly it would be weirder to look at the world and not feel outraged. For all the emphasis on being somewhat calm and measured and reasonable in interacting with the world, really none of it is saying 'don't confront injustice head on.' The emphasis on equanimity is more about taking an emotional step back so you can see what actions would have the most effect with clearer eyes. Equanimity for no other reason than wanting the veneer of calmness is just numbness or something. On a practical level, that question of 'gently caress the world sucks, how the hell do i do anything to confront the injustice' is really one of the core questions that pretty much everyone and especially every practice place and every tradition grapples with. Imo just find something you find meaningful and sustainable to do that helps in some facet and do what you can, because that's all people really can do.

Basically what I'm getting at is: from what you've said, yeah you're feelings seem entirely reasonable and understandable and even healthy, albeit I'm sure frustrating and at times overwhelming. And yeah there's really no way to side-step feeling anger.

That said, if you need a break from staring at all the hosed up poo poo in the world, by all means take a break to reset. Personally I watch lovely sitcoms or romcoms or just stop reading the news for a while when I find it to be too much, but all that really matters is you find something that works for you.

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 04:24 on Jul 25, 2020

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.




About to lay Chapter 6 of The Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life on you fools.

glickeroo
Nov 2, 2004



When speaking of the infinite no finite communication medium is suitable. These words are meant to spark a turning inward, not to be taken as truth and used to reinforce the cage of mental models. Hold onto nothing. The truth can only be found within, all these sensory signposts are not IT, and there will be a time where all information or sureness will have to be given up to jump into the infinite unknowableness.

echinopsis posted:

Will it be obvious when or if it’s happening? Is it possible someone experiences it all the time and doesn’t realise. It’s not just “zoning out”?

As the personality disintegrates/reintegrates that experience overwhelms all other anything in its fullness and seemingly is endless. There is absolutely no question of what is happening as the joy of re-integration fulfills all lacks and one is burnt in the flame of absolute knowledge. It is available all the time, as IT only is, but ones attention is often on sensory imaginings primarily born of the mistaken thought of “I am a body.” Zoning out might be playing on the fringes of the void, which is necessary for the ego to do, but that isn’t it completely. From a (so-called) external perspective it might seem like the body is zoned out, but the awareness of one in oneness is a full emptiness, not a dull unconsciousness. It is the source of experiencing, not an experience nor the experiencer.

echinopsis posted:

Do thoughts still happen?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When thoughts arise it is clear how meaningless they are and they hold no weight. Thoughts are simply memories of sensory experiences jumbled together to hopefully help the body survive. The voice in your head that speaks with the same voice as your body is not you. In this experience- where thought was before there is now just an empty shining. It’s impossible to describe, but you also experience it right when waking every day. Where there is just an empty space, stillness. Nothing arising to say this or that should be done. Not really knowing what is happening, where the body is, who or what you are. Just “ “. It feels like this physical vessel can only take so much of the raw power of complete chakral/energy alignment, but the clear sky ceaselessly circles.

echinopsis posted:

From a cognitive point of view, what’s happening to all the mental processes that seem to have stopped or been bypassed?

Witnessing/awareness is maintained, but the noise of thinking disappears. When information is required, in this one, it appears in complete form from that empty space. Where there is no understanding of the genesis, nor even a desire to do anything, but what the body is required to respond with it responds with. What we call “me” is more of a static or distortion field on the pure unfolding of so-called existence. So while this one is practically incapable of thinking or even effort the correct responses to situations are delivered in their entirety only in the moment. Once one rests in pure awareness the draw of cognition is dropped, because in the full relaxation of infinite knowledge all answers are there, so there is no need to think things through. A combination of complete faith and complete surrender puts the body/mind on autopilot and lives life far better than the limited mechanism of the human mind. So no thinking occurs, but creative expression of a much higher order is possible, if that is what the body is meant to do. The brain rests and the pure light of awareness shines through the bodily vessel with unhindered action. The common myth is that thinking produces action, but thinking is more of a commentary of sensory input. The commentary disappears, the body continues to act.

echinopsis posted:

