REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:46 pm

So as not to be misundertood: I'm not singling out Venerable Pesala here but rather using his comments as an example of the perspective I'm trying to understand.

The background issue here is that the modern uses of the word "meditation," as far I can tell so far, don't correspond to anything the Buddha taught in the suttas.

Now:

One:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:So, everyone born these days need to practise meditation....


Why do we need to? As Kant pointed out, "Ought implies can." This is problematic because:

Two:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...Not just occasionally, and half-heartedly, but regularly, intensively, and with an ardent desire to gain insight leading to enlightenment. The kind of meditation practised today by most Buddhist is mere imitation of the real thing. Sitting for fifteen minutes, then changing your position, or just falling asleep on the meditation cushion will never reach the higher stages of insight in a million years.


I'm fine with the first and last sentence but not the bolded one. How could anyone possibly know this without going back in time and learning (or at least observing) from the Buddha and/or his approved teachers?

So, the perspective goes like this, from my point of view: You secular or modernist Buddhists don't have the REAL, original teachings of the Buddha on "meditation," but I (insert contemporary teacher's name) do and will teach it to you. To say, in effect, "I teach only original Buddhist meditation," seems not only provincialistic but also exclusionary. It also implies that some degree of BLIND FAITH is required to progress on The Path, something even the Buddha never demanded.

I would really appreciate hearing you thoughts one these matters as I find them to be serious issues for Buddhists living in the modern world.

Respectfully,
Daniel
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:33 pm

danieLion wrote:Why do we need to? As Kant pointed out, "Ought implies can." This is problematic because:

To say we "need" to meditate is like saying we "need" to drink water. Yes, obviously, one is not impelled to do so by some mystical cosmic force; if you really want to, you can refuse to drink water until you die. When we say, "You need to drink water," we are really just stating the "if, then" - if you want to live, you need to drink water - with a universal "if" removed. We do the same here when we say we "need" to meditate. The universal "if" of "If you don't want to suffer" is removed because it is a self-evident truth.

If someone comes up to me in my house and asks, "Where is the bathroom?" I would say, "You ought to go down the hallway and enter the first door on the right." Does that mean that I am claiming there is now a moral or metaphysical imperative to do so?



I'm fine with the first and last sentence but not the bolded one. How could anyone possibly know this without going back in time and learning (or at least observing) from the Buddha and/or his approved teachers?

I don't think Bhante Pesala is referring to any specific method or technique and claiming it is original to the Buddha; he's just claiming that the degree to which modern Buddhists pursue that meditation, of whatever kind, is not equal in effort or focus to that which the Buddha commended. Until I see the sutta verse, "Oh, monks, what should one do when the cell phone rings? Answer it, oh monks!" I'm inclined to agree with him.

This isn't, of course, a sleight against lay Buddhists, but merely an admission that the level of insight required for enlightenment is very, very difficult to find without intense striving.

To support the REAL "meditation"/originalist thesis one, as Venerable Pesala typifies, seems compelled to assume or depend upon the validity of the rebirth doctrine:

I don't think that's true at all. Simply framing a practice against a doctrine for greater clarity is not the same as making that practice dependent on doctrine. However, for the record, exactly what is so damn crazy about bringing rebirth into the subject when rebirth was and is an undeniable cornerstone of traditional Buddhist philosophy? If you don't believe in rebirth, or are agnostic, there's nothing wrong with that, but the tone of amazement or derision when a monk brings up a fundamental concept of his religion is not wholesome.


So, the perspective goes like this, from my point of view: You secular or modernist Buddhists don't have the REAL, original teachings of the Buddha on "meditation," but I (insert contemporary teacher's name) do and will teach it to you.

Secular Buddhists absolutely do not have the real, original teachings of the Buddha! I have no quarrel with them, honestly, but those who reject rebirth are in fact rejecting a teaching of the Buddha that cannot be cast into historical invalidity without inviting scholarly anarchy regarding the true message of the Pali Canon. If you reject rebirth, or claim that it was not taught by the Buddha, then you are in fact rejecting a core part of the original teachings - and you're free to do that, but please do acknowledge it.


