binocular wrote: ↑
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:56 pm
I think you're taking yourself (ie. a person -- a person with specific needs, interests, and concerns) out of the equation too quickly.
It looks like you're trying to depersonalize religious choice. You might ask yourself how so.
The path itself is not personal. In fact, the teachings identify taking things personal as primary cause of suffering (self view). The teachings are something to be used skillfully and to let go of after achieving its purpose (the raft simile) .
If the ultimate goal is reduced to ending or reducing suffering, there are many ways of doing so. I don't see a Buddhist, by virtue of being so, suffering less than any other human being. If he/she are suffering less, it is because they are relying on knowledge that is more reliable.
The interrelationship between reliability, vulnerability and knowledge is essential in my opinion. The focus on impermanence has to do with lack of reliability and/or vulnerability. Accordingly, the path becomes letting go of the less reliable and holding into the more reliable , gradually, until reaching certainty (the ultimate reliability, nibbana).
People have been envying stones for millennia -- those (shiny) things that don't suffer. They kill and die for diamonds, for example. Your point is moot.
We seem to be living in different plants. Where i live, people don't envy stones
, but might envy others who possess certain types of stones due to associations with status and value. Reducing the ultimate goal to "ending suffering" would make stones
enviable due to their lack of suffering or ability to suffer (same as the Arahant).
So, my question is valid: if all we care about is to end suffering, then why we don't envy stones?
Framing it like that already lands you in Buddhism (where you don't seem to be too keen on being).
I don't deny that framing it like that is appealing to some people. My initial interest in Buddhism was not through the four noble truths, but a symbolic story interpreting being rich as being content. It amazed me how a simple change of language would change perception.
Pretty much every human can relate to suffering, but very few can relate to "ignorance of the Four Noble Truths".
Not really. Most people crave for certain types of knowledge to gain power.
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness.
But I'm not sure that this is how the Buddha layed out his teachings after he became enlightened. Nor is it how we are supposed to approach them.
Rather, the salient point is that suffering is the only relevant problem, the only problem worth solving, the only problem worth focusing on.
In the four noble truths, suffering is presented as "the problem". In DO, ignorance (not knowing) is presented as the root cause:
Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the whip, be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning. By faith and moral purity, by effort and meditation, by investigation of the truth, by being rich in knowledge and virtue, and by being mindful, destroy this unlimited suffering.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
This was the last word of the Tathagata.