Faith-based against evidence-based

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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:33 pm

kc2dpt wrote:I also think he is so entrenched in his ideas of how to properly engage a spiritual pursuit that he's not even hearing what anyone here is saying. There has sadly been no meaningful dialog in this whole thread, no willingness to listen or engage, despite numerous people willing to give him their time and attention. I'm reminded of the Zen story about the overflowing teacup.


I agree and I suppose there is the possibility that he is not trolling and just doesn't want to take any advice or recommendations. I see all those comments about no proof of arahants, no proof of Buddha existing (even when others have repeatedly answered those concerns), that there is just as much blind faith as there is in Catholicism; it just all looks like no real intention to learn anything about Buddhism. But I could be wrong, maybe he is just super-stubborn, super-skeptical.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:25 pm

I have looked back over this thread - the initial post, Matteo1972's various replies - and have a new answer.

"What proof do we have that the teachings of Buddha actually bring you anywhere important?"

There is no proof, Matteo1972, that you will accept. I'm sorry we don't have what you are looking for.

There are many people in this world who call themselves Buddhists.

Some do not practice anything, but call themselves Buddhists out of habit or family obligation.
Some practice things sincerely, but those practices no way resemble the Buddha's teachings.

Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see no result.
Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see enough result to fill them with confidence in those teachings.
Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see enough result to know beyond a doubt those teachings are true.

Some claim to know beyond a doubt, but they delude themselves.
Some claim to know beyond a doubt, but say so for ego gratification or to scam others.

Matteo1972, it seems you want someone to say "Go to this place and ask to see this man. He is enlightened and has led many people to be enlightened as well. Go and learn from him." You will not find this in Theravada Buddhism. Here we will say "The place is the Dhamma and the man is the Buddha. Seek out the Buddha's Dhamma and seek out someone who can explain it to you." That's it. That's what this is. If this isn't what you are looking for, then no hard feelings. :)
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby anjali » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:51 pm

Matteo1972 wrote:
dagon wrote:That is the problem – you are looking for someone else to end your suffering. Where did the Buddha teach that?
Metta
paul


Not exactly.
I would need someone reliable to tell me how I need to do to end my suffering


To end your own suffering, you have to investigate your own suffering. Read the book, An Unentangled Knowing, by Upasika Kee Nanayon. Particularly Part Four, A Good Dose of Dhamma for Meditators When They are Ill. It refers to physical illness, but the notion is applicable to emotional suffering as well. If you don't want to read the book, can read a Good Dose of Dhamma online here. Depending on your background, there are other methods, but they all involve insight practices directly looking at the suffering you are experiencing.

May you be free from suffering and the source of suffering. May you find happiness and the source of happiness.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby equilibrium » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:36 pm

Matteo1972 wrote:Because not believing at face value does not mean not be willing to listen and learn

Then maybe the teaching itself is perfect for your approach?

Matteo1972 wrote:There are two contradictions in your sentence:
1) if you are not an Enlightened being and you cant look on the top, how can you even assume that the Buddha is the Enlightened? Faith?
2) the sentence itself is a teaching which describes a law of who can see whom
This teaching also is about Enlightenment, how come that you, who are not on top, can appreciate this law?

1) The word "see" is not seen with the eyes, it is seen with the mind. (understand/comprehend/know) No one knows the result of the path and enters it.....one who enters does not know.....so faith/believe or whatever you want to call it.
2) For there to be appreciation there must first be understanding. There are different levels of delusion/understanding. One does not need to be on the top as this is impossible nor does one need to be there to see.

Matteo1972 wrote:Where does your faith that a Buddha existed and that he can see all come from?

What is taught in the teaching is only that which is relevant to the escape of samsara and nothing beyond. The Buddha created the teaching and the path.....and everyone else follows it....."beyond" is what we don't know.

Matteo1972 wrote:How do you know this?
Have you heard all the teachings?
Also, it is physically impossible to try all the practices s that all masters teach all around the world.
Not even if you live 1000 years.

