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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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

The dharma in the ultimate sense is like the law of gravity. That's just the way it is.
The buddha-dharma, i.e. what Shakyamuni taught and which has been elaborated and developed on by various schools, was the work of Shakyamuni Buddha and his successors, but a dharma recorded on an alien planet would be fundamentally similar. There would be some differences no doubt due to the fine nuances of the human-equivalents on that world (for instance, obligate carnivores would have different challenges regarding right livelihood).

There was no fundamental ultimate point of "creation," a point before which there was 'nothing' and after which there was 'something'. You could trace this back to, for instance, this universe, but time itself didn't begin then. There were beings suffering before this universe existed, and there will be beings suffering after this universe ends (tho hopefully progress will be being made by the bodhisattvas).

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yeah that kind of thing comes up a fair bit, like I was trying in the end of the previous thread to articulate that "dukkha" isn't exactly "suffering" as we would construct the concept in English, though it is a form of that.

Josef bugman posted:

So if the nature of reality is suffering, could not a goal be to end reality?
Ah, I see you enjoy anime too.

Ultimately, you can't end reality. Even if you were Dr. Eggman and could destroy the Earth with your super laser piss, you could extinguish the human species but you would do nothing about the nature of the mind that generates suffering. In time other minds would arise and would experience the same situation. You can also make major strides in addressing suffering - even leaving aside Buddhist practice, putting the resources it would take to even begin to try to figure out "how to destroy reality" into effect would probably be sufficient to move vast numbers of people into the householder/middle class situation where practice is probably the most fruitful.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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!)
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.

As Paramemetic said, probably in the long run, the very long run, all become Buddhas, or I suppose arhats. You could pursue the course of arhatship and I think they held that if you were in the stream you only had a few more rebirths ahead of you - perhaps you would even be able to reach paranirvana in this life.

The idea of someone so deeply dedicated to suicide that they pursue the path of arhatship sounds like a parable in the making.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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.
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.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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 to 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.
Yeah, I'm in pretty good shape now. But it was connected to anger. Everyone is built differently of course.

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).

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





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.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





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.

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.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 00:48 on Feb 17, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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.
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.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Josef bugman posted:

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.
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.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I'm Entertain Dog

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Tungsten Dreams posted:

I have a couple of things to ask, this is as good a place to ask as any! maybe even better!

last year my closest friend did and said a bunch of poo poo that SUPER hurt. like WOW I couldn't move for weeks. for background, I'm schizophrenic (so is she) and have a history of major depressive episodes. she did apologise and promise to do better but, she just... keeps doing stupid hurtful poo poo. after a while I stopped sleeping more than an hour a night for a few months; I'd stay up all night crying or too upset to shut my mind up. after month number four I went to bed and I could not. stop. thinking. about the noble truths, I have no idea why - my mom practices buddhism and must have been talking to me about it at some point? and it made me reflect a lot on my own hurt and suffering. I kind of realised that my suffering wasn't unique or special, that I've always been suffering and I've been attached to my suffering and the things which have exasperated it. and I also realised that my suffering was transient and impermanent, and it was caused exclusively by attachment. and then I could sleep again, I've been sleeping well ever since.

it's been a journey but, I eventually weaned off all my medications, gained a bunch of confidence and I feel like I'm actually living for the first time in my life. I have so many new friends, an actual social life, and I feel like I can be loved.

my first question is, a few years ago I asked her to be the best man at my wedding. I don't want her to be anymore. her having that role does and will cause me and others suffering, but asking her not to will cause her suffering. I can't see a way through this that will not cause a net increase of suffering. how can I approach this?

question the second number: is there a certain distance I 'have' (super lovely word I know) to go with approaching enlightenment? if I make progress, will future incarnations of TD pick up the slack? is it wrong to think that the life-me now isn't ready and needs to go back in the oven a couple more lifetimes?

thirdish, I wanted to know more about meditation. in therapy we would practice westernised mindfulness - sitting one the floor, focusing on our breathing, that sort of thing. it wasn't something I took to, and as said earlier in this thread I'm not sold on mindfulness meditation being something that is safe for me to practice given my mental health conditions (I'm stable and happy, and I want to stay that way). in my youth I always thought of meditation as a form of exploring yourself, deep deconstructive thought to induce true realisations of character and 'self'. are there other ways meditation can manifest, or other forms of it?

tia
On the first question, I think the answer depends somewhat on whether you're getting married in the near future or not. However, if you do not feel that her role in your life is the same as it was then, you will at some point have to discuss this with her. If this is a question of "I like her, but I feel less intimate than I did," perhaps you could ask her to take on a different role in your ceremony which retains some esteem. It's a thorny question.