But first, you have to believe in rebirth so when you have questions about progress variance, I can easily dismiss your inquiries and over-simplistically tell you that it depends on the work you've done in previous lives.

I have not been a Buddhist for more than about four years, but in those four years, during which time I have made contact with many different monks and teachers, I have never heard anyone, lay or ordained, make a claim like this to me or anyone else. This is a strawman.

However, to say, in effect, "I teach only original Buddhist meditation and in order to do it right you have to beleive in rebirth," seems not only provincialistic but also exclusionary. It also implies that some degree of BLIND FAITH is required to progress on The Path, something even the Buddha never demanded.

To say that you must have a general ideological and philosophical alignment with the founder of a spiritual practice in order to get the most out of that practice is not provincialist, any more than it would be provincialist to say that one who is studying biology must believe in the second law of thermodynamics.

And as for "faith," I think a much better word would be "confidence." To quote the Kalama sutta, one twisted and abused by many the secular Buddhist:

Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.


Rebirth, as a doctrine, is one that invites confidence not because of tradition, scripture, or legend, or because of logical conjecture or probability. Rebirth is a framework which should be adopted because it is praised by the wise and conducive to practice - and it is conducive to practice! I do not doubt that many who do not accept rebirth, yourself included, have strong and worthwhile practices; it cannot be denied, however, that transmigration, both as a moral and causal framework and as a fact of nature, plays an integral part in the Buddhist worldview as well as in the "ought" statement we make about meditation being necessary.

So while I disagree with you that Pesala, and other strict and meditation-focused teachers are truly yoking vipassana to rebirth, I even more strongly disagree with the idea that they would be wrong to do so!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:33 pm

danieLion wrote:Why do we need to? As Kant pointed out, "Ought implies can." This is problematic because:

LonesomeYogurt wrote:To say we "need" to meditate is like saying we "need" to drink water. Yes, obviously, one is not impelled to do so by some mystical cosmic force; if you really want to, you can refuse to drink water until you die. When we say, "You need to drink water," we are really just stating the "if, then" - if you want to live, you need to drink water - with a universal "if" removed. We do the same here when we say we "need" to meditate. The universal "if" of "If you don't want to suffer" is removed because it is a self-evident truth.

Does one "need" to escape from samsara?

danieLion wrote:I'm fine with the first and last sentence but not the bolded one. How could anyone possibly know this without going back in time and learning (or at least observing) from the Buddha and/or his approved teachers?

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I don't think Bhante Pesala is referring to any specific method or technique and claiming it is original to the Buddha; he's just claiming that the degree to which modern Buddhists pursue that meditation, of whatever kind, is not equal in effort or focus to that which the Buddha commended.

This begs the questoin/avoids answering it. How could anyone know that our effort is not comparable to their effort without actually observing their effort when it happened in their time?

LonesomeYogurt wrote:This isn't, of course, a sleight against lay Buddhists, but merely an admission that the level of insight required for enlightenment is very, very difficult to find without intense striving.

This is obvious form merely trying. We don't need arguments about doing it like the original Buddhists did it to see it's validity now.

danieLion wrote:To support the REAL "meditation"/originalist thesis one, as Venerable Pesala typifies, seems compelled to assume or depend upon the validity of the rebirth doctrine:

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I don't think that's true at all. Simply framing a practice against a doctrine for greater clarity is not the same as making that practice dependent on doctrine.
You'll have to do better than that to persuade me this is the actual distinction being made.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:However, for the record, exactly what is so damn crazy about bringing rebirth into the subject when rebirth was and is an undeniable cornerstone of traditional Buddhist philosophy? If you don't believe in rebirth, or are agnostic, there's nothing wrong with that, but the tone of amazement or derision when a monk brings up a fundamental concept of his religion is not wholesome.

Don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say it was "crazy," and don't impute to me attitudes I don't bear. I feel neither amazed nor derisive. And certainly don't accuse of me acting unwholesome, for (1) there's no way you could know that and (2) it borders on ad hominem.

...delete...

