Any Buddhists out there?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Hereandnow
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Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Hereandnow » July 21st, 2017, 11:59 am

It is well know that Buddhists (and thoughtful Hindus) call for a detachment from desire and a way to liberation; not as a way to conceptual understanding, but then, as, let's us agents of detachment, or, agents for who detachment is a possibility, we have to ask, detachment from what? Our desires, of course, and our cravings, appetites, yearnings, longings, and so forth. Lift the mind out of this quagmire of attachments and we will find our true selves, and our always-already-there Buddha nature. But this seems almost impossible to do and there are so many Buddhists out there who spend their lives never achieving nirvana. Ironically, stroke victim Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard neuroscientist seems to have found it when her language centers were damaged by a blood clot in her brain.

Now, I do not doubt her testimony, ad I am confident she attained nirvana--kind of difficult to mistake such a thing that requires nothing more than experiencing absolute bliss with no real interpretative component. And this is a point of insight: it implies that language occludes happiness, not to put too fine a point on it.

I actually think this is right, and that the reason Buddhists have such a hard time (even the dalai lama says he has not gotten there) is that meditation is monumentally difficult. Of course, it can be relaxing and free, granted, to sit quietly and do nothing, but what good is this. the idea is not to feel better for a while, just ask Hesse's Siddhartha. The idea is a kind of wordless enlightenment, a perfect and complete state, the kind Christians talk about when they talk about heaven.

But I want to understand this idea of yoga: detachment from what and to what? And I have no interest in Eastern metaphysics, or really, analyses of what that man said 2500 years ago. I want to look at this thusly:

I am not in agreement with Kant of lots of things, but he has me on the matter of how reason works:it is this synthesizing faculty, bringing particulars under generalities as in the existential quantifier "all x's are y". I don't want to go into the Critique any more than to say that understanding the rigors of Buddhism can be found here: these quantifiers that we wake up to in the morning when we look out the window, read the morning paper, etc., are the deepest condition of attachment. If you want true liberation, you have to liberate yourself from the assumptions built into language that things ARE what language tells you they are. For language carries caring and value; that is, we care about particulars and things being particular at all because our logic divides the world into parts. I

This why the best yoga is probably jnana yoga, i.e., philosophy. Phiosophy is essentialy destructive (as opposed to augmentative, like most fields of knowledge): it examines issues at thelevel of basic questions and assumptions, and inquiry is destructive, analysis takes apart what is otherwise established and fixed. Ask questions about what is real, what value is, and the tacit background of confidence begins to falter, the beginning of enlightenment.

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Synthesis » July 21st, 2017, 3:42 pm

I've been a very serious Zen student for the past 25 years, so perhaps that qualifies me to suggest the following, "Don't mistake the finger for the moon." This is a very famous statement which gets at the heart of Buddhism, that you can not intellectualize what it is. Is is completely experiential. The words are simply a guide. Understanding attachment and release from attachment can only come through its manifestation. Nobody can explain it to you as the words will divert you further and further from the Truth.

You ask, "Detachment from what?" It's not detachment from anything, it is being detached. In the state of detachment, the object and subject are unified, so from what is there to seek detachment?

Again, you can not think your way to understanding Buddhism. It is not an intellectual process, but one found only through the meditative process. Do the work and you will begin to understand.

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Present awareness » July 21st, 2017, 7:34 pm

I feel that Zen comes closest to the truth, in regards to how things really are! Words and intellection are just pointers, not the thing itself. An interesting device used in zen is called a koan. It is basically a riddle which may not be solved with the intellect, however a solution is still required.

A dog may chase his tail for years and never catch it and then one day it becomes completely unimportant.
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Spectrum » July 21st, 2017, 11:58 pm

I am not Buddhist per-se in the religious perspective.
However I have high respect for Buddhist philosophies especially at its highest levels.

The general concept of detachment from desires to end sufferings is a VERY crude concept. While such a concept has its pros, its cons do lead many to disengagement with the rest of society, escapism, to the extreme of ascetism [despite the Buddha discouragement] and the likes.

