Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Polar Bear
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Polar Bear » Sun May 06, 2012 6:12 am

danieLion wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:he (Aj. Brahm) also sincerely believes that levitation is possible
pilgrim wrote:He shares this outrageous belief with the Buddha..

polarbuddha101 wrote:you cannot say this is true and anything else false

did Gautama tell you personally levitation is real

he might and he might not, have you seen someone levitate, do you know a teacher whom you have tested personally and known for a long time who has seen someone levitate. Did this teacher have any greed, hatred or delusion in themselves. Are you going by scripture, by pondering over scriptural accuracy, by logical inference, by hearsay, or by the competence of a speaker...

how does one preserve truth
polarbuddha101,
Perhaps your Vienna Circle/positivist approach to the Dhamma has reached it's limit. The overlap is fascinating, I'll admit, but at some point it just becomes more speculation and eats into the quality of practice.
:rofl: Vienna Circle positivist, that was a good one I admit. My main point was simply that it is clear human beings cannot touch the sun and it seems highly highly highly improbable that the human mind is capable of bending the laws of physics like we're in the matrix. Furthermore, we can't be sure that the Buddha actually said people could do those things as opposed to them being added to entice those people who won't follow a teaching unless it proclaims supernormal powers have been developed by its adherents or that perhaps that verse was figurative and I think it's strange that an englishman (who apparently understands physics) would promote the 'reality' of such miracles to such a skeptical age, it just seems outta place if you ask me. However, I wouldn't be on this forum if I thought it utterly absurd to think that intentions and actions have longterm consequences, that the human mind is capable of ridding itself of suffering by understanding reality in more 'total' way and by getting rid of hatred, greed and delusion. I don't call rebirth rubbish as it actually seems quite plausible to me, afterall, most things in the universe are recycled. That being said, it seems unconventional to me that Ajahn Brahm would talk about such things, but even I'll admit they may actually be possible (although it seems rather unlikely and every experience I've ever had tells me people can't fly using psychic powers and people defnitly cannot touch the sun). People have to prove their claims, otherwise they are being ridiculous. You can't say, "Oh yes, people can fly but we're not allowed to show you because it doesn't pertain to the goal." If it doesn't pertain to the goal then it isn't right speech in the first place, not that I'm one to talk. I take more of a middle path between logical positivism and belief in baseless assertions. I admit though, there isn't any value in anything I've posted and I will work on posting those things that only pertain to advancing in sila, samadhi and panna from now on. Thank you

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Cittasanto
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Cittasanto » Sun May 06, 2012 7:35 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: :rofl: Vienna Circle positivist, that was a good one I admit. My main point was simply that it is clear human beings cannot touch the sun and it seems highly highly highly improbable that the human mind is capable of bending the laws of physics like we're in the matrix. Furthermore, we can't be sure that the Buddha actually said people could do those things as opposed to them being added to entice those people who won't follow a teaching unless it proclaims supernormal powers have been developed by its adherents or that perhaps that verse was figurative and I think it's strange that an englishman (who apparently understands physics) would promote the 'reality' of such miracles to such a skeptical age, it just seems outta place if you ask me. However, I wouldn't be on this forum if I thought it utterly absurd to think that intentions and actions have longterm consequences, that the human mind is capable of ridding itself of suffering by understanding reality in more 'total' way and by getting rid of hatred, greed and delusion. I don't call rebirth rubbish as it actually seems quite plausible to me, afterall, most things in the universe are recycled. That being said, it seems unconventional to me that Ajahn Brahm would talk about such things, but even I'll admit they may actually be possible (although it seems rather unlikely and every experience I've ever had tells me people can't fly using psychic powers and people defnitly cannot touch the sun). People have to prove their claims, otherwise they are being ridiculous. You can't say, "Oh yes, people can fly but we're not allowed to show you because it doesn't pertain to the goal." If it doesn't pertain to the goal then it isn't right speech in the first place, not that I'm one to talk. I take more of a middle path between logical positivism and belief in baseless assertions. I admit though, there isn't any value in anything I've posted and I will work on posting those things that only pertain to advancing in sila, samadhi and panna from now on. Thank you