On the second question, progress is progress. Any practice (in my understanding) will generate merit. There may be some that will produce greater merits than others, and there is always the option to call on Amida to take you to the pure land in your next go-round. On a personal level I would say, don't put yourself down particularly. If you are recognizing practical limitations, that's one thing, but it isn't an "excuse."

On the third question, you are showing excellent discernment in a lot of ways here. Did you have uncomfortable outcomes with it, or was it just difficult for you to accomplish? There are, however, a lot of other dharma practices that you can pursue. I'm a big fan of mantras.

Meditation is good, but it is not all that there is to Buddhism. It sounds as if the core teachings alone were a big help to you!

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





On the topic of texts, I would like to share the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism or "Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai" (BDK). BDK is a Japanese group rooted in Jodo Shinshu and, as best as I can tell, are not funded by anything evil or up to any kind of shenanigans of political influence, et cetera. I found their little collection, "The Teachings of Buddha," very useful to me, because it filled a role similar to that of a Bible -- indeed I found copies of that book throughout hotels in Japan.

They have a shitload of English translations of the Tripitaka available online, along with texts from Chinese and Japanese schools. There is a searchable database of this material here.

Also approachable is their online resources; they will let you order physical copies of various books for money, but you can also read the PDFs for free online. BDK America - there are chapters in other nations too. If you run into issues getting at a BDK PDF due to national blockers or similar, let me know and I will fish it out for you somehow or other.

If you have been interested in the Tannisho, they have a PDF version with commentary by an English translator. Here's the link. They sent me a free copy with my TTOB copy but they seem to be low on print copies... PDFs, of course, are a different story.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Blendy posted:

Edit: Also yes Buddhism is a lifestyle, the benefits only truly come from practice. I mean, Corporate Twitter Jack is never going to become a sage and gain the power of flight unless he firmly studies and trains and even then becoming a Bodhisattva is extremely unlikely. I kid but yes Buddism is a lifestyle and I think the best one to adopt while we're stuck in the shul.
Jack could become a dharma king and institute righteous policies on his website, but he'd lose a lot of money and possibly be deposed if he did.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yorkshire Pudding posted:

Not trying to open a can of worms, but how could one not accept rebirth but still accept the dharma, samsara, and nirvana?

That feels a bit like saying ďI believe Christ is our Lord and Savior and he forgave of us of all ours Sins, but I donít actually believe in God or HeavenĒ?

I get that in the end youíre saying that as long as people are practicing compassion thatís a big net gain, but it seems odd to be able to pick apart one of the big foundations of impermanence.
Because a lot of people in our broad demographic categories seize up at the prospect of rebirth in the sense of "after I die, another individual with a direct lineal karmic succession to me, personally, will arise, by unknown mechanisms" and this would exclude them from the many benefits of the dharma. If this sounds salty it is mostly because accessing Buddhist teachings in my native language is incredibly heavily informed by this obstinacy, which I personally don't share.

Like straight up, much of why I spoke warmly of BDK in that previous post is that BDK just gave me the goods instead of a bunch of dithering about neurological scans etc.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yiggy posted:

*Rather than merely being a hang up of westerners member to certain demographic categories, that this is a perennial concern going back thousands of years, which should give anyone comfortable in their own interpretations some measure of pause. Some Buddhists clung to notions of literal rebirth tenaciously, and it can be easy to understand why. The pudgalavadins needed an entity which carried the karma and merit from one birth to the next because that was in no small part the edifice which the entire monastic institution rested on. You donít have lay Buddhists paying for donative inscriptions dedicating merit to certain individuals without that. You donít have the development of viharas and later mahaviharas without that. And yet curiously you have large parts of the tradition reacting against just that. Itís a complex issue, and should be approached with nuance.
This was enlightening, thank you for sharing.