Buddhism is ultimately the Middle-Way.
It is like a tight-rope walker who must always balance along the wire [middle path] while his body and hands sway from side to side as influenced by environmental factors and his competence.

Detachment in Buddhism as with the tight-rope analogy meant detachment from any inclinations to stick to either the extremes of the left or right side as such a position has high possibility of falling off resulting in death. In this case the tightrope walker must be engaged on the wire concentrating and maintaining along the middle way.

Thus for Buddhism, obviously DNA wise a human has inherent basic needs, i.e. hunger, sex, security, emotions, etc. Buddhism do not expect any one to give up such basic needs but rather one must be detached from the extreme versions, e.g. uncontrollable eating, sexual lusts, and the likes. The worst of such extremes is the extreme insecurity related to mortality.

'Detachment' [often wrongly interpreted] do not meant ignoring or indifference. What Buddhism expect is one must engage and flow with the inherent impulses but with a high degree of mindfulness in management, modulation and in control of those impulses to achieve optimality in accordance to one's circumstances.

Buddhism has this concept of "nothingness." This is raised because humans are by default on to somethingness which if not modulated will lead to sufferings and if taken to the extreme that would be a reified God [theism] which generate its associated cons and negativities. To counter these negativities, Buddhism steer believers toward the other side, i.e. "nothingness" which is often not discussed. At the same time, Buddhism do not promote the extreme of "nothingness" [cannot contra its middle way] but just sufficient to counter the "somethingness" to maintain balance and equanimity.

I view the core of Buddhist Philosophies as;
Buddha's 4NT-8FP - A Life Problem Solving Technique.
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... f=4&t=7378
With such a model, it will ensure one's goal to end sufferings [or whatever positive] do not itself cause sufferings [negatives] in any other sense.

Buddha-Nature? At the higher level of Buddhism, there is a concept of Buddha-Nature. Buddha-Nature is some sort of an "ultimate" state, but it is not supposed to be reified like the theistic God.
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2017, 12:00 am

I attained the "Nirvana" Jill Bolte attained without having a stroke.

Meditation probably won't get you there. Sorry! You'll have to put yourself under huge stress, mental and physical, and even then there is no guarantee it will be a pleasant or successful experience.

Basically you have to come face to face with your worse side, you have to destroy yourself.

Sorry, none of this really helps! haha!! Buddhism is just another religious institution nothing more.

If you REALLY want to try simply lock yourself in a dark, quiet room and lie there and think. It will likely take months to get anywhere which is not practical for day-to-day life. You'll have to put everything else in your life on hold and trust in what I am saying (and understand that I guarantee NOTHING).
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Present awareness » July 22nd, 2017, 12:36 am

Buddha's primary observation was "everything is impermanent". If you become attached to something, which by it's very nature, will disappear, you will suffer when it is gone. However, if you allow things to come and go, as they will, without attachment to them, then suffering will cease. Very easy to say, but very very difficult to practice.
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Spectrum » July 22nd, 2017, 1:34 am

Burning ghost wrote:I attained the "Nirvana" Jill Bolte attained without having a stroke.

Meditation probably won't get you there. Sorry! You'll have to put yourself under huge stress, mental and physical, and even then there is no guarantee it will be a pleasant or successful experience.

Basically you have to come face to face with your worse side, you have to destroy yourself.

Sorry, none of this really helps! haha!! Buddhism is just another religious institution nothing more.

If you REALLY want to try simply lock yourself in a dark, quiet room and lie there and think. It will likely take months to get anywhere which is not practical for day-to-day life. You'll have to put everything else in your life on hold and trust in what I am saying (and understand that I guarantee NOTHING).
Don't get the idea "Nirvana" is merely an experience.
Nirvana in Buddhism is achieving a certain state/level of spiritual competence. Whatever the related experiences are secondary and are not critical to the process of sustaining that state of 'nirvana'. As such the state of Nirvana is tied to a time based spiritual path.

