Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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kirk5a
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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby kirk5a » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:10 pm

Alex123 wrote:Who care about short lasting results (which might not even be achieved) in this short life if afterwards one will eternally burn in hell? Maybe the results (if they even exist) are from the devil (or God) to tempt us away from Christianity.

I don't feel like getting far into a discussion about Chrisitanity, but consider the actual text.
Matthew 7:15-23 wrote:By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
"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

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:31 pm

Kare wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Based on this review,


I would never base anything on a review which is so obviously prejudiced as that one ... unless, of course, if it supports my own prejudices.

A golden rule: If you wish to discuss a book, read the book.


Not gonna happen, so I will have to bow out. :anjali:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Ben
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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:46 pm

binocular wrote:
Ben wrote:What I see here in this thread, and elsewhere on the forum, is a lack of self-reflexive analysis or discussion about one's own distorted vision.
Too often do we see "I've got it right, this other approach (or your approach) is wrong"


It may be that; but sometimes it is also due to one's particular communication skills that one misinterprets something as an ego-contest when it fact it isn't.

For example, my experience is that people who don't have formal training in college-level philosophy tend to find college-level philosophizing offensive. Also, people who aren't trained to recognize and to use different communication styles (assertive, aggressive, passive, passive aggressive) also tend to take offense at the assertive style.


No, I don't think I am misinterpreting anything at all, nor is Ajahn Thanissaro nor many others who have made the same observations. Personally, I am a veteran of approx ten years on various Buddhist discussion boards and a practitioner of nearly 30 years experience.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:23 pm

binocular wrote:
It may be that; but sometimes it is also due to one's particular communication skills that one misinterprets something as an ego-contest when it fact it isn't.

For example, my experience is that people who don't have formal training in college-level philosophy tend to find college-level philosophizing offensive.
The problem is that very little of that is going in this thread.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:44 am

kirk5a wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Based on what do you pick one faith over another faith?

One in which there can be observable beneficial results here and now, not solely about results after death. The Kalama sutta provides guidance on that question.


Though I suspect people from all religions would claim beneficial results in the here and now.
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:26 am

kirk5a wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Based on what do you pick one faith over another faith?

One in which there can be observable beneficial results here and now, not solely about results after death. The Kalama sutta provides guidance on that question.


Kirk,
I urge you to read the article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu that I linked to earlier.
The message given to the Kalamas seems to be very subtle and not well understood.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:24 am

Ben wrote:No, I don't think I am misinterpreting anything at all, nor is Ajahn Thanissaro nor many others who have made the same observations. Personally, I am a veteran of approx ten years on various Buddhist discussion boards and a practitioner of nearly 30 years experience.


tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that very little of that is going in this thread.


You're being cryptic.
Could you direct your criticism at the person you actually intend it for, and over what exactly?


Ben wrote:I urge you to read the article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu that I linked to earlier.
The message given to the Kalamas seems to be very subtle and not well understood.


Could you present the message of the Kalama sutta, as you see it?


And yes, I've read the article, already soon after it was published.
I hope all here are aware of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's somewhat controversial stance on the issue of anatta, the meaning of "mindfulness" and a number of other issues.

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:27 am

Kare wrote:
binocular wrote:It takes a good amount of pride and egotism to insist in investing effort despite the belief that this one lifetime is all there is and despite the awareness that death could come at any time and cut one's efforts short.


Pride and egotism?


What else can keep a person going in the face of what they believe to be certain and unpredictable death?

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:50 am

Alex123 wrote:Who care about short lasting results (which might not even be achieved) in this short life if afterwards one will eternally burn in hell? Maybe the results (if they even exist) are from the devil (or God) to tempt us away from Christianity.

Alex123 wrote:Based on what do you pick one faith over another faith?


Heh. I feel like a kid in a candy store, seeing the problems you present!
This kind of problems are just my area of interest.

I used to have many sleepless nights over questions such as "Which religion is the right one?" and the like. And this for years, even for a couple of decades.
At risk of sounding patronizing or assuming too much advancement, I dare say though that those concerns and sleepless nights can go away. It has taken me a lot of time and effort, and the effort of some other people, a lot of reading and discussing and journaling, and trying this and that.

I think I can relate to the state you are in and to how you phrase your issues. Even though now, your state may seem as very solid and lasting, it might change.

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Alex123 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:03 am

binocular wrote:
Kare wrote:
binocular wrote:It takes a good amount of pride and egotism to insist in investing effort despite the belief that this one lifetime is all there is and despite the awareness that death could come at any time and cut one's efforts short.


Pride and egotism?


What else can keep a person going in the face of what they believe to be certain and unpredictable death?



Why isn't it pride to say that "I do know for certain what is going to happen after death"?

Personally, I don't know for certain. I have some reasons to question certain beliefs, but I believe that I don't know everything, I am not Omniscient.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Ben wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Based on what do you pick one faith over another faith?

One in which there can be observable beneficial results here and now, not solely about results after death. The Kalama sutta provides guidance on that question.


Kirk,
I urge you to read the article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu that I linked to earlier.
The message given to the Kalamas seems to be very subtle and not well understood.
kind regards,

Ben

I did, thank you. Am I misrepresenting something about the Kalama sutta?
"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

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:05 pm

Alex123 wrote:Why isn't it pride to say that "I do know for certain what is going to happen after death"?


Not sure how this relates to what we're talking about ...

Some people may indeed know for a fact what is going to happen after death. In that case, them stating so isn't pride.

My point was that I think it is eventually impossible to invest into spiritual (or materialistic) efforts, if one believes that this one lifetime is all there is and is aware that death could come at any time.
I'd love for someone to show otherwise, but so far, I have yet to meet such a person.


In Start Trek (2008), Spock says about the test that Kirk cheated on:
The purpose [of the test] is to experience fear, fear in the face of certain death, to accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one's crew. This is a quality expected in every Starfleet captain.
But this is an ideal from a sci-fi film, and it is probably an ideal for many people. But unless one is a Vulcan or a Starfleet captain - who can really do it?

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Alex123 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:23 pm

binocular wrote:Some people may indeed know for a fact what is going to happen after death. In that case, them stating so isn't pride.


And some people "know" that Jesus is the Lord who answers their prayers. How do we know that a person isn't hallucinating or imagining? Hallucinations and dreams can appear quite real and I don't doubt sincerity and honesty of those people who had those hallucinations.

binocular wrote:My point was that I think it is eventually impossible to invest into spiritual (or materialistic) efforts, if one believes that this one lifetime is all there is and is aware that death could come at any time.


I agree. Though one could say that being a monk and daily experiencing pleasure of jhāna + insight afterwards is worth it, even if there is one life.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:44 am

Alex123 wrote:And some people "know" that Jesus is the Lord who answers their prayers. How do we know that a person isn't hallucinating or imagining? Hallucinations and dreams can appear quite real and I don't doubt sincerity and honesty of those people who had those hallucinations.


Why does it matter what other people may know or not know? Why does it matter whether they are hallucinating or not?


binocular wrote:My point was that I think it is eventually impossible to invest into spiritual (or materialistic) efforts, if one believes that this one lifetime is all there is and is aware that death could come at any time.


I agree. Though one could say that being a monk and daily experiencing pleasure of jhāna + insight afterwards is worth it, even if there is one life.


Although the question is, whether one can come to the point of practicing jhana with the outlook that this one lifetime is all there is.

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Aloka » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:17 am

binocular wrote:
Although the question is, whether one can come to the point of practicing jhana with the outlook that this one lifetime is all there is.


That doesn't make any sense because this lifetime is the only one there is in terms of a person called "binocular"

I like this comment from Ajahn Amaro (who's talks at Amaravati monastery I have had the good fortune to attend) in the book " The Good Heart"


“What is reborn ?"

" From the Theravada Buddhist perspective there is no fixed position.
The Buddha described the process of rebirth quite clearly, but he also said that all knowledge is based on personal experience. So when he talks about the idea of death and rebirth in a different realm of existence, this is like a map that he laid out. It is not handed out as something that we as individuals must believe, but more as a pattern that can help describe our experience of reality.

Generally speaking, what is reborn are our habits. That is the essence of it. Whatever the mind holds onto is reborn: what we love, hate, fear, adore, and have opinions about. Our identification with these aspects of the mind has a momentum behind it. Attachment is like a flywheel. Enlightenment is the ending of rebirth, enlightenment is really the natural condition of the mind when its not confused, identified, or caught up with any internal or external object. "



....Ooh look .....we're getting caught up with plenty of opinions in this thread ! I don't know about anyone else but I'm hoping to aim for Nibanna, not rebirth, lol !

:twothumbsup:
Last edited by Aloka on Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Alex123 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:20 am

binocular wrote:Why does it matter what other people may know or not know? Why does it matter whether they are hallucinating or not?


Problem arises when someone who doesn't believe those visions or doubts the validity of that idea is said to have "pride and egotism" as you have said in.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:35 am

I think any meaningful discussion has been exhausted.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com


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