Does it breed benefit outside of itself?
Benefit for who? Complete fulfillment is possible for all human births, and when one is fulfilled there is no more need of benefit. If by simply relaxing one could experience an infinite orgasm while their body acts normally, what further benefit is needed? From the worldly view of those still believing themselves to be the body, yes there are benefits. Peace is exuded and the hand of fate pushes the scales in your direction in all things. Life becomes a series of miracles, many mundane. Those who this body works with/for comment regularly about how everything in our company is falling into place without a hitch. Where the solution to every problem presents itself almost immediately and with very little effort. This comes because sensual life was built by you only to help you, and if you can surrender to the flow of the spontaneous unfolding then everything falls into place naturally. That is not to say it falls into place like the mind’s desires or fantasies expect it to, but past/future are also thoughts which disappear in awareness. There is no one left to measure benefit nor loss, for those can only appear in duality. When one is all, there is no benefit/loss.

echinopsis posted:

Is it pure contentment?

It is without attributes. Pure contentment or peace is a wonderful experience, but it is beyond experience. Many descriptions of enlightenment are akin to: “the world and everything disappeared never to be found again.” Does pure contentment require someone to be content? Is it the thought: “I am content,” or is it the relaxing exhalation? We’ve described it as seeing the credits roll for our existence, but life continues as if it’s the post credits sequence where everyone stopped being serious about playing their characters and are just chilling.

Thank you for your questions. We too have had many doors opened with various medicines. While mushrooms may open the door, one has to go through it and be that truth every moment. Ego death is wonderful, but our attention on thoughts and senses quickly allows recreation of an ego entity. Can you be brave enough to exist completely in ego death? Where every moment is only taken for itself, without bringing any past or future into it? Where the ego and even the idea of a self can be absolutely discarded? Permanent ego death. The clarity and realization possible in deep relaxation/surrender/self-abidance/love is greater than 99% of the medicine-led experiences. Your body can produce the highest hallucinogenic state without external help if your diet has enough of the requisite precursors which are common enough in a variety of foods.

As one releases energy using medicine work be cautious about believing any thought. The perfect weapon that destroys illusions is the question: “who/what am I?” Any finite response is not the right answer. This questioning is very helpful when strong religious patterning/fantasies appear alongside energy/confidence releases.

In summary: We don’t know.

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004





Ein
Zwei
Drei
Kokolorum

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

I’m looking to learn more about Nichiren-Shu and the writings of Nichiren. I’m having a hard time finding resources outside of the website for my “local” temple. Also, should I be concerned about Soka Gakkai? The Nichiren establishment seems extremely concerned by them.

EDIT: I should clarify, I meant concerned about them as a source, not as a sangha to join.

Thirteen Orphans fucked around with this message at 01:16 on Sep 4, 2020

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


From what I hear, Soka Gakkai has a perception off being fairly intense and confrontational with other major Buddhist groups, particularly in Japan, and promoting intense devotion that makes the more religiously-skeptical elements of Japanese culture suspicious at best. How much that reflects the truth, both in Japan and abroad, is up for debate. I haven't had many interactions with the group, but I imagine that, like almost every Buddhist community in the Western world, a more ecumenical approach is going to be necessary just to survive, which would likely sand down some of the edges there, so to speak. Take from that what you will.

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

Hiro Protagonist posted:

From what I hear, Soka Gakkai has a perception off being fairly intense and confrontational with other major Buddhist groups, particularly in Japan, and promoting intense devotion that makes the more religiously-skeptical elements of Japanese culture suspicious at best. How much that reflects the truth, both in Japan and abroad, is up for debate. I haven't had many interactions with the group, but I imagine that, like almost every Buddhist community in the Western world, a more ecumenical approach is going to be necessary just to survive, which would likely sand down some of the edges there, so to speak. Take from that what you will.

Thanks for the feedback! I hadn't thought about the relationship between strong religiosity and the general Japanese attitude toward religious practice.

Spacegrass
May 1, 2013



I've been a Christian for along time, but Buddhism is something I feel that's in my heart, and really makes alot of sense to me, even though Ive been treating it as a philosophy. Any help for this confused soul?

Spacegrass fucked around with this message at 02:07 on Sep 21, 2020

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.




Spacegrass posted:

I've been a Christian for along time, but Buddhism is something I feel that's in my heart, and really makes alot of sense to me, even though Ive been treating it as a philosophy. Any help for this confused soul?