What Jill Bolte experienced is also experienced by enlightened monks, but her experience do not qualify her as enlightened in the true sense. That sort of experiences are also experienced by drug addicts, hallucinogens, mental illnesses, brain damage, and whatever that trigger it. Thus such experiences by these people cannot be discussed in the context of Buddhism.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2017, 1:54 am

Buddha was an isolated individual. To follow his teachings would mean to become royalty and then to remain in complete ignorance of suffering and poverty of the general populace and after wallowing in self-indulgence to the point of boredom then to have enough curiosity to move beyond your immediate enforced paradise.

What his story tells us is the age old adage of "out of sight, out of mind". His reaction was a selfish reaction, one of guilt. He was duped and felt ashamed and betrayed, also his willingness to open himself to the suffering of others could be seen as a form of either self-punishment or, what I prefer, as a means to come to understand life and the world (therefore himself) much better.

Under it all we are essentially talking about being selfish to the point of selflessness or being selfless to the point of selfishness. The irony is the dichotomy is merely a political vehicle and really rational thought obviously tells us that understanding and helping others allows us to understand and help ourselves. The primary point is to understand the many facets of our being as best we can. The lazy remain adorned in ideals of guilt, sacrifice and repentance. These are egotistical fallacies that do nothing much other than enforce a sense of disassociation from others and lay the burden of understanding at our feet rather than at the worlds. Meaning to say you are selfish or selfless is to succumb to "ego". Ironically to say you wish to "dissolve" the ego is also just as egotistical. It is here where the words we ply become a little vacuous.

This is why most religious doctrines talk about "surrender" or "faith". It is recognition of the dichotic nature of humans. Or rather the "dis-recognition" ... terms are a little hard to come by here. I remember Jung came up with a term along these lines (will look for it later)

note: I am not "religious" although I would say that everyone possesses "religiosity" which would be defined as a means of believing to create understanding and knowledge. Religious people tend to flow in more fantastical realms and pursue mystical argumentation, which is no form of argumentation at all only a form of creative skepticism - which does have its uses as an explorative device yet in debate remains an utterly fruitless and distracting exercise most often used in the political sphere as propaganda or dull rhetoric.

-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 2:01 am to add the following --

Spectrum -

With as little offense as possible (but unfortunately it sounds as least patronizing no matter how I say it :S) that is simply mystical mumbo-jumbo. Buddhism doesn't own the brain. Even so you simply wed the term "Nirvana" to "spiritual competence" which means what exactly? This is the kind of rhetoric I just mentioned in my previous post.

note: My issue is always with the institutions rather than the religiosity of humans. Buddhism is merely the extension of the idea of Brahma. It is a spin-off practice of Hindu traditions.
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Spectrum » July 22nd, 2017, 2:30 am

Burning ghost wrote:Buddha was an isolated individual. To follow his teachings would mean to become royalty and then to remain in complete ignorance of suffering and poverty of the general populace and after wallowing in self-indulgence to the point of boredom then to have enough curiosity to move beyond your immediate enforced paradise.

What his story tells us is the age old adage of "out of sight, out of mind". His reaction was a selfish reaction, one of guilt. He was duped and felt ashamed and betrayed, also his willingness to open himself to the suffering of others could be seen as a form of either self-punishment or, what I prefer, as a means to come to understand life and the world (therefore himself) much better.
You have a very superficial understanding of what Buddhism really is.
The Buddha Story is merely a myth.
No prince during that period would have dared to abandon his right to a throne to become a monk.

Prior to Buddhism, Hinduism [Vedic theism] has existed for more than 5,000 in India with very sophisticated philosophies.
Buddhism is not merely based on prince running away from a palace, but Buddhism emerged with a total set of complex philosophy that is a paradigm shift from the current prevalent theistic thoughts to a contrasting non-theistic approach.

2,500 years ago the Hindus and the Buddhists were already engaging in very complex logical arguments to support their various views.
Buddhist logic is a term used in Western scholarship to refer to Buddhist traditions of 'Hetuvidya' (Sanskrit) and 'Pramanavada' (Sanskrit), which arose circa 500CE,[1][2]which in turn were influenced by 'Indian Logic', from which they seceded. Indian logic, and Buddhist Logic—in main[3] heralded by Dignāga[1] (c. 480 - 540 CE)—are both primarily studies of 'inference'-patterns, where ‘inference’ is a gloss of anumāna (Sanskrit).

