Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

How do some sects of Buddhism feel about suicide?

I know that certain groups consider it okay (the famous picture of the monk on fire being one of the most lasting images of the 20th century) but does the "having no fear of death" or perhaps the longing for oblivion have anything written about?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Who/what created Dharma? Does it just exist prior to everything else? What set it all in motion (as it were)?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

So if the nature of reality is suffering, could not a goal be to end reality?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

zhar posted:

In any case, how would one go about ending reality even if one wished to?

Simply allow heat death to occur. That or die continuously so that you cannot be part of the wheel.

Also I don't like the idea of a universe both having a nature that is inherently hostile to human beings wanting to live, and also possessing a load of things that could improve it. That would imply the universe is not only sentient, but malicious.

Goldreallas XXX posted:

The nature of seeming reality is suffering, samsara. Alexander Berzin describes samsara as being "impossible ways of being". When impossible ways of being (craving for phenomena that have no real essence, clinging to a self that doesn't really exist etc.) are destroyed, we see reality for what it truly is, which is great emptiness free of suffering.

As I have argued before if one can only perceive of something and no-one can agree on what the other thing is, does the second truly exist? Like if the self cannot be grasped, can reality itself be said to exist?

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 23:12 on Feb 16, 2020

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Goldreallas XXX posted:

You can't die without being born. The wheel spins whether you want it to or not.

Our universe isn't inherently hostile to human beings, as buddhas and bodhisattvas manifest in this world to benefit beings both temporarily and ultimately.

Then I exist without my consent, and I wish to return this ticket and tell the universe to shove it where the sun shineth not.

Does the fact that only some become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas not imply that there is a malevolence in the cosmos? Is the fact that only some become this through simply moulding themselves into the wheel not a condemnation of the wheel itself?

By this I mean that, if only certain people through time are able to become Buddhas, does that not mean that the universe only "allows" certain folks to get that way. This is deeply paranoid (and I know not actually representative of Buddhist thought) but how do we know that the Buddha is not just a sticking plaster to the wheel of what is?

(I do apologise if this is insulting! I do not mean it to be, I just really like discussions like this!)

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 23:26 on Feb 16, 2020

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

So what if we Crave non-existence.

I don't say this personally but as a thought experiment. If someone truly wished to not be, would that be possible inside of a karmic set up?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Paramemetic posted:

Literally everyone becomes a Buddha eventually, because many millions of dudes have dedicated their lives to making that happen. All sentient beings have a Buddha Nature and the potential for Buddhahood, and will eventually realize that Buddha Nature. It just takes a long time.

No maliciousness, malice requires consciousness. The universe is only sentient insomuch as we are sentient and inexorably connected to the universe, which exists only through phenomenal arisings within mind.

If your mind is malicious, then look to sorting that. Anger begets anger, hatred begets hatred. Compassion for sentient beings begins with compassion for ourselves as well.

So, wait, hang on. If we all possess Buddha nature, and the universe is none malevolent, why don't we already all Buddhas? Saying "oh it takes a while" is meaningless if it takes more than 14 billion years and counting.

Anger also begets change, it begets passion, hope and, hopefully, justice. The universe existing, as is, is fundamentally unjust. I think that anger, more than any other emotion, gets a bad rap because it is associated with hatred. But they are fundamentally different and I would argue that anger is a net positive for people.

Also, compassion is for other people. As in literally. Have compassion for others before you give it to yourself.

Goldreallas XXX posted:

It is one of the pinnacles of samsara, but not devoid of birth and death. Tending towards the nihilistic, rather than the eternalist view. The buddhadharma is called "the middle way" becaust it transcends the distinctions of "being" and "not being".

So there is no exit. We have to keep on, until we have "perfected" ourselves? That seems, to me at least, coercive.

Nessus posted:

You do not need to apologize, brother, but I will be real that sometimes it seems like these questions have heat behind them, even if that heat is not authentic and is an artifact of phrasing, word choice etc. I do not say this to demean your perspective or the feelings of your heart, just to try to give back info since you seem to wish for it.

Of course! I don't want to come across as angry at people, that is foolish and bad, I want to be angry at systems. Making people sad or angry for no reason is a bad thing. Do be sure to let me know if I am being bad with the phrases, and I will bear in mind if I'm making folks cross!