They are all available in written text form open to all.....Based on your logic, it would be impossible to learn from all those masters, what is more important is there is not a requirement to do so. There is a saying, when you know one you know them all. They are all the same. They are different so to suit different people as you are well aware, not one size fits all!
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:15 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I show the quotes above to show a general theme running through all of your posts. I have them quoted separately, all real quotes from you and they are not pieced together in any way to change any meanings; just to show the general theme in your posts.

Numerous posters have adequately responded to your questions and it is quite obvious that no answer no matter how logical and rational the answer, it will not satisfy you. It is apparent that you have no interest in pursuing Buddhism, in my opinion and you are just here to try and debunk it, no matter how miserably you have failed. You refuse to give it a try; what more needs to be said? You are going in circles making the same claims about how Buddhism is no better than blah, blah, how there is no proof that there are any arahants, that Buddha existed, etc., etc. You never responded to my question / response of giving it a try and see if there is less suffering as you progress. It seems you already have your mind made up.


OK, OK..
I have seen this several times.
When you question people` s beliefs, maybe a little bit too harshly as I maybe did, you get into the following steps:
1. people trying to reply to you
2. people forcefully reply to you
3. people gets irritated at you
4. people accuse you to be trolling
5. you get banned

This has happened to me in various places, such as Christian forums where reaching point 5 is very fast.
Here so far I have been treated respectfully, but I already see people mildly irritated at mild behavior (point 3.) and some veiled accusation of trolling (point 4.).
Since I see no point in being banned, I will end up my conclusion here.

Just let me tell you that I had no intention whatsoever to troll, and no intention of being disrespectful.
I am also a very busy person and I have no time to lose so really I did not mean to troll.
My genuine concern was to find out if there was any solid ground (or, I would say, any ground at all) to believe in Buddhism Theravada.
So far, I could not find any.
What I have been told is to work on a series of teachings that have been said to be written in the past and hat according to some ancient belief may lead to something called Enlightenment in my 6th or 7th life.
Not only there is no solid ground to believe that such things called "Enlightenment" is there, but there is also no ground to believe that a Buddha ever existed.
It is true that just this would not satisfy me.
Yes, it may be true that practicing for a few years or decades you may get some "insight" over yourself (as Christians, Muslims, Yogi, Hindus also claim), but I would not consider this as a proof of being freed from suffering, certainly it would not be any proof of being freed from boredom, which would be unbelievably heavy burden had anyone to go to meditate for years.
And boredom is just another form of suffering, is not it? ;)

So so far, I see Christians and Theravada Buddhism on the same level of requiring blind faith.
I still have some hopes on Zen Buddhism, where you can reasonably get at least satori in this life.
But it is just a hope.
I will still try to go to Thai and see if I can get something else than the usual: "Please come here and practice for the rest of your life so that after your 7-th rebirth you may get Nirvana".
Maybe I will be getting some realistic insight.
If not, Theravada Buddhism will also be closed story for me.

This is it.

If someone has some actual evidence to present me, from direct experience or anything else, please feel free to PM me, I will enjoy reading your thougths here in the near evidence
For "evidence", I mean some lasting attainment, not just the usual "I practice Theravada and now I feel better"
Catholics and Muslims also say the same.

Again, sorry for talking too straightforward, you will excuse me.

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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:17 am

kc2dpt wrote:I have looked back over this thread - the initial post, Matteo1972's various replies - and have a new answer.

"What proof do we have that the teachings of Buddha actually bring you anywhere important?"

There is no proof, Matteo1972, that you will accept. I'm sorry we don't have what you are looking for.

There are many people in this world who call themselves Buddhists.

Some do not practice anything, but call themselves Buddhists out of habit or family obligation.
Some practice things sincerely, but those practices no way resemble the Buddha's teachings.

Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see no result.
Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see enough result to fill them with confidence in those teachings.
Some practice in accordance with the Buddha's teachings and see enough result to know beyond a doubt those teachings are true.