3) You're begging the question again. How could you possibly know who does and who doesn't have the "orignal" teachings of the Buddha without going back in time and learning from or observing them yourself?

...delete...

danieLion wrote:However, to say, in effect, "I teach only original Buddhist meditation and in order to do it right you have to beleive in rebirth," seems not only provincialistic but also exclusionary. It also implies that some degree of BLIND FAITH is required to progress on The Path, something even the Buddha never demanded.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:To say that you must have a general ideological and philosophical alignment with the founder of a spiritual practice in order to get the most out of that practice is not provincialist....

More question begging. How could anyone living NOW possibly know wath the general ideology and philosophy of the Buddha is without actually having been there themselves?

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby polarbuddha101 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:47 pm

From What the Buddha Thought by Richard Gombrich:

There is an interesting inconsistency here in the Buddha’s
presentation. Steven Collins' has discussed and explained the fact
that while the Buddha often commends ‘right views’ and condemns
‘wrong views’, in some contexts the canonical texts have the Buddha
say that he has no views (ditthi) at all, that only other people have
views. He is there talking about metaphysical speculation, and it is
not hard to see what he means, even if one finally assesses the claim
as disingenuous. But when it comes to preaching to the public, to
attracting and perhaps converting laymen, he cannot avoid making
clear that there is one ‘right view’ without which his entire edifice
collapses: that the law of karma ensures that there is justice in the
world.
When one introduces the Buddha’s teaching to a modern
audience, one very often stresses at the outset - as indeed I have
done - that he asked people to use their own judgement, to go by
their own experience and take nothing on trust. One soon has to
qualify this, however, by saying that there was one belief which he
held himself and relied on in his teaching, the belief in the law of
karma; and if that was not to be obviously falsified by every cot death,
it had to entail belief in rebirth. One tends to add, perhaps in an
apologetic tone, that these were beliefs that the Buddha inherited
and simply could not shake off. I hope I have shown that this is the
very reverse of the truth. The Buddha’s version of the law of karma
was entirely his own; but to accept it was the leap of faith he
demanded of every follower.


I think Gombrich is likely correct here Daniel.


Edit: Quote found on pages 27 and 28
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
User avatar
polarbuddha101
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:39 am
Location: California

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:52 pm

danieLion wrote:Does one "need" to escape from samsara?

No, but because escape from Samsara is the only way out of suffering, it is in accordance with the true desires of all people.

danieLion wrote:This begs the questoin/avoids answering it. How could anyone know that our effort is not comparable to their effort without actually observing their effort when it happened in their time?

Because the suttas are full of examples praising certain levels of effort, whether or general or in relation to specific individuals. By reading the Canon itself, we can see clearly what was and wasn't considered "Right Effort."


danieLion wrote:You'll have to do better than that to persuade me this is the actual distinction being made.

I'm not particularly interested in persuading you of any distinction, as I would not be opposed to someone saying that rebirth is a necessary belief for one to progress in meditation past a certain point.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say it was "crazy," and don't impute to me attitudes I don't bear. I feel neither amazed nor derisive. And certainly don't accuse of me acting unwholesome, for (1) there's no way you could know that and (2) it borders on ad hominem.

It is no ad hominem at all.

danieLion wrote:1) I'm not a "Secular Buddhist."

I didn't say you were.

2) Do you think that everyone who calls themselves a "Secualar Buddhist" rejects rebirth? Is that a requirement to be a "Secular Buddhist"?

From the Secular Buddhist Alliance:

"The primary difference is that Secular Buddhism has no dependency on assertions not in evidence, it is based solely on that which can be verified in the natural world. It does not rule out such claims, but merely recognizes that such assertions (like literal rebirth) have not been able to provide any externally verifiable or convincing evidence. And, like the claims of other religions which cannot be verified by any known means, can be set aside."

3) You're begging the question again. How could you possibly know who does and who doesn't have the "orignal" teachings of the Buddha without going back in time and learning from or observing them yourself?