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Nessus posted:

See I understand what you're saying, and I'm all about channeling anger towards righteous causes, but I was very angry and I had horrible skin infections and digestive issues. I have found ways to not be writhing in this particular fire (not least the ones in this thread) and I am personally in a much better state.

If I had not had this compassion for myself - if I had taken your advice and focused on putting others entirely before myself - I might be dead, and I would certainly be physically disabled and enervated. In my personal work I do provide help to others and I try to do what I can; I judge dispassionately that I am, at least, on a positive trend line, even if the full accounting (so to speak) is beyond my power.

I don't' understand what you mean about this being coercive. There is the option to not cultivate merit and good karma, it just seems a little counterproductive. Like from the Buddhist perspective, this is just the way it is - what you do with this is up to you. You can curse the law of gravity; you can work around it; or, you can figure out ways to leverage it to help people, for instance by cunning design of the sewage pipes so the poo poo rolls downhill and collects in one place rather than in the river.

I hope they got better/ are getting better!

It's good that you are doing that, but you already provide help to others. That means there is the opportunity to provide compassion inwards too. The problem is that it's far too easy to just go "I'm a good person" and then do horrible stuff.

I dislike the idea of "this is the way things are" when it comes to moral systems. I know that from a lot of points of view that is the equivalent of getting real mad at gravity, but I don't like the cyclical "it's here because, it's here because, it's here because it's here" nature of it. It is better to light a candle, but it is also good to curse the darkness, as it were.

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 08:33 on Feb 17, 2020

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Paramemetic posted:

Breaking habits takes time.

If it takes that long it's possibly not a habit but an addicition.

quote:

Change is fundamental, and I think I have to disagree on the hope and justice bits. We should strive for those things, but not from anger. Doing so out of anger is cultivating suffering. Doing so out of compassion or love is cultivating the end to suffering. The anger itself is a form of suffering, hatred is a poison.

If the universe causes us to cultivate suffering, then we should follow it's example. If our Dao is to suffer, then why not increase it?

quote:

You see, if your enemies have happiness and freedom from suffering, they won't be your enemies any longer. The trick here is that what they think will make them happy and what actually is the cause of happiness is not happiness. People will say "yeah but Nazis want to kill everyone, and you want them to be happy!!! Wow!!!!" But that's not it at all. Rather, Nazis want to kill everyone out of ignorance, grasping, attachment, and aversion. I want them to not have those things anymore. But it's not out of hatred for them.

I understand that, but I don't believe I am the person who can do that. There needs to be an accounting of actions, there needs to be some manner of recompense or forgiveness at some point.

quote:

Compassion is something you have to learn. You don't get good at lifting weights by starting with the heaviest object you can find. You don't get good at cultivating compassion for all sentient beings by starting with "all sentient beings." Start with those close to you that you love and, then those close to you that you don't love, and then you can worry about going further afield.

I'd say it is far easier to care for people who you know than for yourself, who you know too well.

quote:

How can you be kind to others if you can't be kind to yourself? How would you even know what kindness looks like?

Through observation. We can tell what could make us happy, or what would alleviate suffering in others and then attempt to do that to be kinder to folks.

quote:

As Sartre said, "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance." Nobody asks to be born, but we are responsible for our actions. Is it unfair? No, not really. It's simply cause and effect.

Some of us would sooner die not of chance but of choice. I would say that it is unfair. That just because it is cause and effect doesn't mean there can be no moral lesson attached to it.

quote:

No point in being angry at systems, either, because it's just cause and effect. As useful to be angry at gravity. Instead, hang up the anger, because anger is itself suffering.

Every point being angry at systems. They are what shape us and break us and make us. I'd say it's a far better thing to hold onto the anger and to spit in the eye of the universe if given the opportunity.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Nessus posted:

On your second point, it is definitely possible to get complacent. This is part of the cycle of things arising, persisting, decaying, and going away. The cycle is in a sense inevitable, but the question is how can we make it so that the arising and persisting bring benefit, and the decaying and going away do too - or at least, do as little harm as they may? Something that does a great deal of good, and a little harm - is this better than something that does a little good, and no harm?