Some claim to know beyond a doubt, but they delude themselves.
Some claim to know beyond a doubt, but say so for ego gratification or to scam others.

Matteo1972, it seems you want someone to say "Go to this place and ask to see this man. He is enlightened and has led many people to be enlightened as well. Go and learn from him." You will not find this in Theravada Buddhism. Here we will say "The place is the Dhamma and the man is the Buddha. Seek out the Buddha's Dhamma and seek out someone who can explain it to you." That's it. That's what this is. If this isn't what you are looking for, then no hard feelings. :)


OK.
This is more or less the reply I was asking for.

Thanks.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:23 am

Im not irritated with you, i have been where you are and i sympathize with your plight. What worked for me was beating my head against the wall until it got soft enough to be permeable to what my practice had to teach me.

The pity of it is that for some people practice is about the only game in town. You sound to me like one of those people. Then again i could be totally full of it. Anyway, good luck :)

And seriously, discuss this with a teacher you can see in person. He or she might be able to at least shorten the self torture.
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby SamKR » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:48 am

Matteo1972 wrote:If someone has some actual evidence to present me, from direct experience or anything else, please feel free to PM me, I will enjoy reading your thougths here in the near evidence
For "evidence", I mean some lasting attainment, not just the usual "I practice Theravada and now I feel better"
Catholics and Muslims also say the same.
Matteo

Hi Matteo,

There are numerous people who claim direct experiences and attainments of different levels of "enlightenment". They are easily available for talk in various forums online.
But even if people tell you sincerely about their direct experiences or enlightenments why would you believe them? What kind of evidence do you expect from them besides the description of their experiences?
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:12 am

Matteo1972 wrote:For "evidence", I mean some lasting attainment

You keep saying or suggesting nibbana is the only lasting attainment taught in Theravada. This is not so. Theravada teaches four levels of lasting attainment. The highest level is the arahant who has attained nibbana. The lowest level is called sotapanna, commonly translated as stream-entrant or stream-winner, because such a person has "entered the stream which flows inexorably towards nibbana". Such a person has firsthand knowledge of the truth of the teachings and cannot fall back. This would seem to satisfy your criteria of "evidence" and "lasting attainment".

sorry for talking too straightforward, you will excuse me.

It's not the straight-talk which is annoying. It is your ignoring of people's answers to your concerns. I suspect you are not doing this ignoring intentionally, but rather just are talking on a different frequency and missing what is being said to you. Or you're being deliberately obstinate. Who can say. :lol:
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:42 am

SamKR wrote:Hi Matteo,

There are numerous people who claim direct experiences and attainments of different levels of "enlightenment". They are easily available for talk in various forums online.
But even if people tell you sincerely about their direct experiences or enlightenments why would you believe them? What kind of evidence do you expect from them besides the description of their experiences?


Well, since such people look like well hidden, I will do my best to find them in Thailand, even if it will not be easy in just two weeks.
Maybe I would not believe them, but at least I would have someone with first hand experience to talk to.
This would already be something
Anyway, I still find very strange that only few people reach the highest level of Enlightenment while numerous claim to have reach the lowest ones.
Mathematically does not make much sense to me.. :)
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:45 am

kc2dpt wrote:It's not the straight-talk which is annoying. It is your ignoring of people's answers to your concerns. I suspect you are not doing this ignoring intentionally, but rather just are talking on a different frequency and missing what is being said to you. Or you're being deliberately obstinate. Who can say. :lol:


I am not ignoring anyone, it is just that the replies I receive are not about my questions.
kc2dpt is the guy who replied to my points as you can read few points above.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:25 am

Matteo1972 wrote:I have seen this several times.
When you question people's beliefs, maybe a little bit too harshly as I maybe did, you get into the following steps:
1. people trying to reply to you
2. people forcefully reply to you
3. people gets irritated at you
4. people accuse you to be trolling
5. you get banned

Since you saw this pattern several times before, what you should do is question your own beliefs and attitudes, instead of blaming others. You did ignore all of the good advice given. You are too busy to follow up and do any proper research.