Because they are collected in the suttas. While I do not hold to any form of scriptural inerrancy, there is no scholar alive who would even entertain the notion that the hundreds and hundreds of references to rebirth in the suttas were somehow added afterwards or do not reflect a core value of early Buddhist thought.

4) You're talking out both sides of your mouth. On the one hand, you say you have no quarrel with those who reject rebirth but then you go on to quarrel about it.

I have no quarrel with secular Buddhists - I have a quarrel with those who will try and recast the Buddha's message into their 21st-century materialist, evidentialist worldview at any cost.

5)You have not clearly distinguished between the Buddha's own beliefs in rebirth and his teaching that to follow him you MUST believe in rebirth. Show me even one sutta reference where the Buddha says that you can't be a Buddhist if you don't beleive in rebirth.

The term "Buddhist" is meaningless. I don't care about some litmus test for who is a Buddhist. I care about who is following the Noble Eightfold Path, foremost of which is Right View:

"He has right view, undistorted vision, thus: ‘There is that which is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are good and virtuous recluses and Brahmins in the world who have themselves realized by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.'" (MN41)


danieLion wrote:You're mis-using the term "strawman." I'm not making an informal argument but rather pointing out a possible implications of how it comes off to new or rebirth-agnostic Buddhists.

It is a strawman, as you are misrepresenting those you disagree with by using inarticulate caricatures.

danieLion wrote:More question begging. How could anyone living NOW possibly know wath the general ideology and philosophy of the Buddha is without actually having been there themselves?

You could read the suttas. We're not arguing over some obscure philosophical sticking point here; we're discussing the validity of a concept mentioned hundreds of times in hundreds of different suttas.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Again, don't put words in my mouth. I never said, "I don't accept rebirth." And how, exactly is transmigration a "fact of nature"? You seem to be contradicting yourself. If rebirth is about confidence (faith), then it is not about denying or not denying but about believing or not believeing. And please, stop putting words in my mouth. I did not say Pesala et al are doing something "wrong."

I'm not attemping to put words in your mouth but instead responding to traditional "agnostic" or secular arguments regarding the importance of rebirth as a concept. I apologize if I mischaracterized your position.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:24 pm

danieLion wrote:The background issue here is that the modern uses of the word "meditation," as far I can tell so far, don't correspond to anything the Buddha taught in the suttas.

Now:

One:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:So, everyone born these days need to practise meditation....


Why do we need to? As Kant pointed out, "Ought implies can." This is problematic because:

Well we don't we can go through life without meditating, but I would relate what has been said here to
Socrates wrote:the life which is unexamined is not worth living


danieLion wrote:Two:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...Not just occasionally, and half-heartedly, but regularly, intensively, and with an ardent desire to gain insight leading to enlightenment. The kind of meditation practised today by most Buddhist is mere imitation of the real thing. Sitting for fifteen minutes, then changing your position, or just falling asleep on the meditation cushion will never reach the higher stages of insight in a million years.


I'm fine with the first and last sentence but not the bolded one. How could anyone possibly know this without going back in time and learning (or at least observing) from the Buddha and/or his approved teachers?

I believe Bhante is not refering to the techneque people use but rather the attempt at meditation that is made. instead of trying to make every moment a meditative one, "most" would sit for a set period of time and then go about things just like anyone else.
I believe the full sentence of the quote is relevant here
Socrates 36c-d wrote:the greatest good of a man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living


danieLion wrote:Three:

To support the REAL "meditation"/originalist thesis one, as Venerable Pesala typifies, seems compelled to assume or depend upon the validity of the rebirth doctrine:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:In the Buddha's time, many individuals who met him had previously practised meditation to a high degree. Venerable Kondaññā, for example, had been striving as an ascetic along with the Bodhisatta for six years, and was present at the Bodhisatta's birth, when he was an astrologer who predicted his Enlightenment.

Others, like Anāthapiṇḍika or King Bimbisāra, who realised the truth on merely listening to the teachings, had developed mindfulness and wisdom to a high degree in previous lives.

