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Mushika
Dec 22, 2010



Grimey Drawer

After a lot of self searching and some advice of my therapist, I reached out to the Thay of my temple in regards to my alcoholism, and also my spiritual practice. I was honestly afraid to do so; my problems are so small to the world at large, why would I bother someone who has an entire community to attend to? The Vietnamese Buddhist community here in southern Louisiana is quite large, and then there is the non-Vietnamese community that often go to him for guidance. I also didn't even really know where to begin. I emailed him and he enthusiastically agreed to meet and have tea on the temple grounds. It turns out that he has a PhD in addiction counseling and agreed to take me on as his pupil. He has agreed to meet with me for once or twice a week sessions with him as well as him being always on call via phone, text, or email. He also invited me to wander the temple grounds whenever I feel the need. The only thing he asks is that, once I'm comfortable with my progress, that I go out and help other people like myself who battle with addiction. I can't quite describe how happy and hopeful I am about this.

Paramemetic and Herstory, thank you for your thorough and continuing contribution to this thread. And all of you other posters as well. You are most graciously helping the Dharma reach people. I, for one, dearly appreciate it.

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Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


Mushika posted:

After a lot of self searching and some advice of my therapist, I reached out to the Thay of my temple in regards to my alcoholism, and also my spiritual practice. I was honestly afraid to do so; my problems are so small to the world at large, why would I bother someone who has an entire community to attend to? The Vietnamese Buddhist community here in southern Louisiana is quite large, and then there is the non-Vietnamese community that often go to him for guidance. I also didn't even really know where to begin. I emailed him and he enthusiastically agreed to meet and have tea on the temple grounds. It turns out that he has a PhD in addiction counseling and agreed to take me on as his pupil. He has agreed to meet with me for once or twice a week sessions with him as well as him being always on call via phone, text, or email. He also invited me to wander the temple grounds whenever I feel the need. The only thing he asks is that, once I'm comfortable with my progress, that I go out and help other people like myself who battle with addiction. I can't quite describe how happy and hopeful I am about this.

That owns and is incredibly sweet and it sounds like a good community. Good luck with sobriety, it's a lot more doable when you've got multiple support structures behind you. As an aside, I've spent a few years totally sober and it's really eye opening on a bunch of levels, like it's staggering just how much people rely on alcohol to socialize or have fun.

quote:

Paramemetic and Herstory, thank you for your thorough and continuing contribution to this thread. And all of you other posters as well. You are most graciously helping the Dharma reach people. I, for one, dearly appreciate it.

imo paramemetic and everyone else who participates deserves far more credit. I'm just happy to be able to participate sometimes because this thread is exceedingly friendly and encouraging compared to most other online buddhist spaces I've experienced.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Deyr fe,
deyja fraendr,
deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn,
at aldrei deyr:
domr um daudan hvern.


Man, I wish I could have a job where the receptionist could tell callers I was 'wandering the temple grounds'. Perhaps I shall

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Herstory Begins Now posted:

That owns and is incredibly sweet and it sounds like a good community. Good luck with sobriety, it's a lot more doable when you've got multiple support structures behind you. As an aside, I've spent a few years totally sober and it's really eye opening on a bunch of levels, like it's staggering just how much people rely on alcohol to socialize or have fun.

imo paramemetic and everyone else who participates deserves far more credit. I'm just happy to be able to participate sometimes because this thread is exceedingly friendly and encouraging compared to most other online buddhist spaces I've experienced.
That is super kind! And yeah it is really kind of astonishing how normalized huge levels of drinking become. I had always had a little bit of a look at it because alcohol was never mythologized in my family, and frankly it looks like I dodged a bullet because otherwise I would probably be dead from a trick liver.

It has been difficult, especially lately, because I keep having anxiety over this drat election aftermath poo poo and my practice is not very good. I have at times envied the heavy drinkers because they can turn it off. But not enough to take up the habit.

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Nessus posted:

It has been difficult, especially lately, because I keep having anxiety over this drat election aftermath poo poo and my practice is not very good. I have at times envied the heavy drinkers because they can turn it off. But not enough to take up the habit.

Thereís quite a lot of this going around; youíre not alone.

Iíd say virtually all of us in my zendo have had our practice disrupted to a greater or lesser degree, with election anxiety compounding the effects of that. And absolutely all of us have found that despite the unprecedented online access now available, nothing is quite like our little local sangha.

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


I've kind of talked about this in this thread, but with COVID I don't have a good place to talk to anyone about this, and I kind of need to vent.

