Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:51 am

PeterB wrote:Certainly his experience as a monk under a Tibetan teacher who seems to have combined some fairly superstious views with a very heavy handed approach to teaching, seems likely to have shaped his views. A teacher btw who also made his own opposition to vipassana practise clear.
This was my impression too.

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ground
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by ground » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:19 am

PeterB wrote:Certainly his experience as a monk under a Tibetan teacher who seems to have combined some fairly superstious views with a very heavy handed approach to teaching, seems likely to have shaped his views. A teacher btw who also made his own opposition to vipassana practise clear.
This sounds interesting. What are your reasons for those statements? I mean "superstious views" are widespread among all traditions in terms of their followers not necessarily in terms of the doctrines of the traditions. E.g. in the tibetan tradition there is a lineage of logical reasoning which actually teaches a perfect antidot against superstition.
So what would you consider superstition in the context of your statement?
And on what grounds do you say "A teacher btw who also made his own opposition to vipassana practise clear"? To my knowledge vipassana is a foundation in the tibetan tradition.


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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by PeterB » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:17 am

I know about Rabten's opposition to Vipassana both from reading Batchelor on the subject and because Batchelor told me that Rabten was very discouraging of his or anyones practising it.
As to superstition, as I gather you are a Vajrayana practitioner it is perhaps more in keeping wirh Right Speech if I simply withdraw those words rather than detail my meaning to you.

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by ground » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:55 pm

PeterB wrote:I know about Rabten's opposition to Vipassana both from reading Batchelor on the subject and because Batchelor told me that Rabten was very discouraging of his or anyones practising it.
I suspect that you are referring to a certain kind of vipassana meditation. Of course the tradition of Rabten teaches vipassana. However "their" vipassana may not comply with "your" vipassana or the one suitable for Batchelor.
Batchelor may just have picked the "wrong" tradition, i.e. the tradition not suitable for him. Such things happen. Sometimes people do things due to strange "reasons".

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:15 pm

TMingyur wrote:
PeterB wrote:I know about Rabten's opposition to Vipassana both from reading Batchelor on the subject and because Batchelor told me that Rabten was very discouraging of his or anyones practising it.
I suspect that you are referring to a certain kind of vipassana meditation. Of course the tradition of Rabten teaches vipassana. However "their" vipassana may not comply with "your" vipassana or the one suitable for Batchelor.
Batchelor may just have picked the "wrong" tradition, i.e. the tradition not suitable for him. Such things happen. Sometimes people do things due to strange "reasons".
Batchelor, if I recall correctly, did a vipassana course with Goenka. Now, why would that be wrong?
>> 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: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by ground » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
PeterB wrote:I know about Rabten's opposition to Vipassana both from reading Batchelor on the subject and because Batchelor told me that Rabten was very discouraging of his or anyones practising it.
I suspect that you are referring to a certain kind of vipassana meditation. Of course the tradition of Rabten teaches vipassana. However "their" vipassana may not comply with "your" vipassana or the one suitable for Batchelor.
Batchelor may just have picked the "wrong" tradition, i.e. the tradition not suitable for him. Such things happen. Sometimes people do things due to strange "reasons".
Batchelor, if I recall correctly, did a vipassana course with Goenka. Now, why would that be wrong?
I don't know. My position is that everything that is "good" for the practitioner as long as it is buddhist it is okay.

However I know that in Rabten's school "Zen-like" meditation types are not considered "right". But as far as I know Goenka's cannot be considered "Zen-like".

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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Tue May 04, 2010 2:20 pm

You know, it's funny. Years ago, this whole issue of rebirth, the accepting/rejecting/agnostic approachs, seemed so important to me. I felt I had to have some clear position on the issue, as if my practice could not progress without having some certainty first.

Now it really feels like a non-issue. Whatever is, is. Practicing kindness, insight into impermanence and not-self, developing equanimity & concentration: this is all that matters now. My white-knuckled grip on the need for certainty over doctrinal issues has somehow dropped by the wayside. Maybe there are answers for certain things. In which case, good. Maybe for other things there are no factual answers to be had. Just as good. Wait and see.

I'm starting to see the value behind Seung Sahn's admonition to "always keep don't know mind."

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 2:33 pm

And what exactly does " always keep dont know mind " equate to if translated into something approaching English ? Throw out our discriminating faculty ? Emulate children ? Divest ourselves of our education in order to discover our inner noble savage ? Or what ?
Its the kind of sentiment which in a certain context is assumed to be self explanatory...but as far as I am concerned is not.
If in a Buddhist context i dont know something I turn to the Canon, and I wrestle with its meaning.
Afterwards I may or may not know more about whatever...but at least I do not know on a more informed level..
It seems to me that there are other alternatives to " white knuckle certainty " on the one hand and leaving our head at the door on the other.
Last edited by PeterB on Tue May 04, 2010 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Tue May 04, 2010 3:35 pm

Hah. I take it as staying away from the need to cling to certainty, or attachment to views.

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 3:39 pm

Whats wrong with certainty or views ? Batchelor has views. And he is cerain about what he finds unhelpful.
When did views become a bad thing...out side of certain interpretations of Zen ?

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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Tue May 04, 2010 3:50 pm

PeterB wrote:Whats wrong with certainty or views ? Batchelor has views. And he is cerain about what he finds unhelpful.
When did views become a bad thing...out side of certain interpretations of Zen ?
There's nothing wrong with certainty. The problem is with clinging to certainty.

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 3:55 pm

I think the importance of clinging is overstated. We all cling to the degree that Insight has not arisen. Until then its just a question of what we cling to. If its money its more obvious. If its views its a bit less obvious. If its to the idea of not having views its even less obvious...but just as persistant. We often have views witha minus sign in front of them and think we dont have views.. :smile:

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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Tue May 04, 2010 3:57 pm

Incidentally, here's Batchelor's take on it:
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Nibbida
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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by Nibbida » Tue May 04, 2010 4:01 pm

PeterB wrote:I think the importance of clinging is overstated. We all cling to the degree that Insight has not arisen. Until then its just a question of what we cling to. If its money its more obvious. If its views its a bit less obvious. If its to the idea of not having views its even less obvious...but just as persistant. We often have views witha minus sign in front of them and think we dont have views.. :smile:
Yeah, that makes sense. It's like we would have to go on a constant cling hunt to see what subtle (or not-so-subtle) thing or idea we're clinging to at any given moment. I don't know how not to cling yet. All I could say maybe is that the death grip I had several years ago has loosened up a little. It's like all that clinging makes a "cramp" and when you loosen it, even just a little bit, there's a sense of relief.

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Re: Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist

Post by PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 4:10 pm

Good for you..

:anjali:

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