How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

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galharth
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How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by galharth » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am

The Ten Precepts requires abstaining from things like (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dha ... asila.html):

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ? It's destroying the human organism complexity into a creature that just eats and meditates.

It seems to me that the Buddha was aiming for the equivalent of wire-heading (https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Wireheading) but instead of connecting the brain to constant pleasure machine, he is advocating for annihilation of all desire until cessation (para-nirvana).

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budo
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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by budo » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:56 pm

- Nihilism usually assumes complete determinism
- Not all forms of determinism are Nihilistic, for example Albert Camus's determinism is liberating.
- Buddhism isn't neither deterministic nor free-will, but both. Personal responsibility and affecting one's karma is up to the individual.
- Buddhism isn't anti-pleasure, it is only anti sensual pleasure, but not sublime pleasure. Attaining jhana and Nibbana is sublime pleasure. Quality over quantity, you are sacrificing easy to get and abundant sensual pleasures for hard to get and rare sublime pleasures, in other words Delayed Gratification.
- Once one attains sublime pleasure, they realize that intoxicant, other people, noise, and the senses in general are a hindrance to attaining those sublime pleasures

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by AgarikaJ » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:37 pm

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
he is advocating for annihilation of all desire until cessation (para-nirvana).
That is exactly, what he advocates. But why the negative slant to it?

Trying to leave Samsara is a very specific goal that must be chosen with care, and voluntarily. It is not an easy path. And the Buddha made clear, that there are no shortcuts on it, at all (as you alone are responsible for your own progress, no higher being forgiving you any of your stumbles).

But: in case you wish to 'enjoy' all your delusions (leading simply to more suffering down the road), the Buddha does not deny those to you, as they are also within your responsibility alone.
Actually, he has shown very much understanding, if people would wish to live the life of a householder or layman and he gave advice, how he then could life a harmonious and 'happy' life. Reading through this advice, it resembles very much what a couple counselor would tell you nowadays, so quite modern in outlook and applicable even in today's world.

As they say in Thailand: "Up to you!".
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by befriend » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:32 pm

Monks are life affirming and Mara denying. You can't take music with you when you die.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by Manopubbangama » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:17 pm

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
The Ten Precepts requires abstaining from things like (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dha ... asila.html):

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ? It's destroying the human organism complexity into a creature that just eats and meditates.
We can't all live like Ozzy Osbourne and survive as long as him; lots of people that indulge in too much sex, drugs and rock-n-roll sizzle out around the age of 27.

I knew a lot of people that didn't make it to even that age.

I'm not a monk, but I know monks and I can tell you they spend not a lot of time eating, but happen to do quite a bit of activity, probably moreso than most people I know, mostly intellectual pursuits.

For a very good idea of how a non-monk Buddhist may live his life, I think this sutta is a good source:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html
"They too, beholding the Buddha — Kinsman of the sun, mighty and fearless — salute him from afar: 'Homage to thee, who art unique among mankind; glory to thee, the highest among men.' - DN 32

SarathW
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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by SarathW » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:57 pm

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).
Do you think these activities provide a lasting happiness or they make your life more miserable?
Good question by the way and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by rightviewftw » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:56 am

Not disparaging, not injuring,
restraint in line with the Patimokkha,
moderation in food,
dwelling in seclusion,
commitment to the heightened mind:
this is the teaching
of the Awakened.
reduction of a human state to the pursuit of fleeting kicks is the real crime and a waste of intellect.
Dhp;
"If by giving up a lesser happiness, one may behold a greater one, let the wise man give up the lesser happiness in consideration of the greater happiness."
...
Don’t give yourself to negligence,
Don’t devote yourself to sensual pleasure.
Vigilant and absorbed in meditation
One attains abundant happiness.
...
There is no happiness higher than peace.
Nirvana is the foremost happiness
basically it is about cultivating the mind by restraining oneself and ultimately blowing up the darkness;
Punna, grow full with good qualities
like the moon on the fifteenth day.
With discernment at total fullness, burst
the mass
of darkness.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by auto » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:57 pm

These things are regards to what you do progress.

Abstinence from nourishment indulgence is for to cause the icecaps to melt and the water to flow through stream into a pond, that pond will be identified. It will be a source for nutriment for being to arise.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Then Ven. Ananda approached the nun and, on arrival, sat down on a prepared seat. As he was sitting there, he said to the nun: "This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.
"This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.
"This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.
"This body comes into being through sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is to be abandoned. With regard to sexual intercourse, the Buddha declares the cutting off of the bridge.
"'This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said?
There is the case, sister, where a monk, considering it thoughtfully, takes food — not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification — but simply for the survival & continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life, [thinking,] 'Thus will I destroy old feelings [of hunger] and not create new feelings [from overeating]. I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in comfort.' Then he eventually abandons food, having relied on food. 'This body, sister, comes into being through food. And yet it is by relying on food that food is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.
see from where the play, intoxication, beautification comes into play? it doesn't say you should stop gaming, but you should stop gaming for fun, gaming for to survive another day is allowed because it is used to abandon gaming.