Rebirth is one of those things where it just made total sense to me, so it has sometimes been frustrating to see that it is such a major stumbling block for people in my general nation/culture/population. A lot of this is probably that my dad was a big old acid head and the first religious-adjacent memory I have was him teaching me how the I Ching worked.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





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 think there are some vajrayana practices you should not attempt without a teacher, but otherwise you are mostly getting the benefit of "the sangha" by having one. I figure it is better to follow and study the dharma even as a "solo practicioner" than to not try to practice until some hypothetical future time, which might not come.

That said, my experience with a lot of religious places is that if you reach out, they may be able to help you get a ride with a parishoner of some kind. This may not be good for you on an ongoing basis, but it would be something to consider.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Hiro Protagonist posted:

I was curious what people in this thread thought of Ian Stevenson's work. I've seen some people in the Buddhist community point to his work as "proof" of rebirth as a concept, and the little I've read does seem intelligent, but there are likely huge issues with it that I may not be noticing from a surface reading.
I'm not familiar with it... I haven't heard of a lot of strong specific cases outside of the context of the various lamas like the Dalai Lama. Param may have more to say.

I have had weird subliminal impressions of what makes most sense as 'a prior life' but I don't think rebirth generally holds that you will have a lot of like, specific memories. In functional terms you would hold echoes of the habits you held in the prior life, which is part of why it's a good idea to cultivate good ones now while you're in a human incarnation.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Pet dogs wouldn't have the karma of taking lives to contend with either, while wild dogs might well. (Cats are obviously another story.)

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I was curious if folks reading this thread would be interested in some in-depth readings of sutras. I figured this would provide anchor points for people to understand a lot of Buddhist thoughts as well as introducing a range of exciting and obscure sutras.

The sutra I was thinking of doing this with is the Ksitigarbha sutra, or to give it its full Christian (har) name, "Sutra of the Fundamental Vows of the Bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha." This particular sutra was influential on me and it contains a range of exciting theological details. You can find a PDF here: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/ksitigarbha.pdf

This text is influential in Chinese Buddhism in particular, although there is some ambiguity on whether it is authentically derived from Indian texts, due to a strong focus on filial matters. No Sanskrit versions of this text have been found; on the other hand, it is not as if filial piety did not exist in India, and the text might have become popular or been prioritized for translation due to that aspect.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I have been composing but it has been rather slow going since large parts of the text are repetitive and while this was very satisfying to me to read due to its baroque and elaborate nature, it does not distill well to a philosophical point.

However, there is a very important section which I will reproduce in key selections.

quote:

At that time, Samantabhadra Maha Bodhisattva requested Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and said: "My meritorious One, please be kind enough to relate to devas, the dragons and all beings of the Samsara world, in the present and the future, the names of different Hells and the kinds of punishment for committing sins, so that beings in the future generation will realise the result of evil deeds and therefore will avoid evil."
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva replied: "My compassionate One, under the supernatural powers of the Buddha and your kind support, I now give you the names of Hells and the kinds of punishment for sinners in brief
...
21. Hell of Burning Iron-Balls Where sinners are forced to swallow the Balls.
...
24. Hell of Great Anger Where sinners are made to fight against one another angrily.
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva said again, "My compassionate One, inside the Mahachakravala, there are innumerable such Hells of Punishment. Again, there are
...
29. Hell of Fire Elephants Where sinners are chased by burning Elephants.
30. Hell of Fire Dogs Where sinners are bitten by them.
31.Hell of Fire Horses and Fire Cows Where sinners are chased or stepped on by the burning animals.
...
36. Hell of Fire Eagles Where sinners are attacked by them.
37. Hell of Fire Saws Where sinners' bodies and teeth are sawed.
It is unclear how one can achieve a rebirth as a Fire Elephant, despite the eminent desirability of such a form.

None of these Hells are like the classical Hell in Christianity. Ksitigarbha in various incarnations is able to speak with various devils and their kings, who are presented as reasonable and moral beings. The suggestion is that these areas' existence is due to the law of karma, not due to a deliberate meta-political act. I included Great Anger there because it is relatable in a way that the Hell of Fire Eagles is not. Hells also arise and decay; it is noted that some individuals' torment might extend past the term of existence for a particular hell. It does not seem beyond conception that to the Fire Elephants, this is just an ordinary world. Is our own world a Hell -- and for who?