:namaste:
Which Physics are you on about? the laws of physics (depending on which branch or sub branch, do not say the mind can not change the world around it, and I believe there is actually observable proof it does, such as an observer changing the behaviour of a particle/wave just by observing! and other experiments into psychic phenomenon have shown some interesting results although not conclusive.
The Buddha did not lie, and the best source of information we have is the canon, sure it is feasible that corruptions came in, however, he obviously found them useful, as do/did others, and just because something does not agree with your views does not make it impossible, or untrue.

Is he a controversial teacher? yes, at times he is, have a look at his vinaya notes and compare what he says to the Vinaya.
or his initial in person dialogue with Amaravati this past year followed by his bad mouthing the place!
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 06, 2012 7:47 am

dhamma_newb wrote:I like Ajahn Brahm he's very funny.
Yes. Sometimes we need a bit of levity to lift us up — all this talk about suffering can get depressing for some people. We do need to keep the levity in check though — teaching the Dhamma should be more than entertaining the audience with jokes. Laughter is childishness in the Noble One's discipline.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by tiltbillings » Sun May 06, 2012 7:59 am

The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta) p. 372, para XXI 17. "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 06, 2012 8:32 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: I think it's strange that an englishman (who apparently understands physics) would promote the 'reality' of such miracles to such a skeptical age, it just seems outta place if you ask me...
So you think AB should fit into the modernist-materialist version of Buddhism because he studied physics?

I think some of us who work in physics (or other sciences) have a more realistic view than non-practitioners: that science is just one of our tool boxes.

If you make the effort to spend some time with long-term practitioners (or, failing that, listen to Dhamma talks by a variety of bhikkhus and lay teachers) you'll find a variety of attitudes towards such things as psychic powers and rebirth (and not just along eastern/western lines).

:anjali:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by rowboat » Sun May 06, 2012 8:40 am

Tilt Billings: The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta) p. 372, para XXI 17. "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding.
In fairness, Tilt Billings, with all due respect, context is everything here. The text you've quoted from the Path of Discrimination refers to laughter that has arisen due to realized awakening. This is not at all the same laughter that Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala was referring to, which is more akin to:

146. When this world is ever ablaze, why this laughter, why this jubilation? Shrouded in darkness, will you not see the light? - Dhp XI. Jaravagga.

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by pilgrim » Sun May 06, 2012 8:47 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:.

you cannot say this is true and anything else false

did Gautama tell you personally levitation is real

he might and he might not, have you seen someone levitate, do you know a teacher whom you have tested personally and known for a long time who has seen someone levitate. Did this teacher have any greed, hatred or delusion in themselves. Are you going by scripture, by pondering over scriptural accuracy, by logical inference, by hearsay, or by the competence of a speaker...
If you have experienced Ubbenka Piti or seen a meditator while he is experiencing Ubbenka Piti, you might not dismisss the possibility of levitation altogether. I have heard credible teachers tell of experiences where they themselves or they have seen meditators jump an inch off the floor or roll off their bums when in this state. Mainstream teachers like Bhante Gunaratana and Nina van Gorkom also say that Ubbenka Piti leads to levitation. None of this means that is desirable though. The point is that what seems fantastic becomes plausible once one has some familiarity with it.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by tiltbillings » Sun May 06, 2012 8:55 am

rowboat wrote:
Tilt Billings: The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta) p. 372, para XXI 17. "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding.
In fairness, Tilt Billings, with all due respect, context is everything here. The text you've quoted from the Path of Discrimination refers to laughter that has arisen due to realized awakening. This is not at all the same laughter that Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala was referring to, which is more akin to:

146. When this world is ever ablaze, why this laughter, why this jubilation? Shrouded in darkness, will you not see the light? - Dhp XI. Jaravagga.