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DooDoot
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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:26 am

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).
The above things are pursued for the purpose of feeling "pleasure" (which is called "sensual pleasure").
galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
Ijust eats and meditates.
Meditation is pursued for the purpose of feeling "pleasure" (which is called "non-sensual pleasure") .

The Buddha said "non-sensual pleasure" is far superior to and without the drawbacks (negative side-effects) of "sensual pleasure".

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:14 am

I do ask myself the same questions. Buddhism appears to be an extreme and life denying based on a certain perspective, that life is the daily activities most of us are busy dealing with, then this reality is divided into two sets of actions, wholesome and unwholesome, then the rest of the teachings is encouraging you to stay away from that which is unwholesome when in fact it is what makes your existence bearable.

The problem with the teachings is that it does not mention the positive much but focuses on the negative, and even when this positive is mentioned, it is unclear and something most of us cannot relate to.

I think the real significance of Buddhism is known to very few people. I also think that most of us here are still scratching the surface and would most probably die doing so.

Maybe Buddhism does not deny sensuality only because its evil or bad, but because it keeps us entangled in our pity concerns blinding us from what is real. The harm caused to oneself and the other can be good enough reasons to stay away from sensuality, but maybe it is not the most important one.

I admit that the above is highly speculative, so it only reflects my personal opinion.
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.

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:54 pm

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ?
All of the items on your list are about sensual pleasure or comfort. Life is not about seeking or indulging in sensual pleasure or comfort, in fact I'd argue that seeking these experiences and avoiding others is not life affirming as it implies you only want half of what life has to offer.

If you want to make an argument that being a Theravadin monk is life denying the fact that it aims to avoid future rebirths is probably a much better one.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by SarathW » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:25 pm

budo wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:56 pm
- Nihilism usually assumes complete determinism
- Not all forms of determinism are Nihilistic, for example Albert Camus's determinism is liberating.
- Buddhism isn't neither deterministic nor free-will, but both. Personal responsibility and affecting one's karma is up to the individual.
- Buddhism isn't anti-pleasure, it is only anti sensual pleasure, but not sublime pleasure. Attaining jhana and Nibbana is sublime pleasure. Quality over quantity, you are sacrificing easy to get and abundant sensual pleasures for hard to get and rare sublime pleasures, in other words Delayed Gratification.
- Once one attains sublime pleasure, they realize that intoxicant, other people, noise, and the senses in general are a hindrance to attaining those sublime pleasures
:goodpost:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by paul » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:25 pm

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).
If it is thought these things lead to happiness then the duty of the first noble truth hasn’t been completed:
"This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended."---SN 56.11
One thing everybody can study is the fact that everything (except nibbana) is impermanent, so cannot lead to permanent pleasure.

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by 2600htz » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:38 pm

galharth wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:46 am
The Ten Precepts requires abstaining from things like (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dha ... asila.html):

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ? It's destroying the human organism complexity into a creature that just eats and meditates.

It seems to me that the Buddha was aiming for the equivalent of wire-heading (https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Wireheading) but instead of connecting the brain to constant pleasure machine, he is advocating for annihilation of all desire until cessation (para-nirvana).
Hello:

Well it depends on what you mean by being nihilistic or life-denying, there is no categorical answer to your question.

Are you stating that being completely expressive of human instinct and human nature is being open to life, and anything that goes against that is life-denying?. My guess is that no, probably you think its ok to supress and not indulge in the action of raping someone, or killing someone, even if thats what you desire. You probably have a problem with the idea of abstaining from occasional drugs, music and nice beds (because this are the "pleasures of life", "what makes us human"). The problem with that idea is that monks seem to be more happy than lay people, even "the happiest man alive" is a french buddhism monk, according to several articles and studies (actually i don`t think its true, but he probably is happier than 99,99% of the population). So you have a monk, a representative of the model you are thinking its reducing the human organism complexity to eating and meditating, giving TED talks, writing books, helping and interacting with millions of people... It doesn`t add. But its a normal reaction when we start thinking about ascetism.



Regards.

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Re: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

Post by dylanj » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:01 am

there are plenty of things outside of sensuality which one can pursue & find happiness in, even as a layperson. the fact that you find these precepts so despairingly restrictive shows the small-minded & narrow outlook of one who is addicted to sensuality, & that is the very reason Buddhists don't want anything to do with these things. the buddha does not say to abstain from pleasure, he says these things are in actuality harmful & true happiness lies beyond them. really you should question why you think negating these things negates all of life. does your life not involve acts of charity, compassion, pursuit of self-mastery, friendship, the pursuit of health, & plenty of other wholesome things that have nothing to do with mindless entertainment? If no, why?


so negating bad thigns & promoting a deep, ocean-wide array of good paths to follow is certainly not nihilistic
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all assets, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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