Entrust yourself to the buddha of infinite light

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.




Legit though it sounds like you have issues with certain parts or underpinnings of christianity. I'm also curious what your experience with buddhism is. Most westerners treat buddhism as a "philosophy" when they first start exploring it myself included but large parts of buddhist philosophy and ideas that are nominally secular require the supernatural aspects in order to make sense imo.

I would figure out what your issues are with Christianity and then figure out what buddhism does differently (or what you think buddhism does differently after I converted I kept comparing buddhist teachings to bible scripture I learned that made me see that scripture in a different light than how the pastors taught it bu stoll made me feel the religions taught many of the same lessons "under the hood") that makes you feel attracted to it. Then I would read some buddhist scripture and teachings and maybe some small practice. Then you could figure out whether you would be best off continuing your current path, reforming your personal christianity to reconcile your issues with it, or just converting.

Spacegrass
May 1, 2013



BIG FLUFFY DOG posted:

Legit though it sounds like you have issues with certain parts or underpinnings of christianity. I'm also curious what your experience with buddhism is. Most westerners treat buddhism as a "philosophy" when they first start exploring it myself included but large parts of buddhist philosophy and ideas that are nominally secular require the supernatural aspects in order to make sense imo.

I would figure out what your issues are with Christianity and then figure out what buddhism does differently (or what you think buddhism does differently after I converted I kept comparing buddhist teachings to bible scripture I learned that made me see that scripture in a different light than how the pastors taught it bu stoll made me feel the religions taught many of the same lessons "under the hood") that makes you feel attracted to it. Then I would read some buddhist scripture and teachings and maybe some small practice. Then you could figure out whether you would be best off continuing your current path, reforming your personal christianity to reconcile your issues with it, or just converting.


Well, I've been to prison for a few years and read alot. That's where I discovered Buddhism and Christianity (Islam also).
I'm just so confused because this world is so messed up, and there's tons of christians and the internet is so messed up, it blows my mind because these are real people. I'm going to study some buddism this week, I think I may be on to something. Also, the idea of animals and insects having souls makes no sense unless they screwed up in a previous life. How could a just god do that though.

Spacegrass fucked around with this message at 02:56 on Sep 21, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Spacegrass posted:

Well, I've been to prison for a few years and read alot. That's where I discovered Buddhism and Christianity (Islam also).
I'm just so confused because this world is so messed up, and there's tons of christians and the internet is so messed up, it blows my mind because these are real people. I'm going to study some buddism this week, I think I may be on to something. Also, the idea of animals and insects having souls makes no sense unless they screwed up in a previous life. How could a just god do that though.
Buddhism does not have an idea of an all-creator. (There may be extremely powerful entities capable of creation, but that isn't quite the same thing.)

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.




Spacegrass posted:

]
Also, the idea of animals and insects having souls makes no sense unless they screwed up in a previous life. How could a just god do that though.

The Buddha himself actually responded to this sort of question about the creation of the universe with the parable of the poison arrow:

Shakyamuni posted:

Suppose there was a doctor who one day had a man stumble into his office with a poisoned arrow stuck in his leg.

"This is bad." said the doctor, "the first thing we must do, before anything else, is to remove this arrow from your leg."

"Stop!" the poisoned man exclaims "before you remove this arrow from my leg I need to know who shot me!"

"How should I know?" the doctor replies "What I do know is that I can't make you healthy until the arrow is removed from your leg."

"And what about his age?" says the poisoned man "Is he young or old? Do you think he's tall or short? Is it even a man?! Could a woman have done this?"

"The arrow is still poisoned!" the doctor cries "We have to take it out! Please, sir, let me operate on you."

"And what of his parents? What were they like? And his childhood? Now that I think of it, I'm sure some sort of trauma must have happened to him to drive him to shooting poisoned arrows at random passers-by. I suppose I should feel sorry for him. But then despite all of that he still shot a poisoned arrow at me. I wonder if it was a short bow or a long?"

Now the doctor loses his patience and he yells at the man:

"Stop asking silly questions! Time is of the essence! If you don't want to die, let me take it out and give you some medicine and then you can ask all the questions you want!"