Nessus fucked around with this message at 08:21 on Feb 29, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yorkshire Pudding posted:

Currently switching my priorities to attain just enough bad karma to be reborn as a Fire Eagle.
I think you have to do a stint as a Fire Cow before those unlock.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





That sounds like a very unusual meditative experience. I would not blame you for being more hesitant about meditation in general going forwards. I imagine Paramemetic will have more useful advice. I don't think people go to hell realms in this life, except in the interpretation of the concept where "if you live according to these ways, you're creating a hell realm around you, in your mind, right now," which seems rather irrelevant to the point.

I will say that monks and heavy meditators often encounter weird poo poo, and the idea in general is that these are anomalies that are, at most, illuminating scenic detours from the real path of meditation. I also doubt that you have done yourself permanent, in the sense of somehow "forever," harm - the plausible worst case would be that it might be wise for you to avoid that form of meditation again in this life.

I am not clear from your description - do you mean that you woke up to your awareness some substantial time later, and that in that intervening period, you were engaging in daily tasks etc. but you did not have your awareness or direct memory of these events? Or do you mean that the memory returned to you a couple of days later?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Tias posted:

I mean in the sense of a blackout. One moment I was locked in the outside, then a blackout happens where I don't know what goes on (similar to drinking too much) and then suddenly I realize I'm actually back in my body, carrying on. As if I was snatched out of the world and reinserted a little time later.
Was it a very long period? I would want to say "a merciful being helped you out," but another explanation would be that it was the mental equivalent of when you stretch your foot too far and it kind of gets agonizingly stuck for a moment. (Not to negate the real suffering you experienced.) However, this is entirely speculation on my part at this point

e: well you can't gently caress up your eternal soul because "you" don't "have" an "eternal" soul; there is an entity called Tias but that is a contingent entity formed by events dependent upon other events and so on. Given your continuing occult practices I imagine that any major disorganization would have come up in some form. I would not advise you to hasten back to the experience, but it seems like your plausible worst case is, "don't repeat that meditative process." Have you been able to meditate in other forms after this moment?

Nessus fucked around with this message at 11:47 on Mar 3, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





mike12345 posted:

Traumatic events are able to trigger psychosis or schizophrenia, if someone is pre-disposed, so why shouldn't a meditative experience be able to do the same? I'm genuinely curious if there's a scientific consensus on how meditative practices can have a long term negative impact on mental health.
What you're saying makes sense, and I don't know the formal and scientific consensus on anything related to meditation other than "seems to lower your stress indicators!" In this case though I would make a distinction - if this makes sense, and I'm sure you can see the reasoning in a Buddhist context - between the possibility of having an injury or structural novelty in the brain that you have in this life, and some kind of disorder or fundamental problem with one's underlying awareness which will in time achieve rebirth.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





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".
"When I have become a beautiful butterfly, O Ananda, then you shall regret all that poo poo you talked" - Shakyamuni Buddha, probably

(Future historians with archives: That was a joke, not an actual quote.)

Also I have been digesting my thoughts over the Ksitigarbha sutra but I was smote by both dental pain and working in the distance ed department of a university and, well, that's the entire university now

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





My guess is that most of the things you're considering as "Christian" here are more accurately "things that arose in a Christian culture and were perhaps in conversation with Christian ideas." Like the idea of star-crossed lovers and such is actually easier to reach in a Buddhist worldview because people are of course naturally reborn, and have karmic entanglements...

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





On thread appropriateness, "secular" Buddhism stuff makes total sense here and it is the place to be. I would say, mostly, "accept that others may believe in the whole enchilada," and I for myself only say this because I often feel defensive about religious belief. (On a personal level I am not actually very skilful at meditation - though I may have the opportunity to practice now - but I find a lot of the theology and mysticism engaging, and I gather that all the roads eventually lead to the summit one way or another.)

On the topic of specific schools, I think that you have it right... I think that nothing is forbidden, although some Tibetan practices should be done with guidance or you should avoid taking on a commitment you can't effectively keep, because breaking a vow is worse than not taking it.

I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with practicing without full assent to all the theological details. What matters is the practice itself.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Paramemetic posted:

Okay, that is enough of my selfish post. I hope it is of some benefit to someone.
I found it very beneficial so thank you for sharing. I understand, I think, what you are talking about. My own job was technical support for distance education at a large university... which was brisk enough to keep me employed but has, ah, changed considerably in its intensity. I am working from home, but I have had a great many calls to the effect of, "How do I teach my course online? Help: I'm scared."