:anjali:
First of all, I was not countering Ven Pesala's msg. In reference to the Dhammapada verse, we should be grim, if not just dour, in our life, our Dhamma practice? Secondly, you are the one misreading the Patisambhidamagga text here. The "laughter, blitheness, content and gladness" precedes the awakening: "Here someone with much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness perfects the virtues . . . ."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Polar Bear » Sun May 06, 2012 9:01 am

1) yes, observing things at the quantum level effects the way particles (waves, unknown third option) act

2) I agree, the Buddha did not lie

3) maybe levitation is possible but all my experience and the generally accepted law of gravity indicates otherwise and I cannot personally conceive of the human mind creating the energy needed for the lift it would take to get off the ground. Plus, I'm pretty sure Theravada buddhism rejects philosophical idealism

4) I just thought it unconventional for an englishman to speak about such things because it seems like it would be more of a turnoff to people than something exciting (especially when nobody actually comes out and levitates in public as far as I know these days) since modern day people want hard evidence (for the most part)

5) No, I don't think AB should become a modernist-materialist just because he's a physicist

6) yes, the views among buddhists vary considerably

7) I apologize for bringing up some needless controversy

8) I'm done posting about such speculatory topics

9) :namaste:

wow, new posts keep coming while I write this

I guess I'll find out for my own someday whether levitation is real or not
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by rowboat » Sun May 06, 2012 9:08 am

First of all, I was not countering Ven Pesala's msg. In reference to the Dhammapada verse, we should be grim, if not just dour, in our life, our Dhamma practice? Secondly, you are the one misreading the Patisambhidamagga text here. The "laughter, blitheness, content and gladness" precedes the awakening: "Here someone with much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness perfects the virtues . . . .
OK.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by mikenz66 » Sun May 06, 2012 9:08 am

As I said above, the Buddha had a progressive approach.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#gradual" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
So, aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/budtch/budteach07.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
At first the Buddha spoke to him on generosity (dāna), morality (sīla), celestial states (sagga), the evils of sensual pleasures (kāmādinava), the blessings of renunciation (nekkhammānisamsa). When He found that his mind was pliable and was ready to appreciate the deeper teaching He taught the Four Noble Truths.
Perhaps some modern teachers have it backwards...

:anjali:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Mr Man » Sun May 06, 2012 9:18 am

The idea that we should ignore the bad qualities/odd views of those in position of authority is really, in my opinion, not great advice.

In my opinion some of what most teachers teach deserves to be flagged up/questioned. There should be no fear or intimidation in either direction and should be part of the learning process for all involved.

:anjali:

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by tiltbillings » Sun May 06, 2012 9:21 am

Mr Man wrote:The idea that we should ignore the bad qualities/odd views of those in position of authority is really, in my opinion, not great advice.
Who determines what is an odd view?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by David2 » Sun May 06, 2012 9:24 am

Mr Man wrote:The idea that we should ignore the bad qualities/odd views of those in position of authority is really, in my opinion, not great advice.
The Buddha taught us to not spent too much time thinking on the bad qualities of others.

There's more than enough work to deal with our own defilements and to get enlightened.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm, unconventional

Post by Cittasanto » Sun May 06, 2012 9:26 am

tiltbillings wrote:
rowboat wrote:
Tilt Billings: The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta) p. 372, para XXI 17. "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding.
In fairness, Tilt Billings, with all due respect, context is everything here. The text you've quoted from the Path of Discrimination refers to laughter that has arisen due to realized awakening. This is not at all the same laughter that Ven. Bhikkhu Pesala was referring to, which is more akin to:

146. When this world is ever ablaze, why this laughter, why this jubilation? Shrouded in darkness, will you not see the light? - Dhp XI. Jaravagga.

:anjali:
First of all, I was not countering Ven Pesala's msg. In reference to the Dhammapada verse, we should be grim, if not just dour, in our life, our Dhamma practice? Secondly, you are the one misreading the Patisambhidamagga text here. The "laughter, blitheness, content and gladness" precedes the awakening: "Here someone with much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness perfects the virtues . . . ."
Don't forget the Buddhas Disciples were called the happy or smiling ones in at least one passage.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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