So, the perspective goes like this, from my point of view: You secular or modernist Buddhists don't have the REAL, original teachings of the Buddha on "meditation," but I (insert contemporary teacher's name) do and will teach it to you. But first, you have to believe in rebirth so when you have questions about progress variance, I can easily dismiss your inquiries and over-simplistically tell you that it depends on the work you've done in previous lives. Again, so as not to be misunderstood, I am open-minded about whether or not rebirth is in fact real. I'm not against it and I'm not for it and will modify my conviction one way or another as time goes by and I'm confronted with new data. However, to say, in effect, "I teach only original Buddhist meditation and in order to do it right you have to beleive in rebirth," seems not only provincialistic but also exclusionary. It also implies that some degree of BLIND FAITH is required to progress on The Path, something even the Buddha never demanded.

As I see it rebirth can be used as a working model for framing things, one can accept or deny it, it certainly isn't required by the Buddha to accept this specific teaching if you have no means of knowing its truth or not. but I put this down to trust, are the teachings to some extent doing what they say on the tin? if so is it reasonable to trust that it will have some benefit along the path?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5846
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:10 am

"I have not been a Buddhist for more than about four years, but in those four years, during which time I have made contact with many different monks and teachers, I have never heard anyone, lay or ordained, make a claim like this to me or anyone else. This is a strawman."

From what i have seen over the past 20 years that does quite often go with the territory. Beleiving in rebirth, karma to excuse inconsistent results i mean.



EDIT: Changed "usually" to "quite often"
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 1031
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:01 am

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:22 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:By reading the Canon itself, we can see clearly what was and wasn't considered "Right Effort...." [T]he suttas are full of examples praising certain levels of effort, whether or general or in relation to specific individuals.
Inferential knowledge is not clear seeing.

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:25 am

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:54 am

danieLion wrote:Inferential knowledge is not clear seeing.

And we don't need to have some kind of transcendant firsthand knowledge to know what the Buddha taught, any more than we need "clear seeing" to know about Akhenaten or Abraham Lincoln.

danieLion wrote:They don't represent all secualar Buddhists.

Since you say you're not one anyway, I'll drop the point.

danielion wrote:Yet you've used it throughout this thread as if it is. Why are you clarifying this now?

Because the issue relates to whether or not one can have a maximally effective meditation practice while denying (or needlessly eel-wriggling out of) the concept of rebirth; I'm interested in concrete spiritual progress, not membership into the "Buddhist club."

danieLion wrote:Are you suggesting I haven't and/or don't?

No, but I am indeed suggesting that your question of how we could possibly know is pretty simple.

danieLion wrote:Why are you responding to them? They didn't start this topic. I did. You've all ready affirmed you understand I'm not a secular Buddhist. If you want to address them, address them, not me. They way you presented it suggested you were conflating me with them.
Apology accepted.

So what, seriously, is your position here? That rebirth is reasonable to accept, but that it isn't necessary?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:55 am

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:00 am

danieLion wrote:"Seriously"? I've been serious the whole time.

That is not what I meant, I apologize; I mean I am seriously asking what your position or purpose for this thread is.


What do you mean by "position"? Reason (I try not to reason in a traditonal philsopical sense but in terms of Korzybksi's General Semantics and Non-Artistotelian Logic or what Robert Anton Wilson--the guy in my avatar--called Maybe Logic) and necessity factor into it, but it's ultimately a matter of faith/confidence and personal experience.
Pope Daniel

Hail Eris!

I guess I'm just confused, as you started by saying that originalism was in error and that requiring a belief in rebirth for meditation practice was unreasonable (at least, that's what I got out of it), but you went on to say that you do support rebirth and do believe in the authority, at least historically, of the suttas. I guess I'm just trying to pin down what your objections are.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Zom » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:22 pm

Blind faith is needed in Buddhism. Subdue to that and this won't be a problem anymore =) :cool:
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 861
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Coyote » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:33 pm

Zom wrote:Blind faith is needed in Buddhism. Subdue to that and this won't be a problem anymore =) :cool:


I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect. "Blind" to me suggests emotional conversion experiences not based on understanding or experience.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Zom » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:55 pm

I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect


Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 861
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby Coyote » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:01 pm

Zom wrote:
I wouldn't call Buddhist faith "blind" exactly, rather confidence (saddha) is based on intellectual understanding, personal experience ect


Now where there is that intellectual understanding, pesonal experience and so on when we are talking about kamma, rebirth, hells, devas and so on?
That is pure blind faith. As it is.