It has been exhausting and difficult and stressful, even when I 'count my blessings', but I appreciate the perspective you brought. I think I have done, for the most part, OK: I have even been asked by some people, "Are you a robot??"

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





So despite my ambition I regret that I have not yet collated my thoughts on the Ksitigarbha sutra beyond chanting the extensive mantra when I have found the time, Given All.

I thought, though obscurely, about the prospect of making beneficial merit and how positive actions, small as they may seem, can ripple out, when I saw this video about the numbers behind "why you ought to stay at home and not go around being a vector, if you possibly can." https://twitter.com/aljwhite/status/1241859943017349126

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





https://dharmarelief.org/

Do these folks look legitimate?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Indeed, you run into the problem of charitable giving in general - I have heard the Red Cross skims a lot off the top of anything you give. And of course, knock wood, this situation we have now will be largely gone in a year - yet in a lot of ways, it has not yet actually happened. We don't have a lot of recent precedent.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Keret posted:

This is excellently timed, as I wanted to drop in and mention something we are working on at ADZG! A few of us have started a committee that is going through our archive of podcasts and working with Taigen to share a few each week while the pandemic is going on. I thought I would crowdsource this a little bit and include the remote Sangha as well — if anyone here has listened to our podcasts and has any from the archive that they really liked or that spoke to them, please suggest them to me and we can add them to our ongoing list. Feel free to PM me or post, whichever works best.

Thank you for your ongoing practice, Dharma friends!
Oh wow, this stuff looks amazing. I will definitely be in touch about my favorites. I had been half-assedly searching for some kind of online Dharma talks/service situation due to the current blend of "confinement," "the suffering outside," and "the opportunities to try and build a practice habit."

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Buried alive posted:

One of those ways was to join a Kik group, just to chat and get my feet wet. Some of the people there seem to be SUPER into the idea of other religions being wrong, that certain aspects of other Hindu religions involves consorting with demons, passionately rejecting metaphysical arguements about God, and one of the guys there (who is from Sri Lanka) seems to have quite the hate-boner for anything Hindu in general. Apparently there was a lot of conflict and supression of Buddhism by Indian (or maybe British Colonialist) forces in Sri Lanka in recent history, so it's understandable, but drat. I've also seen a lack of nuance towards other topics in some of the discussions. For example, trying to point out that just because someone thinks X should be legal, that is not the same as saying someone should therefore go out and do X.

.. Some of that is me venting I think, but I'm going to leave it there for discussion and commentary (or not) anyways. My concern is that I've definitely got an appealing vision of Buddhism (and Buddhists) in general mostly engaging in calm inquisitiveness towards such issues. While others (including mods) do intercede to try and calm things down, the fact that these flare ups exist is causing me to bounce off super hard. I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly why. I can feel myself wanting to discuss some of these issues, but a kik chatroom just feels like a poor format to do it in. Especially one where people are getting all up in arms about issues to begin with. Some of it might be miscommunications caused by whatever ESL or cross-cultural issues could be present. Some of it might be me clinging too tightly to my aforementioned appealing vision. Some of it might be the fact that my view of the world in general is doubtless influenced by growing up as a straight white dude in a (supposedly, anyway) 1st world industrialized nation that was a colonizer rather than a colonizee. In the spirit of trying to turn these experiences into a lesson.. I don't know. Wtf do I do next? Just spend some time brooding meditating on why it bothers me so?

P.S. There is a zen place near me that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Maybe I'll finally do that in a month or so when it's deemed safe to do things outside again.
I think an important thing to remember is that Buddhists aren't fundamentally different from other people - I think that you may have had an image that taking refuge made you immune to the various negative sentiments and rhetorical models you are describing. What you're describing sounds like it's something of a Sri Lankan space as much as it is a formal Buddhist space.

I hope it doesn't discourage you from the dharma! I think it is good for people; it's just that people are where they are, and the difference is not necessarily titanic on an individual level.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Travic I would like to welcome you to this thread but I feel that I should give you a caution, that you should continue pursuing these therapies, and that you should be gentle and kind and soft to yourself when and if you get round to trying meditation. It is really worth doing, but in some states and for some people, it can make things worse. But it will not always be so.