On your final point, I get you, and I realize in a sense we're coming at the topic of Buddhist matters with a different perspective. From my perspective I have few to no doubts that it is a valid perception of the universe, and any errant details are likely due to either mistranslation or my incomprehension. (This is stuff like, the various hell realms may not exactly match medieval Tibetan art, etc.) From yours I imagine it is a social construct like any other, and I don't even disagree with you 85, 90% of the way, it is just that there IS a fundamental bedrock I hold as true.

e: I would also disagree on the nuance with the idea of 'getting angry at systems,' because I think Josef means in the sense of social systems, created by humans, vs. things like the passage of rivers, which are morally neutral (if, to a limited extent, also amenable to change).

Glad to hear it!

True, but I'd say (from myself alone) that doing no harm is impossible, ergo it is better to ignore that item of compassion and to move on to other ones.

I am grateful for that. You keep safe!

Thank you. I do mainly mean that yes. However I do find it interesting that there is probably not a single river in the entire world untouched by mankind. Mountains maybe, but rivers and everything else? No longer much that is natural about them, and hasn't been for a good long time.

Nessus posted:

The universe just is. Getting angry at the universe means you have to suffer the anger and you don't even have the possibility to alchemize it into action.

Like my view is to take the idea (this is for illustration) of, "it is loving unfair that the bullshit-rear end universe means that I have to eat on the regular"

And examine the root causes - "It sucks that I'm dependent on eating perishable products derived from dead lives," "it sucks that this complex supply train breaking down puts living beings in distress," "it sucks that Donald Trump is stealing all the biscuits", etc.

And then you can act on those. The anger can be an impetus but if you are seething at the universe, the universe doesn't care.

But if you can prove to people that the universe is fundamentally unjust then it should be far easier to explain change and how hierarchical and "natural" systems can be torn down.

Just because it doesn't care doesn't mean it isn't good. If the universe is unjust and we have to exist inside of it part of the rebellion against that can be little things like hoping for it's end etc.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Nessus posted:

Against who are you rebelling? There is no creator to rebel against, in the ultimate sense. (Of course, there are those who create or further systems that cause or increase suffering.)

It is impossible to completely eliminate harm - but you can minimize it. And coming from a perspective of righting a wrong can be motivational. If, for instance, some of the microbial food measures or inexpensive vat-grown animal protein can be realized, in an economic and sustainable way, then we would not need to grow crops (or at least not nearly as many) or slaughter animals (though the process might require the infliction of harm on a small number of animals to begin with).

This is great and meritorious! But you still need to eat.

I think some of our conversation here is moving regularly and often within the same sentence between the "human realm," which is to say more or less the world we live in now, and the "cosmic realm" where we encounter great truths of the underlying nature of reality. They obviously inform each other, but the two scales are not perfect cognates.

Just because there is no creator does not mean that there is no system. Just because that system was not set up to prove/ do anything does not mean it is not unjust.

Disagree here. We can and should (and hopefully will) be able to eliminate all suffering.

Hmm, that's fair. I will try and make it more clear when I'm talking about one thing or another. Sorry about that.

Nessus posted:

e: Like to make an illustration: Say that there is the country of X, and the country of X has an evil king and a weak legislature.

The king of X is a person who is doing wicked things. He can be opposed, rebelled against, perhaps overthrown.

The national systems of country X were created in the past and are amenable to change or dissolution by the exercise of human political and social power.

The existence of the idea of country X is more complicated, but is also amenable to this influence.

The physical terrain of country X, in turn, can be changed, but this has limits because you can only do so much landscaping; you can cutdown forests, or replant them, or allow them to regrow; you can dig irrigation; but you cannot make major influences over the rainfall or the passage of the seasons.

The planet on which country X resides is beyond your power to affect or destroy, or to replace, although we can at least theorize how such a thing could happen, and we have a reasonable summary of the processes that led to the formation of a planet.

The existence of the system of space and physics in which there are planets and stars is beyond our ability to do anything about.

Where do we focus our efforts? Much of what you say reads, to me, as if you are looking at the first three items, and turning to condemn the system of planets and stars, wishing they could not be and calling for rebellion against them. It feels like a wrong address, even if I also feel that you are coming at this from a very good moral place of fierce compassion.