I would say yes. My acceptance of those teachings is based on intellectual understanding and experience - party of the Buddha's teaching as a whole, which then allows for faith in teachings that I have not yet "seen for myself". But also intellectual understanding of the Buddha's arguments for belief in rebirth and kamma, e.g moral argument, praised by the wise ect. There is Faith, yes. But I don't think it is "blind" faith, rather a "seeing" faith. But maybe this is just me getting hung up on semantics. I agree with what you are saying in principle.

Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:24 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The problem with this approach is that even if someone had attained knowledge of previous lives, and said that they had, you would still be doubtful whether they were deluded or their experience was trustworthy.

There is another method to gain confidence in the Buddha's enlightenment, by using logical inference.

Sāriputta's Lion's Roar

Whatever anyone says, or whatever one reads in the Pāli texts or Commentaries, it is still going to be something that will remain beyond one's personal experience until and unless one can attain psychic powers, which by all accounts is very rare these days.

One can visit any hospital or farm to see birth and death taking place on a daily basis. Most of us only rarely see either event happen in front of own eyes. Still, even if one sees birth and death frequently, it takes a leap of faith to make the connection to believe in rebirth.

If you have trouble with the doctrine, then set it aside for now, and focus on what you can know in the present life — the birth and death of your own thoughts, feelings, cravings, fears, etc., and try to understand how the arise and pass away dependent on conditions.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41&start=2160
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1784
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:33 pm

danieLion wrote:"Seriously"? I've been serious the whole time.


LonesomeYogurt wrote:That is not what I meant, I apologize; I mean I am seriously asking what your position or purpose for this thread is.
Apology accepted and thank you for the valuable clarification.

danieLion wrote:What do you mean by "position"? Reason (I try not to reason in a traditonal philsopical sense but in terms of Korzybksi's General Semantics and Non-Artistotelian Logic or what Robert Anton Wilson--the guy in my avatar--called Maybe Logic, Zeteticism, and, of course, in terms of critical thinking, REBT, and CBT) and necessity factor into it, but it's ultimately a matter of faith/confidence and personal experience.
Pope Daniel


LonesomeYogurt wrote:Hail Eris!


All Hail Discordia!

...delete...

I said I'm keeping an open mind (an application of critical thinking about it) and that I will continually test it in concert with what faith/confidence I do have in the Buddha with the hope of further verifying the validity of my faith. I never said I believe in "the authority of the suttas," either, nor did I mention them in terms of "history." When I study the suttas, I do investigate (again, guided by my verificationist faith in the Buddha) and explore and bring historical scholarship into to it as much as possible to aid me. As an ultimate authority, the suttas are not reliable, as historical-critical methods (a la Analayo et al) have highlighted. I do hope and desire, however, to find a corpus of suttas that best reflect the message of the Buddha as close to his "original" teachings as possible. But even the term "original" in this sense can be misleading because the Buddha changed his mind on occasion, tailored his teachings to individuals and contexts, and, along with other arahants, admitted to making mistakes. So if by "original" we mean something static, I cannot accept that, for the Buddha was a dyanamic thinker and teacher, as were many of his disciples. The complexity of investigating in this way is further deepened by the facts of textual corruptions, inconsistencies, and a schismatic climate all ready evident in the parisa and sangha during the Buddha's times. In fact, I suspect that the self-refuge passages are an indication of the Buddha's own exasperation with attempts of those around him to pin him down or twist his message to suit their own biases.

...delete...
Last edited by danieLion on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: REAL Meditation: The Originalist Thesis

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:34 pm

Zom wrote:Blind faith is needed in Buddhism. Subdue to that and this won't be a problem anymore =) :cool:

To quote Jesus, "If the blind lead the blind, they'll both fall into a hole."
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Next

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 7 guests