Sadhukhan, et al. (1994: p. 7) frames the centrality of 'syllogism' to Buddhist Logic and foregrounds its indivisibility as an investigative, authenticating and proofing tool instituted to establish the valid cognitive insights of the Buddhadharma:
  • Buddhist logic obviously contains the forms and nature of syllogism, the essence of judgement, etc. for which it deserves the name of logic. But that logic is not only logic it also establishes the doctrines of the Buddhists. Thus the philosophical tenets were the fulcrum and the logic developed as tools to establish those.
The Hindus argued there is a soul [atman] that survives after physical death while the Buddhists opposed the said views [anatman or anatta].
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2017, 3:52 am

Nah! He was an "elite" and lived a sheltered life. Upon being exposed to hardships of the real world he reacted by choosing oblivion of meditative techniques gained from Hindu practices of meditation. There is also the obvious attachment of Christian myth to some of his story. "Prince" or whatever Sanskrit equivalent is what he was according to most sources. He was certainly not some "serf" or "pleb". Although historically the facts are sparse and merely historical not actual, much like the historical reports of Jesus or any other figure. At least there is more evidence to suggest Buddha existed.

Not ot mention some sects of Buddhism view him as a deity so Buddhism does possess theistic qualities. Logic is not something practiced by Buddhism, it is essentially mystical not rational.

I would also add that meditiation is usually used as a means to set u[p a barrier between the unconscious and conscious mind. It is about finding a "safe place", it is useful and pursued to the extreme will no doubt force a rather serious psychotic episode. The problem being that once it happens the person in question will likely be completely obvilious to it in their pursuit for "harmony" and "peace".

Also note that most Buddhism temples in the East are filled with homosexuals pretending to be Buddhist monks. Not all just SOME. Feew of them actually bother to practice meditation either they just lie around or meet up for orgies (I was invited to one once btw and he was married with children).

At the temple they expect you to prostrate yourself before the head monk too? Why? No doubt this is disguised as a process of "humility". The monks are taught and often have degrees ... in "religious studies". Meaning they are mostly ignorant people taken out of poverty that have their heads flushed full of nonsense without being exposed to basic math or science. The institutes of Buddhism then fund physicists to associate their teachings with quantum and astrophysics to further the mythology of their practices.

In Vietnam monks burned themselves alive to oppose repression of French government. Individual people induced a trance-like state and set themselves afire. Death in the name of a religious institute.

The western adoption of Eastern ideologies is one of mystical enchantment by "foreign" and "esoteric" teachings. They are not based on rationality nor logic. They are based on a want to discover some "truth" proposed to exist in our past.

All the basic techniques used by religious institutions are the same. Only there is there something to learn about humans and religiosity.

Perhaps the most purest of views is those of the Occultists, by this I mean the TRUE practitioners of Magick. They were not deluded into the idea of the supernatural only by the representation of certain symbols pertaining to ideologies. They used these to create a certain kind of self-hypnosis, a practice that taken on a public scale produces religious ideologies and institutions. The "personal" of the religiosity of humans is caged by the ideologies of religious institutions preying on this very human tendency.

The irony is the religious person who attaching to a certain religious institution is against the very principle of religiosity. The contrary nature is also that some common theme is needed to represent to each other the individual "feeling" and so we are stuck with needing to adhere to a certain "system" yet expose ourselves to being consumed by the "system" rather than its intent. I have only seen blatant recognition of this expressed in people who have openly talked about Magick and the occult in general. This can be seen very prominently in the enlightenment period in Europe.

My views are merely superficial though right? They are merely the ramblings of someone yet to have attained "enlightenment" unlike X, Y and Z.
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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Hereandnow » July 22nd, 2017, 8:50 am

Sorry all: If I'm going to type fast I'd better proofread!