While its natural to be curious about the circumstances that led to you being shot by an arrow out of nowhere, the answers can only amount to speculation and it ignores the much more pressing issue of having a poisoned in your thigh. In the same way metaphysical questions about the exact nature of god, whether god exists at all, the circumstances that led to the creation of existence are all treated in Buddhism as being like the man who insists on figuring out all the particulars that led to him being poisoned before he will allow himself to be treated. The buddha said on another occasion:

Shakyamuni posted:


‘Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of your liberation remains the same.’

regardless of why or how a just god would allow such a thing to occur is completely irrelevant. What matters is that it has occurred. And that it possesses a solution: by following the eightfold path you liberate yourself and end your suffering.

Spacegrass
May 1, 2013



Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?

NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





Spacegrass posted:

Well, I've been to prison for a few years and read alot. That's where I discovered Buddhism and Christianity (Islam also).
I'm just so confused because this world is so messed up, and there's tons of christians and the internet is so messed up, it blows my mind because these are real people. I'm going to study some buddism this week, I think I may be on to something. Also, the idea of animals and insects having souls makes no sense unless they screwed up in a previous life. How could a just god do that though.

Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?

There's a concept in Buddhism called the Bodhisattva who are people who became enlightened and could have gone on to Nirvana but elected to stay here and help others become enlightened. Some people who want to make a more syncretic religion think of Jesus that way, as a Bodhisattva. But Buddhism in all its forms rejects the idea of a Creator God so if you did believe in Jesus it could not be in the traditional Christian sense. It's up to you if that is a problem or not. There are Christian Wiccans and stuff.

But the point is, Karma is the reason all those beings became animals. They don't have souls exactly but the important thing is that Karma is a law of the universe like gravity. It's not judging you like a God would, it just does its thing and is completely amoral, even as it legislates morality. it's weird. I've struggled with this idea too since it seems to create a Just World hypothesis and indeed, early 20th Century Japanese Zen were big in Social Darwinism because the poor were proo because they had bad karma and deserved to be born into that state.

I'm not a Buddhist and not sure how you really reconcile all that but I understand being attached to the deeper philosophical questions. That's why I'm here, too.

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.




Karma creates a just world hypothesis superficially. Under the hood the injustice of it becomes readily apparent. A person who is born into painful circumstances will often afflict others with pain because its all they know. Karma does not account for these differences or reasons. All it cares about is that pain is inflicted.

Because of this a being born into hell has great difficulty escaping hell. Buddhism may provide one with a moral basis to improve their merit and ascend to higher planes but what are the chances that you will be born into a form where you can hear and comprehend buddhism? As Shantideva said a person who is lucky enough to hear the dharma is like a blind scavenger who finds a diamond while rustling through a pile of poo poo. While living impurely, without guidance, and thinking only of their own survival, they have through no earning of their own something of enormous worth.

Buddhism fundamentally does not believe that existence or karma are just. That is why the goal of the religion is to escape it. Karma is used by buddhists and taught despite its injustice as a sort of improvised weapon. The fight to achieve nirvana is too great, too long, and too difficult to go around passing up potential tools to achieve liberation or make the suffering experienced by the beings of the world smaller even temporarily.

Karma is samsara. So long as you are in a conditioned existence you are subject to it so you would be a fool to ignore it. You would also be a fool however to believe that it is your friend.

zhar
May 3, 2019



Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?
Maybe depends on how you define Buddhist, if you take the formal definition you need to take refuge in the 3 jewels (buddha, dharma and sangha) but as said above it's your prerogative to view Jesus within that.

Anyway I don't think anyone is going to stop you and I wouldn't worry unless it causes problems. I am not up on my Christian knowledge and exactly what a belief in Jesus entails, I'm inclined to think it probably conflicts with certain parts of buddhist philosophy but maybe cross that bridge when you reach it? I'm reasonably certain you could be a perfectly practicing buddhist with a belief in Jesus and just avoid the conflicting parts in many traditions though, 84k doors to enlightenment and all that.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?
According to whom? I think many Christian denominations might not approve. I do not think there is much Buddhist prohibition against it, although if you want to go around telling everyone that ACTUALLY Jesus is the real Buddha, have you read the Bible, etc. you might get kicked out of the sangha.

