Cannot believe in magical things

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Ben » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:06 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:One who practises mindfulness of the body, knows the “taste” of nibbāna. One who does not practice mindfulness of the body, does not know the “taste” of nibbāna.
Sadhu!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Alex123 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:15 pm

Bhante,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Is nibbāna any easier to understand and to know than heaven or hell, devas or goblins, or the thoughts of others? Surely, it is only through using our intelligence and imagination that we can have faith in such a state, and strive to realise it?
To me, it is far easier to understand in theory nibbāna (as absence of greed, anger and delusion) than Rain Devas, Nagas, Heaven, Hell, devas or goblins.


With best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2464
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by manas » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:29 am

Viscid wrote: I don't see why you should need to 'sacrifice' anything in order to be open to the possibility of rebirth. There would only be a 'sacrifice' if one had very strong conviction in their denial of rebirth.
I used to think agnosticism was ok on this issue, but I think that to really prgress in the Dhamma we need to do better than that:
The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.

[1] "Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.
What I am 'sacrificing' is my comfortable agnosticism. I'm tired of sitting on the fence. This issue is too important to be agnostic about.

with metta.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4999
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:20 am

reflection wrote:... following the dhamma already makes the current life better, not only potential next lifes. I for example prefer meditation over money, rebirth or no rebirth. A lot of people think and experience this way.
In support of this position: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:namaste:
Kim

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Viscid » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:56 am

manasikara wrote:And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view
This to me still says that the denial of such things is wrong view. Right view may consist of a belief in rebirth, but I do not believe that such a belief is to be founded on blind faith. Rather, right view and its associated insight into the process of rebirth is gained by directly knowing and realizing it.

I can't see what advantage having blind faith in rebirth has-- it does not serve to make the Four Noble Truths or the Noble Eightfold Path any more relevant.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

User avatar
reflection
Posts: 1116
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by reflection » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:03 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
reflection wrote:... following the dhamma already makes the current life better, not only potential next lifes. I for example prefer meditation over money, rebirth or no rebirth. A lot of people think and experience this way.
In support of this position: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:namaste:
Kim
:goodpost:
Nice, I forgot about that one.

Let me quote it here:
With regard to this, a wise person considers thus: 'If there is the next world, then this venerable person — on the break-up of the body, after death — will reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world. Even if we didn't speak of the next world, and there weren't the true statement of those venerable brahmans & contemplatives, this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the wise as a person of good habits & right view: one who holds to a doctrine of existence. If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a good throw twice, in that he is praised by the wise here-&-now; and in that — with the break-up of the body, after death — he will reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.

Buckwheat
Posts: 958
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Buckwheat » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:11 am

There are similar statements in the Kalama Sutta. Rebirth or No-Rebirth, Kamma or No-Kamma, one will be better off by practicing virtue, training the mind, and developing wisdom. At the same time, it is pointed out in other places that the spiritual practice will grow even deeper once there is confidence in the more "magical" aspects of the dhamma. Finally, there is a large difference between developing trust in the Buddhadhamma :sage: and blind faith. :evil:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2464
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by manas » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:46 am

Viscid wrote:
manasikara wrote:And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view
This to me still says that the denial of such things is wrong view. Right view may consist of a belief in rebirth, but I do not believe that such a belief is to be founded on blind faith. Rather, right view and its associated insight into the process of rebirth is gained by directly knowing and realizing it.

I can't see what advantage having blind faith in rebirth has-- it does not serve to make the Four Noble Truths or the Noble Eightfold Path any more relevant.
Hi Viscid,

actually we have no real difference of opinion on this. I mean, I know we cannot will ourselves into blindly believing something, nor would I want to, nor should we. But that's not really what I was trying to say above.

Like I said I don't think we really disagree, maybe I wasn't clear enough when I said I no longer wish to be agnostic about it. I was not implying that I've suddenly started believing it, despite not having directly perceived it yet. It's more that I am trying to frame my life more in reference to it, on the reasonable assumption that it probably is true. That's where I'm at with it, at this stage.

:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:09 am

Viscid wrote:I don't see why you should need to 'sacrifice' anything in order to be open to the possibility of rebirth. There would only be a 'sacrifice' if one had very strong conviction in their denial of rebirth. A conviction born of ego, a bias one should willingly renounce. If you do not directly perceive a process which occurs after death, you do not need to have a personal opinion on the matter. Your affirmation or denial of rebirth doesn't make it any more or less true.
Well said. Blind disbelief can be as much of a hindrance as blind belief.

Spiny

User avatar
Spiny O'Norman
Posts: 851
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 8:46 am
Location: Suffolk, England

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Spiny O'Norman » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:11 am

Buckwheat wrote: Finally, there is a large difference between developing trust in the Buddhadhamma :sage: and blind faith. :evil:
Agreed. But there is also a large difference between keeping an open-mind and rejecting those teachings which don't fit with one's ( current ) personal belief system.

Spiny

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:47 pm

pedro1985 wrote: But after reading about them alot, I noticed that I honestly cannot believe that rebirth, gods, deva's, etc are real. Neither do I believe that the Buddha had any magical powers. I believe he was a man without any magical powers at all, who was not able to fly, nor could he read someones thoughts from a large distance.

Nevertheless, the rest of what is explained in the suttas: 8-fold path, 4 noble truths, meditation; are very usefull. I try to follow this teachings every day.
:goodpost:

Ditto!

I agree with Richard Dawkin's that human beings evolved with a psychological "need" for "religion" ( see his theory in his book "The God Delusion" ). I think otherwise rational people not raised in Buddhism, being unaware of this vulnerability, get swept up with the powerful experiences of meditation and the camaraderie of community to become "Buddhist" with beliefs they would never otherwise endorse.
Last edited by Jhana4 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

plwk
Posts: 1464
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:14 am

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by plwk » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:08 pm

Sigh...

Otsom
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:30 pm

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Otsom » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:49 pm

.
Last edited by Otsom on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:15 pm

Otsom wrote: In my opinion these 'magical things' are similar to this Dhamma mentioned above. I have no experiences of these, they are not 'real' for me, but I'm in no position to claim that others can't have such experiences.
That isn't what the original poster wrote. He wrote that he couldn't believe in those things.

I was in the museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. the other weak. On one of the video monitors were cartoons portraying the religious stories of one of the North American native nations. The story I watched was about a man's wife who swam off with a talking otter. After returning, she had the otters son. Her husband treated the otter's son with kindness so the otter told him all the secrets of the other animals so he could more easily hunt them.

The literal content of this story is ridiculous to me ( though I value the lesson of showing kindness in strained circumstances ) and I don't feel any need to allow that other people "can't have such experiences". Yet, this story is not the slightest bit more fanciful than some of the myths in the Pali Canon. However, I feel compelled to give more respect to those myths than the native American story I paraphrased. Why?

My intuition is that I have spent more time exposing myself to the Pali Canon and more time exposing myself to intelligent people who believe those myths have some sort of reality. Human beings are pack animals like chimpanzees and dogs. Other people believing X bolster the belief of X in ourselves and vice-versa in my opinion. That is why we have religious wars......even Buddhists, because someone not sharing your belief will tend to shake your faith in it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

User avatar
Alexei
Posts: 144
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:51 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Cannot believe in magical things

Post by Alexei » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:37 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I agree with Richard Dawkin's that human beings evolved with a psychological "need" for "religion" ( see his theory in his book "The God Delusion" ). I think otherwise rational people not raised in Buddhism, being unaware of this vulnerability, get swept up with the powerful experiences of meditation and the camaraderie of community to become "Buddhist" with beliefs they would never otherwise endorse.
It can be said that these people have karmic connection, so they are fond of Buddhism. Religion can't be disproved :tongue:

By the way, I find Pascal Boyer reasons more substantial.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bundokji, gonflable, rightviewftw, TRobinson465 and 91 guests