-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 9:20 am to add the following --

Synthesis:

Again, you can not think your way to understanding Buddhism. It is not an intellectual process, but one found only through the meditative process. Do the work and you will begin to understand.
Depends on how you mean this. No one can "speak the world." But we speak "about it" all the time. The matter then goes to what 'about' means. We can say, says Wittgenstein, how things are, but not what they are. We take up the world "as" says Heidegger when we use language and ideas that are *ready to hand* to be deployed in time. This puts a single inquiring agency, like myself, in the middle of thought and presence, idea and intuition. To me, it's standing there in the midst of the presence of things, ideas stabilizing the moment, but not defining it. At that moment, I am thought, but also something very different. There is an "isness" that escapes interpretative boundaries and the unspeakable "Real"lays before me.

Hard for many to take this seriously, but for me, this is the moment the Buddha nature makes its awkward appearance into human consciousness. We can talk "about" it, but the "it" remains gloriously "Other." Perhaps a Thou in an I,Thou meeting. Best to try to speak afterwards in order to direct, employ ready to hand language to impart possible disclosure. For in the spoken utterance, there is a pointing or referring to something other than the language itself.

-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 9:23 am to add the following --

Present awareness:
I feel that Zen comes closest to the truth, in regards to how things really are! Words and intellection are just pointers, not the thing itself. An interesting device used in zen is called a koan. It is basically a riddle which may not be solved with the intellect, however a solution is still required.

A dog may chase his tail for years and never catch it and then one day it becomes completely unimportant.
Like Hesse's Siddhartha, on the boat crossing the river.

-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 9:50 am to add the following --

Spectrum:
The general concept of detachment from desires to end sufferings is a VERY crude concept. While such a concept has its pros, its cons do lead many to disengagement with the rest of society, escapism, to the extreme of ascetism [despite the Buddha discouragement] and the likes.
Clearly you have not been grasped by the momentous present moment. If you are looking,and I take it you are not, for some way to grasp what Buddhists are talking about (and these good people do not know how to put language to the task. They are not jnana yogists, adn even when they are, it is a limited sort of thing), then read Husserl. Start with his Cartesian Meditations, move on to Ideas. Or not. But if you want to spek of it, you should read the things that encourage it,not everything that discourages it, like Nietasche's Zarathustra, which you apparently have read. This latter gives you no new thinking at all.

Detachment in Buddhism as with the tight-rope analogy meant detachment from any inclinations to stick to either the extremes of the left or right side as such a position has high possibility of falling off resulting in death. In this case the tightrope walker must be engaged on the wire concentrating and maintaining along the middle way.


THAT is a bad analogy. The worst. I'll give you tight rope walking: political discourse, relationships with others, the demands of job and family, the fear of death and desease; and so on, and so on. Buddhism is like untraining the mind the engage in particulars, allow them to fall away, just fall away from the tightrope, and see the world as if you never had seen it before. I am saying this is at its foundation, a release from the very glue that holds the world together, Kantian synthesis of generality into particulars. There are no particulars.


'Detachment' [often wrongly interpreted] do not meant ignoring or indifference. What Buddhism expect is one must engage and flow with the inherent impulses but with a high degree of mindfulness in management, modulation and in control of those impulses to achieve optimality in accordance to one's circumstances.
No. Management is a technique. Best to leave the yoga boat docked at the shore and move on.
Buddhism has this concept of "nothingness." This is raised because humans are by default on to somethingness which if not modulated will lead to sufferings and if taken to the extreme that would be a reified God [theism] which generate its associated cons and negativities. To counter these negativities, Buddhism steer believers toward the other side, i.e. "nothingness" which is often not discussed. At the same time, Buddhism do not promote the extreme of "nothingness" [cannot contra its middle way] but just sufficient to counter the "somethingness" to maintain balance and equanimity.
This is why I don't trust Eastern accounts on this. The words are so loosely conceived. The bliss of nirvana is not nothingness, nor is the intuitive enlightenment. This latter is a tough case, I know,and it is at the heart my contention about Kant. what falls away in the extraordinary Buddhist intuitive moment is knowledge, the presumption of knowing is why you have such a hard time with this. Ever read Levinas' "Totality and Infinity"? Or Kierkegaard's "Sickness Unto Death"? Or...or so many others.
Buddha-Nature?