Travic posted:

I'm afraid I don't understand. What do you mean others are part of me and I am part of them?
In addition to what Blendy said, there are the various influences people have had on you, and that you have had on people.

I imagine you've met a dog or a cat somewhere along the line, perhaps even kept them as a pet. You petted that doggo or that cat; the animal experienced a positive moment and rubbed its head, no doubt, against your hand. This happened - the animal was pleased, and no doubt so were you. You are now, in a tiny part, part of that animal's life, and it is a part of yours.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Travic posted:

Ok so it's sort of a "It takes a village" idea? My existence is what it is because of my collected life experiences with other people? That makes sense. But honest question: why does that mean I should love myself? Not trying to be combative I really want to work through this.

Lots of people have shaped my life, but I can still be worthless. As I said this is going to be difficult for me. I don't think I have a more core and central belief than "I am a waste of space."

This all sounds really selfish now that I'm writing it. Sorry. My therapist said it's kind of like making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others. And maybe Buddhism and self love is the answer.
I want to tell you that you are as worthy of love and regard and compassion as any other being, as a sort of top line comment.

Regarding the first remark, everything (in the Buddhist view) is the result of dependent originating, coming out of a complex sea of previous actions, existing, and eventually declining and fading. You are not "just" the presence of other people but there isn't a singular permanent eternal "you" as distinct from "me" or "the cat you petted."

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Travic posted:

Oh I care deeply about other people's woes. I want to fix everything. I want to fix everyone's problems more than anything else in my life. If someone is suffering I want nothing more than to make it stop for them. A colleague once joked that she had to be careful what she asked me to do because I'd always say yes no matter what. I just don't think I deserve that kind of forgiveness or care. That's what I need help with. That's what I meant by selfish. It feels selfish to say, "Please teach me about Buddism because it might help me."

I just don't know how to care about myself.

So:

Focus on the present here and now and stop overthinking about the past or the future.
Allow for the idea that maybe I'm not as worthless as my brain says I am.
Try and convince myself somehow that I deserve love.
What I have found to be a useful guide (if you're not in the middle of a deep trough, anyway) is: If you encountered your situation in a similar stranger, how would you react?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Travic posted:

I'd do everything in my power to fix it and make them happy.
So why treat yourself differently?

e: this is a rhetorical question, of course: I understand the answer is (broadly), 'because depression is a persistent disease'

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





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 oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?
I think it's one of those things that can happen but isn't really the point of the affair. If anything it is probably a problem for meditative practice because you could go "Yes, I remember my past lives!" probably incompletely and in a weird way and subject to the self aggrandizement or other interior issues the mind has

"Clearly I have reached the summit. Yes sir, I'm basically Double Maitreya now. Time to do cocaine about it."

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Qu Appelle posted:

Weird question.

Is one 'tied' to a sangha? Or to a certain tradition?

I took refuge and joined a sangha that's rooted in Tibetan Buddhism. However, the sangha is really hard for me to get to for the Sunday Chenrezi chanting service. It's easily an hour one way, *if* I make my bus connections - and that's pre-COVID-19. Now? Our public transportation is in shambles, and I don't drive. I can get there for weekday events easily, however.

The closest sangha to my place is the Seattle Betsuin, a Japanese Buddhist Churches of America sangha. They practice Jodo Shinshu, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism, if I'm understanding it correctly. It's really easy for me to get to; it's within walking distance for me. Can I just take in some Sunday morning services there, instead of my 'home' sangha? This may seem ignorant, but I was raised in Christianity, where bouncing in between denominations is something that's not really done. I've been watching their livestreamed Sunday services, so I'm familiar with how they do things, kind of. So, when things open up again, I'd like to check them out in person.
I don't think there's any obstacle outside of some kind of situation where you'd taken on some kind of formal obligation. I'm glad you have so many options, I need to get out there myself if I ever get onto something nearer to a day schedule.

Also you're correct that BCA is the American face of Jodo Shinshu.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I am curious if anyone here has any good resources or favorite recipes for vegetarian cooking. I am thinking perhaps I ought to take the plunge, or at the very least turn meat into an accent rather than a centerpiece. I'm asking y'all instead of just googling it because I am curious about the curated experience and you folks may have come at it with at least some thought to Buddhist practice.

I know it's hard to be 100% vegetarian in Japan even if you try, although hitting 90-95% is easy.

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