Theravāda is a gradual training, leading to the progressive development of insight before attaining nibbāna. However, that will only happen if the meditator has the requisite abilities and puts in sufficient hard work. There are many factors that will delay progress, cause it to stagnate completely, or even to regress.
Matteo1972 wrote:Anyway, I still find very strange that only few people reach the highest level of Enlightenment while numerous claim to have reach the lowest ones. Mathematically does not make much sense to me..

Your logic is flawed. If it takes only 99 minutes to find 99% of errors in a document, how long will it take to find the remaining 1%? According to your flawed logic, it should only take 1 more minute.

To gain Purification of Mind will take only a few days of hard work, and most meditators will succeed within a week. A few may never succeed even after a year because they're just too devious.

To gain each successive higher stage of insight will take longer, and more effort, and fewer meditators will be successful.

If we're talking about attaining nibbāna, the very best students will take months or years, and many able students will not succeed.

The late Mahāsi Sayādaw said that many meditators gained the Path (the usual period of practice is six weeks), but you have to allow for the fact that those were Burmese Buddhists who already knew the teachings well, had listened to many discourses on insight meditation, and were inherently respectful and obedient when given instructions by their meditation teachers. They were not plagued with doubts as you are.

Fundamentals of Insight Meditation
The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw, undertook the practice taught by the Buddha, realised the Dhamma, and then taught his disciples from his personal experience. They, in turn, have also realised the Dhamma, as the Sayādaw said in his discourses. “Here in the audience are lots of meditators who have come to this stage of knowledge. I am not speaking from my own experience alone. No, not even from the experience of forty or fifty of my disciples — there are hundreds of them.”

Two weeks is not long enough to find a suitable teacher, and get well-established on the right path, let alone to realise nibbāna. Someone like you will need at least a couple of months or a year to get rid of the negative attitude, before they can begin to work properly.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:02 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Since you saw this pattern several times before, what you should do is question your own beliefs and attitudes, instead of blaming others. You did ignore all of the good advice given. You are too busy to follow up and do any proper research.


The fact is that I get this kind of comments exactly from other forums!
I ignore all the good advices given by Catholics and Muslims.
And even atheists.
Now, should I listen to them?
And how can I listen to the good advice of a Catholic, of a Muslim and of an atheist since you all say different things?
Who is the right one and how?
How am I supposed to decide?
I think the only way is questioning, which is what I am trying to do

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Theravāda is a gradual training, leading to the progressive development of insight before attaining nibbāna. However, that will only happen if the meditator has the requisite abilities and puts in sufficient hard work. There are many factors that will delay progress, cause it to stagnate completely, or even to regress.

Your logic is flawed. If it takes only 99 minutes to find 99% of errors in a document, how long will it take to find the remaining 1%? According to your flawed logic, it should only take 1 more minute.

To gain Purification of Mind will take only a few days of hard work, and most meditators will succeed within a week. A few may never succeed even after a year because they're just too devious.

To gain each successive higher stage of insight will take longer, and more effort, and fewer meditators will be successful.

If we're talking about attaining nibbāna, the very best students will take months or years, and many able students will not succeed.


Let alone that out of 300000 monks in Thailand, even if one in a hundred or one in a thousand would reach Nirvana, you would have at least a thousands of arhants out there (and where are they?)
If they are not there or if they do not show themselves in public, how can you know that for some best students after months or years they have reached nirvana?

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The late Mahāsi Sayādaw said that many meditators gained the Path (the usual period of practice is six weeks), but you have to allow for the fact that those were Burmese Buddhists who already knew the teachings well, had listened to many discourses on insight meditation, and were inherently respectful and obedient when given instructions by their meditation teachers. They were not plagued with doubts as you are.


What is the problem with having doubts?
And why should I be free of doubts about Theravada but have doubts regarding Jainism, Muslims and ..?