In the sense of "is it OK to believe that there was a historical person, Jesus Christ," sure, I believe that myself. Some of the stories may be garbled and I suspect he did not call himself Jesus, but there was a guy who is the basis of the Bible.

In the sense of the ethical systems, I do not believe there are great gulfs between Buddhist moral philosophy and Christian moral philosophy. I do think that there are aspects of the narrative of Jesus's life that conflict with aspects of the dharma, mostly involving Christ getting furious a few times and letting it rule his actions.

The like, afterlife metaphysics are probably kind of mutually contradictory on the face of them. However, that is definitely "was that poison from Country X or Country X+1?? Tell me before you give me the antidote" territory.

Stringent
Dec 22, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?

Christian in the streets, Buddhist in the sheets.

Mr. Mambold
Feb 13, 2011

Aha. Nice post.





Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?

Sure, why not.

The prodigal Son and the lost sheep and shepherd parables were used by Gautama 500+ years prior to Jesus using them. I think they'd both give you a pass.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Spacegrass posted:

Is it ok to be a Buddhist and still believe in Jesus Christ?

The "is it okay" phrasing makes the answer, for me, very straightforward: yeah, of course.

There are all kinds of ins and outs and what have yous in the sense of like "what do you mean by 'to be a Buddhist'" or "what do you mean by believing in Jesus?" But they don't really concern the question of whether it's okay.

To answer whether it's okay, I would suggest it depends on another question: who's judging?

Buddha doesn't really do a judging, it's just cause and effect, and if doing both gets you closer to the cessation of suffering, great!

Jesus supposedly judges, but if he judges you poorly for pursuing liberation from suffering for self and others, he'd be a dick. By all accounts he's not a dick, so that's fine.

You might judge yourself, but self is made up, so don't worry about it.

Basically if it works for you, then it works for you.

There are some other hardline answers from both camps, but they don't address whether it's okay, only whether they think it's okay.

There's a chapter in Walking an Uncommon Path where the Gyalwang Drukpa talks about a student of his who comes to confess they've recently become Christian, thinking he'd be upset. He basically responds "sounds good, seems like it's working for you, great!" If I recall correctly he spends the rest of the chapter talking about how religious dogma fucks us up and we've got enough in this world to gently caress us up without getting hosed up by firmly held beliefs.

Spacegrass
May 1, 2013



NikkolasKing posted:



But the point is, Karma is the reason all those beings became animals.

That's some scary stuff and I've seen animals in a different light this year, I can tell they have souls. I've made ALOT of mistakes in my life and I don't want to be an animal.

Though, sometimes I think our spirits can't change their religion, it's just something our creator (god or gods or even random) made us to be.

Spacegrass fucked around with this message at 00:30 on Sep 24, 2020

100 degrees Calcium
Jan 22, 2011





This is a semantic question, and not particularly constructive, but I wish to indulge my curiosity all the same.

I was raised as a protestant Christian and the prevailing thought was that, if you believe that Jesus Christ lived and that he died for our sins and that he will live again, then you are a Christian. The idea is that there's a lot more to living a righteous life, but you got the main idea down and you qualify for the label.

This made me wonder, how do you know if you are a Buddhist? Most of my knowledge of buddhism comes from online discussion. I practice mindfulness and meditation, but these things definitely don't make me a buddhist.

I attempt to mind the Four Noble Truths. I would like to follow the Noble Eightfold Path. I follow three of the five lay precepts, but I frequently lie and do drugs.

I could not reasonably call myself a buddhist largely because of my ignorance. If I were to have a serious conversation with someone about buddhism, I would appear to be a liar and a hypocrite. But there is so much knowledge to have, that I don't know when I could know enough.

I wish I lived somewhere with teachers. The closest thing we have is a Shambhala center which is nice but like... not really enough.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





The broad equivalent is taking refuge, which is usually done in a sangha. I have not been able to get with a sangha myself due to my hours and, of course, the plague, but I would hope to take refuge formally if and when that changes.

This isn't necessary to practice mindfulness but it has psychological value, I figure. I believe there are esoteric details in Tibetan practice but for this we would need to get Paramemetic on the postin' horn.

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004





If you believe the four noble truths, you're a Buddhist. I'm not sure it's a necessary condition but it's certainly sufficient. I don't think you have to take refuge to be a buddhist. Then again, id say that since I haven't formally done so and consider myself a capital b buddhist, write "buddhist" for religion on demographic surveys, etc.

