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zhar
May 3, 2019



Josef bugman posted:

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

Dharma can be translated as literally "truth", and "practicing dharma" could be said as "living in accordance with the universe". Noone created dharma and it is not specifically Buddhist, you can have Christian dharma, Hindhu Dharma, even humanist or atheist dharma. You can say the Buddha's dharma was created by the Buddha in one way (maybe in the same way Planck's constant was created by Planck) but it is like truth - noone creates or owns the truth, it's just the truth (you can own lies though).

As for what set it in motion, idk but here's a cool Dzogchen interpretation. Note that Samsara comes about due to ignorance about the nature of the universe, which lead to actions that do not accord with it.

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zhar
May 3, 2019



Josef bugman posted:

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

Careful!

Paramemetic posted:

2) The Truth of the Cause of Suffering: Suffering is a characteristic of phenomena but it is not the nature of phenomena. All phenomena by nature are empty or without essence. Thus, suffering is not a characteristic of the phenomena. Instead, it’s a characteristic of the experiencer. Specifically, suffering come from ignorance, attachment, grasping, and aversion. Suffering occurs when we want something that is not the case to be the case (grasping), when we want something that is the case to not be the case (aversion), or when we want something that is the case to remain the case (attachment). We do those things (grasp, attach, fear) when we think that phenomena are real, or when we are ignorant to the nature of phenomena as inherently empty*.

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

zhar
May 3, 2019



Josef bugman posted:

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.


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?

In the Buddhist worldview (at least as I understand it) the mind is primary, not physical reality. Even if this universe is destroyed a new one would pop up in relation to the ignorant mind not dissimilar to how the past and future pop up in relation to the present. Not only is the universe not innately hostile due to buddhas and bodhisattvas as Goldreallas says but the flip side of samsara is nirvana. The mind cannot be destroyed, as long as there are ignorant minds there will be a reality to experience samsara but the mind can be transformed to experience nirvana instead.


The universe is not sentient other than you (as a sentient being) being part of the universe that is aware - you are the sentient aspect of the universe.


Josef bugman posted:

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?

No, the mind cannot be destroyed. You could go to the formless realms or something which are very subtle though. I'm not sure you'd want to not be if you became a buddha.

zhar
May 3, 2019



Goldreallas XXX posted:

This would be the cause of rebirth in the formless realm, specifically the realm of Ākiṃcanyāyatana:


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".

problem with this kind of rebirth is that it sounds like a long time (it is in fact a very very long time) and you aren't going to be suffering when you're there but eventually your karma runs out and like it was a dream you wake up (not remembering it) right back in the lower realms again no closer to escaping samsara.

zhar
May 3, 2019



Yorkshire Pudding posted:

New question: I have really inflexible hips and knees, so even sitting basic cross-legged for me is hard. I basically have to be sitting against a wall or something, which tells me my posture isn’t good.

I bought a meditation bench to sit seiza style, but my issue is that I can feel a lot of stress in my shoulders and neck from my hands having nowhere to sit. My lower back always feels fairly tense, but that may just be me getting used to sitting upright like this. And recommendations?

Nothing wrong with using a wall for support, although you probably want to cushion the lower back and as said a raised rear end is probably necessary. A lot of postures ( including as the one Paramemetic describes) are designed (aside from being relaxed and stable) to optimise the subtle energy channels in the body but if you are too distracted by the posture to meditate that's not going to do you a whole lot of good. Some types of meditation require a specific posture but when I'm practicing shamatha I prefer something like a shavasana posture lying on my bed because I find it easier to relax. Unless the meditation requires something specific the best posture is the one that is most comfortable IMO, although a straight spine is important.

zhar
May 3, 2019



NikkolasKing posted:

How important is getting a proper teacher in your opinion? This was a big discussion over on he Dharma Wheel forums back when I found it and posted on it for a while. Some think it's essential that you go and get personal instructions.

I'm not a Buddhist but part of my eternal not getting involved with a religion is my handicap. I'm legally blind and can't drive. The closest Buddhist locations for me are an hour away in Dallas. I won't deny I'm also just incredibly lazy and hate being around strangers which compounds the problem.

I do go out of my way to read as much as I can and learn as much as I can. But some think you need more than that.

I heard an anecdote that the Dalai Lama was asked something like "Is a guru really necessary?", he thought about it and replied "No, but one can save you a lot of time" (something to that effect).

I personally don't see it as a reason not to practice in the meantime. As has been said there are plenty of podcasts and online offerings many of which are as authentic as they come as long as you do some amount of due diligence.

zhar
May 3, 2019



I'm making my way through Fearless in Tibet by Matteo Pistono at the moment which is a biography of the mystic Terton Sogyal. The dude was one of the most powerful tantric masters in Tibet in the late 19th / early 20th centuries and was a teacher of the 13th Dalai Lama. He was responsible for tantric defences of the nation as it was menaced by British India and Qing Manchuria from the outside, and corruption and sectarianism from within. It's a great book that combines a fascinating story with some of his practice advice and a good taste of the history of Tibet from that time. I'd recommend it to just about anyone - the Terton led an extraordinary life regardless of whether you believe he was an actual wizard. I'm lending it to a non-Buddhist friend when I've finished.

zhar
May 3, 2019



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.

zhar fucked around with this message at 13:50 on Mar 11, 2020

zhar
May 3, 2019



Thirteen Orphans posted:

Beautiful.

I have a question, I know there is sacred literature outlining the previous lives of the Buddha and I know a Buddha, being omniscient, will know all of their past lives. But is recalling one’s previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?

I think this can be developed after attaining one of the jhanas (meaning this way is not specifically "buddhist" as training in samadhi is not unique to buddhism and training to this level is not necessary for the sravakayana afaik).

this dude, the Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche is the real deal and he can do it:
https://youtu.be/GrWhX1BixBk?t=2216

it's a great film as well

zhar fucked around with this message at 22:16 on May 5, 2020

zhar
May 3, 2019



echinopsis posted:

Do the more esoteric buddhisims bring in "tricks" to advance toward enlightenment?

well karmamudra is a thing but i'm not sure you're allowed to pay for it

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.

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.

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zhar
May 3, 2019



I remember hearing somewhere (in a tibetan buddhist context probably drawing from yogacara, not sure if it translates to theravada etc) that there is a continuum of ones subtle energy or prana that is physical but not material, therefore exists within spacetime so you cannot be reborn back in time. If you can't be reborn back in time which seems to me to be the general stance, there must be a physical continuum, right?

The buddhas mind however must transcend time in some way, in all traditions afaik the powers of the buddha include omniscience with respect to past present and future.

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