We focus our efforts on the first and work up, and the difficulty may get harder as it goes, but fundamentally does not mean that any level is less worthy of rebelling against. It is not wrong to rebel against everything. If the sun shines as warmly upon the unjust as the just then it should be rebelled against.

Josef bugman fucked around with this message at 00:55 on Feb 17, 2020

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Nessus posted:

Sure, I in turn spoke imperfectly. It is, pragmatically, impossible to completely eliminate suffering in the human realm given the means that we have. This does not mean that material and political means cannot greatly and profoundly reduce the intensity of that suffering. Even under a utopian system, even if we were somehow to make it impossible for people to die, there would still be arguments, discord, emotional upsets, and so on.

Sure, but even those could be reduced to nothing eventually. The creatures that would result would most likely not be capable of being described as "human" of course.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Nessus posted:

At a certain point you are basically using technological means to create gods or devas; the lineage would just have originated in human entities. It would lead to a lot of person-years of bliss and contentment.

Eventually - in the very long run - it would break down, one way or the other.

This does not mean it is not worth doing, although I suppose you also get into a certain kind of macro-scale value call.

Oh yeah certainly still worth doing.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Paramemetic posted:

In East Asian religious Buddhist practice, the "merit market" is basically a means by which wealthy people can exercise generosity to accumulate merit by supporting virtuous activities, patronizing temples or monks, and so on. One of the core ideas is that you do what you can do, so rich people should use that money to support Dharma activities but maybe don't have time to attend retreats, and that's okay. Similarly, people who don't have tons of wealth maybe do have the opportunity to attend retreats, so they should do that and not be expected to contribute money. One example of a merit market type activity is liberation practices where people will make big shows of buying, for example, all of the fish brought in by a haul and releasing them. The practice of "life ransoming" by buying animals marked for death and then raising them is pretty common, but you get into "people being people" when it becomes an ostentatious display. Not exactly the point, but I'd rather people show off by saving the lives of sentient beings than by claiming God loves them more because Number Went Up.

This sounds very similar to what happened in the medieval era Europe where people gave vast amounts of land and money to monks until the monasteries became state actors in themselves and started having armies. Usually they also became somewhat corrupt (not in the way that Henry VII or the various different Whig Historians liked to make out ofc) and it meant that eventually people started giving more land/money to the poorer monastaries, thus creating the cycle again.

Each one begins from a place of utter poverty and eventually becomes a stupidly powerful and wealthy temporal society. Does that happen a lot in Buddhism as well?

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi


Oooh, interesting, thank you!

Paramemetic posted:

But it has little to do with Buddhism, and everything to do with the problems of state power.

I'm not saying it was a purely Buddhist thing. I find the intersection of the celestial and earthly to be a fantastic place of simple everyday book keeping and arguments about how much should be done etc. I like seeing and viewing the way in which different societies can end up in similar patterns despite vast differences. The obvious rejoinder is not that we should discard difference and/or religion, only an idiot would think that, but that we should look into it.

But I also like looking at the justifications used, because of how we as people approach things and justify it to ourselves and others.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Yiggy posted:

For more info on this check out Buddhist Monks and Business Matters by Gregory Schopen

Dang, that sounds really interesting! Will have a look into that, and thanks for the recommendation.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

I was reading a bit ago about the Buddha being against women's ordination/ presence in Buddhism. Is that accurate or am I being daft?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Now I remember what bit I was thinking about "Yes they can be Nuns, but this will cause my ideas to last 500 years instead of a thousand" that is what made me go "that seems off from what I know about the Buddha."


zhar posted:

I remember reading (and this could be quite wrong) a theory that some senior monk had a beef with Ananda and so quite often in the Pali canon he's blamed for various things like the female Sangha. The other one I remember is according to the canon when the Buddha was on his deathbed he told Ananda something like "I could have lived for a whole other eon and helped countless beings if only you had asked me to Ananda, but now it's too late and I'm gonna die".

Later on after the Buddha's death in most places the Bhikkhuni order was dismantled and female ordination was seen as a bad thing, so perhaps this monk (or someone following his lead) decided to blame Ananda for it bringing its legitimacy into question.

This sounds similar to the "Paul sucks" sub set of Christianity. It's really interesting to see this sort of idea cropping up every so often.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply