How to become a person with hope/expectation?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Posts: 7596
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: How to become a person with hope/expectation?

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:04 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:16 pm
chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:57 am
So is the problem with may I be safe etc.
Where I come from, wishing any kind of happiness or wellbeing for oneself is considered very problematic, at least selfish and uncaring and a mark of poor character.
It is also painful to even just think about one's own wellbeing, as in this universe, so many factors are directly opposed to it, so wishing for one's own wellbeing is as absurd as playing the lottery where one's ticket gets destroyed once one buys it.

What if the truth of the matter is that some people (particular persons) would be better off dead, and with that, others would be better off as well?
The law already thinks that way about many people, so it sentences them to the death penalty. Medical doctors also believe that some people are better off dead, so they help or let them die. But there could be more such people, those who don't neatly fit the criteria for "better off dead" set by the law or the medical profession, but who would still be better off dead and where others would be glad that they are dead. In this world, the death of some is required for the happiness of others. This is evident with animals that humans kill for food, with convicted criminals sentenced to the death penalty, with terrorists killed by anti-terrorist forces. But the category of those "better off dead" could be much bigger and more complex.
Good. Study this. Maybe you will develop some compassion....maybe not.

Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: How to become a person with hope/expectation?

Post by binocular » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:32 pm

JohnK wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:03 am
If I hear you right, you are saying blind faith is the only adequate support for practice.

No, I think there are more supports for practice, at least these:
1. blind faith,
2. faith gained in previous lifetimes,
3. faith gained from being born and raised into a particular religion,
4. faith gained from relationships with trustworthy religious people.

My question is about what a person can do for whom none of the above applies.
FWIW, my sense is that one needs "enough" faith or hope or conviction to motivate practice. Perhaps one finds the possibility of liberation compelling and finds the teachings "reasonable enough" to test them out in practice. Or perhaps one's hope is raised by contact with a teacher. Then, through practice, one may begin to see that some of the teachings appear more and more believable (for example, seeing repeatedly that one's clinging to views creates dukkha), which then supports more conviction/trust in the teachings to further motivate practice. Again, FWIW, this approach does not strike me as impossible as you seem to contend.
What you describe above seems too simplistic. In my experience, what has happened is that I became sure of some Buddhist claims, but also of some non-Buddhist ones that run contrary to the Buddhist ones. For example, I find that both clinging to views, as well as not clinging to views produces suffering. So ...
Recall The Shorter Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant's Footprint (MN 27), where the hunter of a bull elephant does not finally conclude that the progressively more convincing signs actually indicate the presence of a bull elephant until he sees the bull elephant for himself. So too, the sutta continues, that a noble disciple going through the sequence of higher trainings does not conclude "The Blessed One is fully enlightened" until for himself the disciple "knows and sees thus, his mind is liberated..." Personally, I find this allowance for not-total-belief encouraging.
It's also an allowance which, if one takes it seriously and as one's guideline, makes it impossible for one to be a member of a Buddhist community.
Because if one wishes to be a member of a Buddhist community, it's not enough to just hope that the Buddha could be enlightened, no, one has to be sure that he was. Of course, it's possible that Buddhist communities consist of noble disicples who have all already personally found the bull elephant, so to speak.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

User avatar
Posts: 1655
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: How to become a person with hope/expectation?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:59 pm

Faith is developed from study. By understanding.
Then there is no doubt.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Dinsdale, Sam Vara and 111 guests