I'm someone who was raised in a very religious context, but has always been somewhat skeptical of religious thinking. I've also had a deep abiding fear of Oblivion as a concept. The idea that my consciousness is solely a product of my physical body is terrifying, particularly because of the finality of it.

That fear and skepticism have kind of combined such that any attempt to understand rebirth, heaven, hell, or any afterlife is tinged with a cynical belief that I'm just trying to deny science or make myself feel better. I do believe there are rational reasons to believe in rebirth, and I find some evidence quite convincing, but my questioning side always claws away at me.

I feel like this affects my progress as a Buddhist, because it means I don't have a solid foundation or relationship with it. I always want a security that I fundamentally have difficulty accepting. Anyone have experience with this?

NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





Hiro Protagonist posted:

I've kind of talked about this in this thread, but with COVID I don't have a good place to talk to anyone about this, and I kind of need to vent.

I'm someone who was raised in a very religious context, but has always been somewhat skeptical of religious thinking. I've also had a deep abiding fear of Oblivion as a concept. The idea that my consciousness is solely a product of my physical body is terrifying, particularly because of the finality of it.

That fear and skepticism have kind of combined such that any attempt to understand rebirth, heaven, hell, or any afterlife is tinged with a cynical belief that I'm just trying to deny science or make myself feel better. I do believe there are rational reasons to believe in rebirth, and I find some evidence quite convincing, but my questioning side always claws away at me.

I feel like this affects my progress as a Buddhist, because it means I don't have a solid foundation or relationship with it. I always want a security that I fundamentally have difficulty accepting. Anyone have experience with this?

This defines my entire adult life. I've bounced from religion to religion and even today I don't call myself a Buddhist because Buddhism fundamentally, like all religions, requires a leap of faith. Faith is the opposite of rationality, you can't think it or explain it. You can try to describe it but that's the best you can do. I've longed all my life to find that faith and I'm not sure I will ever find it in myself to believe so wholeheartedly in something. I just read and listen to music and find comfort in the ideas and feelings but 100% commitment is beyond me.

I really wish I had some solutions to give but I'm the last person on Earth with the answer to this problem. Unfortunately, I'm not sure anybody can fix this problem for any of us. We have to do it ourselves. That's the worst answer but if there is a better one, I'm still looking. But you're definitely not alone in always questioning and fearing, I've been there since I was 117 or so. (32 now)

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


what part of it requires the leap of faith?

NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





echinopsis posted:

what part of it requires the leap of faith?

Karma and rebirth. I'm open to the idea but can I say for certain that I think my mental stream or whatever term you want to use for it will survive after my body dies? No. That can't be proved so far as I'm aware, any more than a Christian soul can be proved.

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004





Nah, nobody actually cares what other people think about the English word "rebirth." Like, if you go into a Tibetan sangha and start telling them "WELL ACKSHUALLY science can't prove rebirth!" then you're kind of a dick, but if the lama says "rebirth" and you think to yourself "yeah that's probably not a thing, I'll just take that phrase to mean 'the birth of some being whose causal chain is in some way connected with the event of my death,'" who's going to argue with you?

Buddhism isn't like Christianity. Nobody's giving you a faith purity test. It's weird to call yourself a Buddhist and deny one of the four noble truths, but beyond that the metaphysics only matter as much as they matter to you. Buddhism is a religion of empirical practice and results, not the conceptual trappings of that practice and results. It's OK to care a lot about the concepts and to spend a lot of time thinking about metaphysics, but if that's getting in the way of performing the real empirical steps that eliminate suffering here and now, you're doing it wrong.

So, Buddhism doesn't require you to believe with mathematical certainty in rebirth or in any particular metaphysical interpretation (though particular empirical practices might care a lot about them - feel free to choose a practice that doesn't). Additionally, I've found that when people get really worked up about "but science can't prove it," they generally don't have the best understanding of how science works, how it progresses, the current state of scientific belief, and so on.

Believing in "science" as a set of beliefs doesn't work at all, because our current best science is logically inconsistent. We believe in the method of, roughly, changing our beliefs when the evidence necessitates it. That's the scientific mode of inquiry. We know our current science is wrong, but we don't know how it's wrong (otherwise we'd change our beliefs). We know that it does a better job of prediction than past theories, but is still very wrong. The best we can do is to say "OK, look - at the End Of Science, when All The Empirical Data is in, we should believe in all and only those things that are required in the theory that accounts for All The Data. If there are multiple competing theories that explain All The Data equally well, then maybe we'll use parsimony or smth idk, let's hope we have some really great guiding principles by then." But the important part is that we don't really know what the theory at the End Of Science will look like, and it's massive hubris to pretend that it'll be anything like what we believe now* (though in retrospect, the End Of Science theory will be able to explain the current successes and failures of our current theory, and will be able to reinterpret the vocabulary of our current theory into its own language).

So, don't feel so bad. Like yeah, I'm relatively sure that once all the data's in, we won't need a concept of rebirth to explain it. But I'm also sure that the theory won't look all that much like what our science looks like today, so it's not really worth getting too fussed about if you're not the one that's supposed to be coming up with the paradigm shifts that characterize scientific progress. After all, the theory at the end will probably involve SpOoKy AbStRaCt ObJeCtS like "concepts," "functions," "numbers," "consciousness," and "life," might involve things like "good" or "hedons" or "morality," and probably won't involve "Zeus" or "everlasting soul." Whether one concept - that will only retroactively be able to see our current concept of "rebirth" as a flawed prototype of itself - is going to be required-believing at the asymptote of possible knowledge isn't worth suffering over.

*of course it's also kind of silly to talk about "science" as a single set of beliefs that people believe right now at all, but denying that makes my point stronger anyway, so let's grant it for the moment. it makes way more sense to talk about a single set at end of inquiry, so just roll with it

Achmed Jones fucked around with this message at 00:23 on Nov 24, 2020

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


NikkolasKing posted:

Karma and rebirth. I'm open to the idea but can I say for certain that I think my mental stream or whatever term you want to use for it will survive after my body dies? No. That can't be proved so far as I'm aware, any more than a Christian soul can be proved.

Iím not sure where I got this from but so far it makes sense to me but, rebirth is something that occurs very often.

A ďlifeĒ is just one version of you that appears in consciousness as an ego and the experience is simply subjectivity itself, and this life rises, takes centre stage, and then gives way to another life. These lives have different wants etc.

An example would be one life occurring while someone having sex but then an orgasm occurs, and that life has now been replaced with another that no longer desires sex. ever feel like a different person immediately after orgasm?

and careful mindfulness can make this rebirth cycle clear because youíll end up seeing that the sense of subjectivity is simply another appearance in consciousness rather than a fundamental truth proving that ďyouĒ are a definite thing.

and escaping the cycle means living outside of the constant diving-back-in and being the ego.

Thatís my understanding. I can see the truth in it, although Iím not good enough at mindfulness to perceive it directly nor escape the sense of subjectivity (or view subjectivity as an appearance within consciousness rather than experienced consciousness through the lens of subjectivity)


And Karma.. thatís just like, you kill a dog and later the dogs owner comes and kills you. Itís not metaphysical itís just cause and effect..


🤷‍♂️

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


NikkolasKing posted:

Karma and rebirth. I'm open to the idea but can I say for certain that I think my mental stream or whatever term you want to use for it will survive after my body dies? No. That can't be proved so far as I'm aware, any more than a Christian soul can be proved.

karma is literally just cause and effect (or cause and conditions, more broadly).

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


echinopsis posted:

I’m not sure where I got this from but so far it makes sense to me but, rebirth is something that occurs very often.

A “life” is just one version of you that appears in consciousness as an ego and the experience is simply subjectivity itself, and this life rises, takes centre stage, and then gives way to another life. These lives have different wants etc.

An example would be one life occurring while someone having sex but then an orgasm occurs, and that life has now been replaced with another that no longer desires sex. ever feel like a different person immediately after orgasm?

and careful mindfulness can make this rebirth cycle clear because you’ll end up seeing that the sense of subjectivity is simply another appearance in consciousness rather than a fundamental truth proving that “you” are a definite thing.

and escaping the cycle means living outside of the constant diving-back-in and being the ego.

That’s my understanding. I can see the truth in it, although I’m not good enough at mindfulness to perceive it directly nor escape the sense of subjectivity (or view subjectivity as an appearance within consciousness rather than experienced consciousness through the lens of subjectivity)


And Karma.. that’s just like, you kill a dog and later the dogs owner comes and kills you. It’s not metaphysical it’s just cause and effect..


🤷‍♂️

While I 100% agree with that, I would say that the leap from gradual, incremental transition like you're talking about to a rapid change via not properly understood metaphysical methods as discussed in rebirth is large. I can accept easily that my body and mind are constantly in flux. Whether that flux inherently means that there will be some transition beyond them is the issue. And I don't mean in the "my actions will reflect across everyone via interdependence" sort of non-answer, I mean a further continuation of my mind-stream, even if I'm not consciously aware of my previous lives.

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Is the notion of rebirth beyond our physical body dogma in Buddhism or just certain schools?


If, the consciousness that I experiencing somehow existed before my birth and/or will continue after my death, then either there is evidence for that and it doesnít require a leap of faith, or there is no evidence and there is a leap of faith. Since Iím resting on no evidence, thatís also zero reason to even bother thinking about it, IMO anyway. It may be interesting on some level to imagine metaphysical scenarios but not as interesting as anything actually available in our actual experience. At least for me

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





For my part I have found the concept of rebirth easy and intuitive to 'swallow' and find it supremely comforting, especially when I consider things like long term negative effects, the prospect of illness, disease or sudden death, and so forth. I am in agreement with Achmed here that there may be some ultimate nuance or higher-order detail which is not easy to explain and which the Buddha expressed as "rebirth" in order to get the idea across. However, I have found so much truth and benefit from the dharma that I do not believe that the concept could be so frequently raised if it was not at least a valid analogy.

However, there is actually an interesting thing in a sutra discussing this. From the Majjhima Nikaya 60: https://suttacentral.net/mn60/en/horner

quote:

Hereupon, householders, an intelligent man reflects thus: ĎIf there is a world beyond, this worthy individual at the breaking up of the body after dying will arise in a good bourn, a heaven world. But if it be granted that there is not a world beyond, if this is a true speech of these recluses and Brahmans, then this worthy individual is praised here and now by intelligent persons who say: ĎOf good moral habit is the individual, of right view, he holds the theory of ďThere is.Ē But if there is indeed a world beyond, thus is there victory in two ways for this worthy individual: inasmuch as he is praised here and now by intelligent persons, and inasmuch as at the breaking up of the body after dying he will uprise in a good bourn, a heaven world. Thus this sure Dhamma has been undertaken perfectly by him, he has applied himself two-sidedly, he is neglecting the unskilled stance.
Which is essentially Pascal's wager, although with a perspective where there is not even the transient loss Pascal admits.

A Typical Goon
Feb 25, 2011


Not Buddhist, but Iíve always loved Marcus Aureliusí answer to the question of faith

quote:

You boarded, you set sail, youíve made the passage. Time to disembark. If itís for another life, well thereís nowhere without gods on that side either. If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body - so much inferior to that which serves it. One is mind and spirits, the other Earth and garbage

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


^yeah that owns

Also re the faith and rebirth stuff: First, faith isn't really a thing in buddhism in anything approaching the way it is in christianity (or any of the abrahamic religions, for that matter) where it is very much central to the entire matter. Faith does occasionally play a role in things (some devotional practices involve or ask some act of faith, but even then rarely in anything approaching the christian conception of faith. Guruyoga or some deity practices will invoke something approaching faith as a tool, but that's still in contrast to the baseline of skepticism. I don't remember the source offhand, but buddha famously told people to examine teachers and teachings the way a gold merchant scrutinizes gold before purchasing. If it passes the test, then put stock in it.

Second, On the subject of rebirth, by all means apply that same level of scrutiny to it, there's no need exactly to believe anything about the literalness of rebirth in one way or another. That said, rebirth is still an immensely important aspect of things and of all the various virtuous things in buddhism, bodhicitta (eg the intention to attain enlightenment specifically so as to be continually be reborn for the benefit of all beings) is widely considered the key thing that makes buddhist practice *work* (and this is consistent among every major school of buddhism afaik). Fortunately, cultivating bodhicitta doesn't require a concrete belief in rebirth to be beneficial, though they clearly are mutually supportive. Even with the most bare bones concept of rebirth (eg that the causes and conditions and effects and so on that led to your birth in the first place will continue after you, along with the additional things caused and conditioned and effected by what you did in life), cultivating bodhicitta is sitll going to work and be of benefit.

Third, to tie all this together, it's useful to think about rebirth and karma literally as they frame and indeed are the foundation for a lot of buddhist morality and some really key points, like why buddhist views towards emptiness or non-duality are neither nihilism nor amorality. Really the opposite: with bodhicitta those things that some people see as a reason to not care or to argue that there is no good or bad instead become a reason and a means to work for the benefit of others.

Anyways, that's a lot of questionably clear words to say, 'cultivate the desire to be of service' or more succinctly 'cultivate bodhicitta.' Hopefully I explained the relationship between these decently. The experience of wrestling with the implications of karma and rebirth and the like is something that pretty much everyone spends time on. That question eventually gets down to the differences between simple arhats (someone who escapes the cycle of rebirth) and bodhisattvas (someone who vows to seek enlightenment and stay in samsara---keep taking rebirths---until all beings are free).

Herstory Begins Now fucked around with this message at 22:57 on Nov 24, 2020

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Hiro Protagonist posted:

I've kind of talked about this in this thread, but with COVID I don't have a good place to talk to anyone about this, and I kind of need to vent.

I'm someone who was raised in a very religious context, but has always been somewhat skeptical of religious thinking. I've also had a deep abiding fear of Oblivion as a concept. The idea that my consciousness is solely a product of my physical body is terrifying, particularly because of the finality of it.

That fear and skepticism have kind of combined such that any attempt to understand rebirth, heaven, hell, or any afterlife is tinged with a cynical belief that I'm just trying to deny science or make myself feel better. I do believe there are rational reasons to believe in rebirth, and I find some evidence quite convincing, but my questioning side always claws away at me.

I feel like this affects my progress as a Buddhist, because it means I don't have a solid foundation or relationship with it. I always want a security that I fundamentally have difficulty accepting. Anyone have experience with this?

Two thoughts, the first much less important, in my view, than the second:

- The philosophy of consciousness / mind is a very real and living thing that includes, but absolutely is not limited to, physicalist perspectives. Itís worth exploring before assuming thereís a clear and defined answer in this area.

- This may come across as sectarian, and if so I apologize (certainly other approaches may be just as efficacious for you) but from my experience and that of others with whom Iíve practiced over the years, long periods of daily shikantaza (eg 30 minutes a day for a few years) will tend to put you in a very different relationship with questions like this. Itís extremely difficult to explain, and itís obviously not about knowledge of the kind youíd get from reading books, which is why exploring the epistemic uncertainty is ultimately going to be like trying to eat a painted cake, but itís very real.

NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





quote:

Because the power of the vow is without limits,
Even our evil karma, so deep and heavy is not burdensome,
Because the Buddhas wisdom is without bounds,
Even the bewildered and wayward are not abandoned.
(Shozomatsu Wasan 37)



While initially giving the appearance of presenting a rather bleak portrait of the human condition, the above verse contains, in fact, an important insight into the nature of the Buddha's compassion. When fully appreciated, it is capable of providing a liberating vision of spiritual emancipation for ordinary people.

What Shinran is trying to tell us here is that we should not be judging our spiritual worth by merely human standards which are, perforce, limited and distorted. Many sincere individuals who earnestly follow a spiritual path become easily discouraged as they soon begin to realize their many flaws and infirmities. A sense of unworthiness often develops in response to the countless imperfections we recognize as we come to deepen our self-awareness. This awareness, of course, is often a consequence of following a spiritual commitment or, at the very least, of recognizing a higher reality against which one judges oneself. Many individuals who lack such a commitment are often oblivious to such insights with respect to themselves as they lack the appropriate benchmark by which they can make an accurate assessment of their true natures.

Neverthless, there are dangers in coming to this awareness if one draws the wrong conclusions from it. It is not uncommon to encounter spiritual confessions in a number of the world's religious traditions where the individual in question expresses a profound self-hatred and sense of worthlessness in the face of Divine perfection. Occasionally, this can lead to extreme ascetic practices designed to crush one's ego or to even punish oneself physically. While such practices can serve as a corrective to address particular anomalies in one's self perception, more often than not, they can also greatly harm an individual and effect damaging distortions in one's spiritual life. The Buddha always exhorted individuals to avoid such extremes and to adopt a more measured and balanced approach in these matters.

Shinran's verse is important because it provides us with a crucial key in ensuring that we able to achieve such a balance. The recognition that our karmic burden is 'deep and heavy' and that we often feel 'bewildered and wayward' is a natural and honest response to the difficulties we all face in following the Buddha's call to a life of transcendence amidst the pain and turmoil of this world. Anyone who claimed that such a vocation can be pursued without considerable and confronting challenges is deluding themselves. However, the crucial insight that Shinran brings to this situation is that the Buddha does not judge us because of our limitations and spiritual poverty. The Buddha does not 'weigh up' our good and bad qualities and come to some overall assessment as to our worthiness of being 'saved'. The Buddha, in his boundless and inconceivable compassion, fully comprehends the human condition with all its tragic consequences. Such compassion would be meaningless if it did not embrace everyone despite these crippling flaws and obstacles in our natures. Such compassion is the preserve of the Buddha alone, not ordinary people who can only manifest it imperfectly. As Shinran observes in his Tannisho, there is no 'good' that we can do to earn our liberation and there is no flaw so bad that can impede the Buddha's desire to save us from our woeful state in this world.

As the verse says, the Buddha never abandons us even if we feel that we are utterly undeserving of his compassion. The recognition that we are saved despite ourselves, is the very thing that allows our karmic weight to no longer be as 'burdensome' for the Buddha takes it on his shoulders, so to speak, and assures us that it is no longer an impediment to our being embraced by his wisdom and compassion. To be sure, we still feel the bitter pain and disappointment of our own manifold shortcomings but we no longer have the added burden of feeling that we are thereby excluded from the Buddha's grace.
http://www.nembutsu.info/may033.htm

I always find comfort in this and I feel it's relevant to the discussion about struggling for faith and belief.

Of course, the "reality" of the Pure Land also is a matter of faith and belief. Whether it's an actual location or just a state of mind has been debated for thousands of years according to this book on Chinese Pure Land Buddhism I have.

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006





Can someone relate to me the quote thatís something like ďif I had 1000 eyes to see the worlds pain and 1000 hands to helpĒ?

I need a mantra to remind me to not go out and do things that could spread a deadly pandemic when I see every person around me not giving a poo poo and am struggling to do what is right despite knowing itís not helping.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yorkshire Pudding posted:

Can someone relate to me the quote thatís something like ďif I had 1000 eyes to see the worlds pain and 1000 hands to helpĒ?

I need a mantra to remind me to not go out and do things that could spread a deadly pandemic when I see every person around me not giving a poo poo and am struggling to do what is right despite knowing itís not helping.
Avalokitesvara! A powerful and compassionate bodhisattva. You may know this one under the name Kannon or Guanyin. This mantra is in fact the all-star hit "Om mani padme hum."

I think that by following all of these guidelines you are doing acts of great merit. They also have an immediate benefit to you, of course. I would encourage you to stay the course. What has helped me when considering the same topic is the thought that this is the three poisons in action. If everyone had a clearer mind and there were not the various negative actions coming in on the situation, we would be in a much better situation; but each individual who opts to act in a way that promotes the spread of the virus is in fact doing it out of some combination of ignorance, desire and aversion (which includes hatred and hostility).

However, we cannot overcome these things by adding more of them. Acting safely is both wise and compassionate.

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

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




I like any story that involves peoples heads exploding and the buddha just going "yeah that'll happen. Let me give you 7.

A Typical Goon
Feb 25, 2011


Has anyone is this thread read Siddhartha? Personally I loved it but Iím curious what people that are actual Buddhists think, particularly cause the novel seems to point towards a path of personal individual enlightenment as opposed to finding enlightenment through the noble eightfold path

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006





A Typical Goon posted:

Has anyone is this thread read Siddhartha? Personally I loved it but Iím curious what people that are actual Buddhists think, particularly cause the novel seems to point towards a path of personal individual enlightenment as opposed to finding enlightenment through the noble eightfold path

Iíve read it, I remember enjoying it. Itís been a while, but the whole premise is that itís the path of the original Buddha, right? So the noble eightfold path had not been codified yet, and it would have ďcome toĒ Siddhartha after he reached enlightenment looking into the river.

Edit: I just had a funny memory. I read that in high school for an English class, and it was really serendipitous because we read it just a few months after I left Christianity (having been raised and confirmed as a Lutheran since birth) and had just taken my first steps on the Eightfold Path. I got really annoyed because after we read that all my friends were like ďooh are you Buddhist now because we read Siddhartha?Ē

Yorkshire Pudding fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Dec 7, 2020

thorsilver
Feb 20, 2005

You have never
been at my show
You haven't seen before
how looks the trumpet



Recently, alongside my readings of sutras and commentaries, I've been trying to learn more about the history of Tibetan Buddhism and some of the most famous figures in it, like Padmasambhava, Milarepa, Naropa, and so on. I got the bright idea to search 'Padmasambhava' on YouTube and see if I could find any interesting Dharma talks about him, but instead I found this documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HStACYTbvgA

Right from the start they hit you with the 'Guru Rinpoche produces eight quantum energy fields' or some poo poo. But it really starts to come alive when we hear about the universal vibrational power of mantras from the woman with a PhD from someplace called 'Energy Medicine University'.

Also, it feels significant that the entire film has Chinese subtitles, and every time the main weirdo goes somewhere new, the on-screen map does not label Tibet but instead calls everything China.

So, does anyone have any links to actual good videos/talks/books/etc. about Padmasambhava, rather than... whatever that was?

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

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

thorsilver posted:

Recently, alongside my readings of sutras and commentaries, I've been trying to learn more about the history of Tibetan Buddhism and some of the most famous figures in it, like Padmasambhava, Milarepa, Naropa, and so on. I got the bright idea to search 'Padmasambhava' on YouTube and see if I could find any interesting Dharma talks about him, but instead I found this documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HStACYTbvgA

Right from the start they hit you with the 'Guru Rinpoche produces eight quantum energy fields' or some poo poo. But it really starts to come alive when we hear about the universal vibrational power of mantras from the woman with a PhD from someplace called 'Energy Medicine University'.

Also, it feels significant that the entire film has Chinese subtitles, and every time the main weirdo goes somewhere new, the on-screen map does not label Tibet but instead calls everything China.

So, does anyone have any links to actual good videos/talks/books/etc. about Padmasambhava, rather than... whatever that was?

Not what youíre looking for, but it reminds me of a bluegrass song about Padmasambhava. The songís composer is a Tibetan Buddhist and so he is very respectful.

https://youtu.be/1V9ZcQ3-Egk

Thirteen Orphans fucked around with this message at 02:51 on Dec 18, 2020

thorsilver
Feb 20, 2005

You have never
been at my show
You haven't seen before
how looks the trumpet



Thirteen Orphans posted:

Not what youíre looking for, but it reminds me of a bluegrass song about Padmasambhava. The songís composer is a Tibetan Buddhist and so he is very respectful.

https://youtu.be/1V9ZcQ3-Egk

Not quite what I was looking for, no, but nevertheless it's nice to hear music inspired by Padmasambhava Thanks for sharing it.

On that note, I'd be interested to hear other recommendations for Tibetan-Buddhist-inspired music too!

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

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

thorsilver posted:

Not quite what I was looking for, no, but nevertheless it's nice to hear music inspired by Padmasambhava Thanks for sharing it.

On that note, I'd be interested to hear other recommendations for Tibetan-Buddhist-inspired music too!

So this Westerner, Lama Surya Das, traveled East and became a Lama. He came back and wrote a book and made a CD of chants set to music. To be honest when he first published all this I was pretty incredulous about it. Oh you go and become a religious leader and the first thing you do is sell books and CDs? I then learned that in his lineage just saying the words of the mantra (even just hearing it) accumulates merit. So by making these catchy melodies for mantras heís bringing good into the world. The music isnít my taste, but I still catch myself singing some of the mantras. You can find the whole album itís called ďChants to Awaken the Buddhist Heart.Ē

https://youtu.be/V6llZ55MSPY

Thirteen Orphans fucked around with this message at 21:52 on Dec 18, 2020

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


thorsilver posted:

Recently, alongside my readings of sutras and commentaries, I've been trying to learn more about the history of Tibetan Buddhism and some of the most famous figures in it, like Padmasambhava, Milarepa, Naropa, and so on. I got the bright idea to search 'Padmasambhava' on YouTube and see if I could find any interesting Dharma talks about him, but instead I found this documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HStACYTbvgA

Right from the start they hit you with the 'Guru Rinpoche produces eight quantum energy fields' or some poo poo. But it really starts to come alive when we hear about the universal vibrational power of mantras from the woman with a PhD from someplace called 'Energy Medicine University'.

Also, it feels significant that the entire film has Chinese subtitles, and every time the main weirdo goes somewhere new, the on-screen map does not label Tibet but instead calls everything China.

So, does anyone have any links to actual good videos/talks/books/etc. about Padmasambhava, rather than... whatever that was?

If you want talks, https://dharmaseed.org/teachers/ has a ton of good talks on a huge variety of subjects from basically every tradition under the sun. Idk about good documentaries offhand, you'd have better luck probably just finding one of the biographies and reading that tbh. For pretty much everything else, rigpawiki is another good resource that generally will link you to the definitive works on a given subject or person if you're trying to track down where to even start your reading (eg https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Milarepa#Further_Reading or https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Padmasambhava ).

Also if you've got any tibetan buddhist centers around you, they likely have libraries and/or book clubs and are worth reaching out to if you'd prefer not to buy copies of books yourself or you want suggestions or w/e

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Can someone tell me (because I don't know how to ask google this) about the kind of aesthetic surrounding buddhist stuff, especially tantric stuff.

Does that aesthetic arise from some kinds of meditative practices, or is it simply local art trends?

thorsilver
Feb 20, 2005

You have never
been at my show
You haven't seen before
how looks the trumpet



Thirteen Orphans posted:

So this Westerner, Lama Surya Das, traveled East and became a Lama. He came back and wrote a book and made a CD of chants set to music. To be honest when he first published all this I was pretty incredulous about it. Oh you go and become a religious leader and the first thing you do is sell books and CDs? I then learned that in his lineage just saying the words of the mantra (even just hearing it) accumulates merit. So by making these catchy melodies for mantras heís bringing good into the world. The music isnít my taste, but I still catch myself singing some of the mantras. You can find the whole album itís called ďChants to Awaken the Buddhist Heart.Ē

https://youtu.be/V6llZ55MSPY

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check out that album too

Herstory Begins Now posted:

If you want talks, https://dharmaseed.org/teachers/ has a ton of good talks on a huge variety of subjects from basically every tradition under the sun. Idk about good documentaries offhand, you'd have better luck probably just finding one of the biographies and reading that tbh. For pretty much everything else, rigpawiki is another good resource that generally will link you to the definitive works on a given subject or person if you're trying to track down where to even start your reading (eg https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Milarepa#Further_Reading or https://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Padmasambhava ).