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw, undertook the practice taught by the Buddha, realised the Dhamma, and then taught his disciples from his personal experience. They, in turn, have also realised the Dhamma, as the Sayādaw said in his discourses. “Here in the audience are lots of meditators who have come to this stage of knowledge. I am not speaking from my own experience alone. No, not even from the experience of forty or fifty of my disciples — there are hundreds of them.”

Two weeks is not long enough to find a suitable teacher, and get well-established on the right path, let alone to realise nibbāna. Someone like you will need at least a couple of months or a year to get rid of the negative attitude, before they can begin to work properly.


The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw would be a good person to talk to, but he is dead.
Again, why is questioning bad, I thought it would be a good sign of healthy mind!
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:27 am

Matteo1972 wrote:The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw would be a good person to talk to, but he is dead.

True, but one can still read the translations of his talks. If people don't read them before asking stupid questions, I have wasted thirty years of my life. Fortunately, not everyone is stupid.
Matteo1972 wrote:Again, why is questioning bad, I thought it would be a good sign of healthy mind!
Lots of things are healthy in moderation, but harmful in excess. It's possible to die from drinking too much water.

Did you follow up this link yet? Sayādaw U Paṇḍita would certainly be a good person to talk to, since he is a leading disciple of the late Mahāsi Sayādaw with many years of teaching experience, but he lives in Burma. There are other teachers like Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo in Thailand teaching insight meditation, but maybe not many who speak English. So, again, you may have to rely on the interpretation of others.

There are Western monks in Thailand like Ajahn Jayasaro that you could talk to. Watch some of his videos on YouTube and see if he makes sense. Or listen to Phra Yuttadhammo or Ajahn Dhammanando's talks.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Dan74 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:38 am

I think there is plenty of sound common-sense advice above that is not Buddhist-specific.

Recall the well-known Zen story about the professor whose cup was too full.http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=1 Rather than trying to figure it all out in one go, it might be more productive to look at exactly where you are, take stock of the situation and work to relinquish greed, hatred and delusion that are present in your life. I don't think Christians or Muslims would have any problem with this suggestion either, at least not the ones I've spoken with.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:48 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:True, but one can still read the translations of his talks. If people don't read them before asking stupid questions, I have wasted thirty years of my life. Fortunately, not everyone is stupid.


Yes..
I have read many of such articles, I will read more of them, but honestly I do not get the point of any of them.
It is just words words and words
Maybe, as you say, it is me who is stupid :)

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Did you follow up this link yet? Sayādaw U Paṇḍita would certainly be a good person to talk to, since he is a leading disciple of the late Mahāsi Sayādaw with many years of teaching experience, but he lives in Burma. There are other teachers like Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo in Thailand teaching insight meditation, but maybe not many who speak English. So, again, you may have to rely on the interpretation of others.

There are Western monks in Thailand like Ajahn Jayasaro that you could talk to. Watch some of his videos on YouTube and see if he makes sense. Or listen to Phra Yuttadhammo or Ajahn Dhammanando's talks.


I will check where the monks you have said live

I have discussed with a monk whose name is Ajahn Khemmanando, but he lives in Australia
I think he was a disciple of Ajahn Chah.
I had long discussions with him, but as always it all goes always down to: you have to practice for many years and see the results.
He practised for I think 30 years or more.
His teachings did not make much sense to me, nor I saw any wisedom in what he said
He looked to me as he was very knowledged of many aspects of Buddhism, something theoretical of which I am not much interested about.
When you discuss about practical things, such as, how do you reach Enlightenement, you basically get no straightforward answer.
(but I considered go to talk to him direct in Australia.)

Again, looking at the teachings that you have submitted I will give you an idea of my point of view

"Proper attention, then, is the most direct cure for doubt. If you look correctly and in the right place, you will see what you are looking for: the true nature of things. Having seen this for yourself, you will have no more doubt about it."