-- Updated July 22nd, 2017, 9:58 am to add the following --
Burning Ghost:
I attained the "Nirvana" Jill Bolte attained without having a stroke.

Meditation probably won't get you there. Sorry! You'll have to put yourself under huge stress, mental and physical, and even then there is no guarantee it will be a pleasant or successful experience.

Basically you have to come face to face with your worse side, you have to destroy yourself.

Sorry, none of this really helps! haha!! Buddhism is just another religious institution nothing more.

If you REALLY want to try simply lock yourself in a dark, quiet room and lie there and think. It will likely take months to get anywhere which is not practical for day-to-day life. You'll have to put everything else in your life on hold and trust in what I am saying (and understand that I guarantee NOTHING).
Apologies Burning Ghost, but thinking is not going to help at all if you are reading psychology Today or Scientific American, or Newsweek, or whatever you are reading holds you up. You think what you read, and to grasp intellectually what is at issue here you have to take up some serious reading about the matter at hand. What is reality, value, knowledge, and so forth: Kant, Husserl, Heidgger, Sartre, Rorty, Davidson, Wittgenstein the postmoderns--not that you agree with them all, but it opens avenues of understanding like nothing else. Then read the Prajnaparamita. Then do it again. You really have to be interested, really interested! in the first place to get this though.

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Synthesis » July 22nd, 2017, 11:40 am

Perhaps you can think about it this way. Many view religion as the intellectualization of spirituality. As the story goes, The Buddha [the historical buddha] understood that all but the very few would be able to grasp the non-intellectual, so the religion of Buddhism [the intellectualization] was formed to point the way. Although Buddhism is a very nice religion, chock full of wonderful lessons, it is NOT what it is.

Maintaining a clear mind [meditation] enables one to see the Truth of the matter, a process that creates further awareness and wisdom. This is all it is. Every lesson in Zen teaches that "practice is meditation only," and that's it. The words are there only to provide guidance and perhaps light a spark.

A very famous Tang dynasty master, Huang Po, said, "Open your mouth and you have already lost it."

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Present awareness » July 22nd, 2017, 12:07 pm

In the same way that a picture of chocolate cake, will not satisfy hunger, a description of zen, is not zen. Tao, which is very close to zen, has a similar saying "the Tao that can be spoken of, is not the unspeakable Tao".
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Hereandnow » July 22nd, 2017, 12:41 pm

Synthesis:
"Open your mouth and you have already lost it."
You know,I agree and disagree with this. Philosophy should be taken as an exercise in deconstruction, the taking apart of beliefs that underlie judgment and thought. Inquiry "discloses" what is not adequate, not the case, neti neti; apophatic theology so-called. Our world is very strongly bond together by embedded ideas, and to understand how a tree is not a tree at the perceptual level is rare and alien. One way to undo these is through inquiry. Granted, most are what I call dogmatic personalities: concepts and intuitions (to use Kant's terminology) are fixed and immovable save a train wreck of work. You have to be curious.

then, after a breach in the world forms, one can begin to shut up and let the world "speak."

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Re: Any Buddhists out there?

Post by Burning ghost » July 22nd, 2017, 12:46 pm

hereandnow -

I never said what I said was going to be helpful. It is merely truthful. If you search you won't find a damn thing! You are most certainly not going to lock yourself away from social interaction and lie prone contemplating existence for a few months on my say so. You'd be pretty dumb to do so and you are not dumb so you won't do it. AND I am saying even if you did I cannot guarantee you'd like either the process or the possible outcome.

All I know is I got "somewhere" and thing like "happy" and "sad", "good" and "bad" were simply vacuous. I cannot describe it other than by making that rather obscure and disgusting "mystical" statement (meaning it is a meaningless statement).

All the books in the world say the same as the entrails of a dead rat or the pattern of birds in the sky. It is as meaningful as you make it and that is the fascination of life and the annoyance of life ... then we die (I hope!)
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