Also if you've got any tibetan buddhist centers around you, they likely have libraries and/or book clubs and are worth reaching out to if you'd prefer not to buy copies of books yourself or you want suggestions or w/e

Yeah, I decided to pick up one of the biographies -- specifically, The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava. Hopefully that'll be a good starting point at least. Thanks for the link to Rigpa Wiki on the subject, I'll pick up the other biographies cited on the Padmasambhava page once I finish this one.

There is a Tibetan Buddhist centre here, although it's been closed since March due to Covid-19 so I can't get anything from their Dharma library currently. That's a good idea to reach out to them for recommendations, though, I'll do that too.

BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

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




echinopsis posted:

Can someone tell me (because I don't know how to ask google this) about the kind of aesthetic surrounding buddhist stuff, especially tantric stuff.

Does that aesthetic arise from some kinds of meditative practices, or is it simply local art trends?

It would help if you posted a picture of what you're talking about with maybe some more detailed questions about what parts of the aesthetic you're most curious about. The use of "tantra" makes me think you're talking about tibetan buddhism but I'm not a vajrayana (the technical term for tibetan buddhism) practitioner so I'm not comfortable talking about it as an authority. Especially when there are tibetan practioners who post actively in the thread.

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003


There's a considerably longer answer, but more to the point: the art is itself a point of meditation

Yiggy or paramemetic could probably give you a better and much more expansive answer though. I'll write something later if I have some time

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





BIG FLUFFY DOG posted:

It would help if you posted a picture of what you're talking about with maybe some more detailed questions about what parts of the aesthetic you're most curious about. The use of "tantra" makes me think you're talking about tibetan buddhism but I'm not a vajrayana (the technical term for tibetan buddhism) practitioner so I'm not comfortable talking about it as an authority. Especially when there are tibetan practioners who post actively in the thread.
My understanding is that the cosmology is genuine Tibetan, the mandalas are at least a little bit connected to meditative practice, but the exact nuances of the art style are just because it was done in Tibet. If you did a similar picture with Renaissance-style individuals it would not be "wrong" or blasphemous, although there may be key details you would want to maintain.

Having artistic crossover predates Christianity. https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/consider-source-why-was-hercules-buddhas-first-guardian/

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006





I tried to order ďWalking an Uncommon PathĒ before covid hit and it never showed up. Iíd still like to check it out. Local libraries donít have it either.

Anyone know of an online retailer that has it in stock?

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

I only know of it as absolutely as an ebook, where it was available on Google Play.

I can do a big ol post on the aesthetics of Tibetan Buddhism next time I'm at a keyboard. The short of it is basically the combination of cultures and the encoding of meditative instructions in art. Different aspects of the deity represent different characteristics which then we in turn internalize. The dudes are jacked and often terrifying because in a warlord culture if you're gonna defeat ignorance you should definitely consider doing it in an extremely badass way with a flaming sword and you should definitely be totally ripped as hell.

Paramemetic fucked around with this message at 18:50 on Jan 12, 2021

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006





Youíre right, itís on Google Play. Thank you!

echinopsis
Apr 13, 2004
Probation
Can't post for 3 days!


Paramemetic posted:

I only know of it as absolutely as an ebook, where it was available on Google Play.

I can do a big ol post on the aesthetics of Tibetan Buddhism next time I'm at a keyboard. The short of it is basically the combination of cultures and the encoding of meditative instructions in art. Different aspects of the deity represent different characteristics which then we in turn internalize. The dudes are jacked and often terrifying because in a warlord culture if you're gonna defeat ignorance you should definitely consider doing it in an extremely badass way with a flaming sword and you should definitely be totally ripped as hell.

Sick. I am interested, as it also seems Tibetan buddhism seems to lean on non-dual awareness in a way it doesnít seem other schools do. Thatís what it seems like from the outside anyway.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I got a nice thick translation of the Lotus Sutra for the new year's and boy this is some somewhat heavy lifting. I can see why the Soka Gakkai people just decide to say its name over and over; it would be easier.

Of course a lot of this is just the repetition in details.

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