Question 1: what do you mean by "looking correctly" and how do you know that you are in fact looking correctly
Question 2: what would be the "true nature of thing" and why the way i see them now is not the true nature?
Question 3: who decides what is true or not? and how can I decide

" The Buddha himself said that one who is intent on finding the truth should seek out a reliable and competent teacher. If you cannot find a good teacher and follow his or her instructions, then you must turn to the plethora of meditation literature available today. "

Question 1: how do we know what the Buddha said?
Question 2: how do I know if a teacher is competent or not?
Question 3: competent about what exactly?
Question 4: which exact literature must I read, since everything and the opposite of everything can be found. Who to trust then?

..and so on..

In other words, I look at the above questions very seriously.

Without having a clear idea of what we are talking about, I believe there can be little dialogue.

By the way.. it is making the same questions to Christians and Muslims that make them angry ;)
(I do NOT do this on porpose, I really want to learn)

P.S.
Thanks for the good reference of monks
Last edited by Matteo1972 on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Matteo1972 » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:56 am

Dan74 wrote:I think there is plenty of sound common-sense advice above that is not Buddhist-specific.

Recall the well-known Zen story about the professor whose cup was too full.http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=1 Rather than trying to figure it all out in one go, it might be more productive to look at exactly where you are, take stock of the situation and work to relinquish greed, hatred and delusion that are present in your life. I don't think Christians or Muslims would have any problem with this suggestion either, at least not the ones I've spoken with.


I completely agree !
Such advises are common in many places..

There is a story that St. Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. Then he saw a boy in front of him who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made” said St. Augustine. The boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.” The story concludes by saying that the boy vanished because St. Augustine had been talking to an angel.

http://www.frtommylane.com/stories/God/ ... ustine.htm

Shall I listen this?

If yes, then shall I convert to Christian? (joke)

Other question: why is greed bad?
Seriously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF_iorX_MAw

I hope now you can understand my worries.. :)
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:13 pm

Matteo1972 wrote:By the way.. it is making the same questions to Christians and Muslims that make them angry ;) (I do NOT do this on purpose, I really want to learn)
You keep saying that, but I don't believe you. A sincere seeker would spend more than five minutes skim reading before coming back with yet more stupid questions.

I think you reached the fourth stage already — it might not be long before you get to the fifth stage.
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby chownah » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:27 pm

I don't understand your worries. Are you worried about something? If so then what is it.
Seriously. What is there for you to worry about?
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Re: Faith-based against evidence-based

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:52 pm

Matteo1972 wrote:He looked to me as he was very knowledged of many aspects of Buddhism, something theoretical of which I am not much interested about.
When you discuss about practical things, such as, how do you reach Enlightenement, you basically get no straightforward answer.

Buddhism is nothing other than practical things such as how do you reach Enlightenment. It's a complicated subject, though. There's lots of pieces which fit together just so. When after much reading and studying I saw how it all fits together I found I had much conviction in this teaching. You ask repeatedly "Why read this stuff as opposed to reading other stuff?" I have read lots of stuff and this is the first stuff that made sense, the first words which a] accurately describes where I am standing and which b] lays out a reasonable and sensible way to move forward. Other stuff I have read (other teachings from other religions) did not do this.

Or Buddhism can be very simple: cultivate calm and a delight in letting go. But then one might ask "why" and "how does this lead to liberation?"

I think the simple answer is only suitable for one with conviction. I think one without conviction needs to intellectually understand more pieces of the puzzle.

Why should you spend time on this stuff vs other stuff? I don't know. That's really up to you. I used to ask similar questions but then I met some people who inspired me to give this stuff more of my time and attention. It was then a few years of study before I had a sense of how this path works. You want someone to say "This is how it works" and then you say "Oh, yes, I see that would work. Now I will put in the time and effort necessary to attain it." That won't happen. It is widely believed the days of a person hearing a single word or a single sentence and thereby attaining lasting insight are long gone.

(To put it in Buddhist terms, you want to attain sotapanna after hearing a simple answer from someone you don't know on the internet.)

I really want to learn

You do not want to learn. You only ask "Why should I learn from you?" There is a difference between this and learning.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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