Elukka
Feb 17, 2011



Spacegrass posted:

That's some scary stuff and I've seen animals in a different light this year, I can tell they have souls. I've made ALOT of mistakes in my life and I don't want to be an animal.
I'm mostly clueless about Buddhism, but animals don't have some nightmare existence and certainly don't think they're undergoing a punishment by existing as animals. These are very human-centric viewpoints. They're just fine being animals.

I'm still unsure just what reincarnation means in Buddhism but I'm aware there's no soul so presumably if you were an animal you wouldn't know anything about possibly having been human (in whatever way) and since you're an animal you wouldn't and couldn't think about it the way a human would.

zhar
May 3, 2019



Refuge in the three jewels isn't just some ceremonial thing. The dharma jewel is the last 2 truths (cessation and paths), sangha is whoever has made progress along the path and buddha jewel is both the physical buddha and maybe the culmination of the path (may be a little different in theravada).

After recognizing that there is suffering, one takes refuge from it by trusting the buddha as someone who had it worked out and that the path he taught is the way out of it. I think this may be the point at which one becomes a full-assed 'Buddhist'.

It's supposed to be a virtuous cycle where the benefits of practicing the path produce more faith in the buddha (as his teachings turn out to work) which deepens refuge and inspires further practice, so it can start very shallow and doesn't require belief in anything too crazy.

Dennis McClaren
Mar 28, 2007

"Hey, don't put capture a guy!"
...Well I've got to put something!

I've been a practicing Buddhist for going on 10 years. I follow the Theravada tradition, and my teacher is Geoffery de Graff or Thanissaro Bhikkhu, depending on formalities, practicing out of the Metta Forest Monastery, in Valley Center, CA.
I'm also open to and have studied and benefitied from the many different schools of Buddhism. Currently I sit weekly at the San Antonio Zen Center, and my daily practice at home.

My question is one not often brought up in Buddhist circles for people my age, and it's about dating. I feel like it's real hard to roll out of bed at 8am to do my morning zazen when there's a naked 20 year old girl 4 feet away in the bed and I'm sitting on her floor the morning after. It really disrupts my practice the more this happens. And my morning sitting is very important to me. It's not like I COULDN"T just go do it, but the sexual desire lying in bed next to a woman you're intimate with is a very hard desire to let go of.

That's not even my main concern. My main concern is I suffer from extreme jealousy. Retroactive jealousy to be specific. It's frustrated my practice, I can't find answers in the Dharma, or in the Sangha, and for over a year now I've been consumed by envy. It destroys my awareness, it interrupts my mindfulness, and it's not a problem that I can find an answer to.

Shot in the dark here - but does anyone have some literature, podcasts, or just plain Dharmic advice in dealing with retroactive jealousy as a Buddhist practictioner?

For reference, the jealousy and envy comes from my now ex-girlfriend. For karmic actions before and after the seperation.

Any suggestions?

*edit I know about that book "If the Buddha Dated". It doesn't really apply to my situation

Dennis McClaren fucked around with this message at 16:33 on Sep 24, 2020

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006





I’ve found this book to be really helpful:



On a serious note, maybe there are some aspects of your life that aren’t meshing well? If this is a consistent partner you could have a conversation about it, but if you’re with different people every night that may be an issue.

Dennis McClaren
Mar 28, 2007

"Hey, don't put capture a guy!"
...Well I've got to put something!

It's not a consistent partner. It's an ex to be precise. Really the problem has its roots in the basic definitions of jealousy and greed. Wanting, but not being able to have, whate other people have. Or being upset that other people have things I will never have. Those sorts of issues.

I'll check that book out and would love anymore recommendations.

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Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004





If having sex with 20 year olds is inhibiting your practice and that bothers you, then probably stop doing that.

The second part of your post - jealousy - sounds like a fresh wound. Do your best and give it time, same as all things. I don't think there's a particularly buddhist answer here that's separate from the general answers with respect to clinging. But best of luck to you.

E: sorry, just saw the "over a year" part. Real talk, bring this up with your teacher. They'll be able to help, cause it's all just greed hatred and delusion at the end of the day

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