I don't get Buddhism

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:21 pm

Buddhist Retreat
Why I gave up on finding my religion.
By JOHN HORGAN at Slate Magazine

For a 2,500-year-old religion, Buddhism seems remarkably compatible with our scientifically oriented culture, which may explain its surging popularity here in America.


On the other hand, most scientists don't speak of enlightened behavior reconfiguring into karma reconfiguring into life after death reconfiguring into "a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism."

No, I suspect that, as with all other religious denominations, it is popular because it allows the believer to subsume "I" in that which is construed to be enlightenment such that oblivion itself is subsumed in that which is construed to be the "afterlife".

Life has meaning and purpose and it doesn't end when we die. For me, religion in a nutshell. This and the stuff Marx focused on. Though here of course, for some, it seems to be about something else instead. Like, say, meditating?

Over the last 15 years, the number of Buddhist centers in the United States has more than doubled, to well over 1,000.


Okay, perhaps Buddhists here might contact the one nearest them and inquire into how many would like to join us at ILP in discussing their religion. I'm figuring there might actually be a few willing to focus in on that which most interest me about religion: morality here and now, immortality there and then. In particular given that Buddhism is a No God religion. I'm still completely baffled as what in the universe actually brings about reincarnation and Nirvana. Or the "out there" which ultimately determines the existential parameters of enlightenment.

As many as 4 million Americans now practice Buddhism, surpassing the total of Episcopalians. Of these Buddhists, half have post-graduate degrees, according to one survey. Recently, convergences between science and Buddhism have been explored in a slew of books—including Zen and the Brain and The Psychology of Awakening—and scholarly meetings. Next fall Harvard will host a colloquium titled “Investigating the Mind,” where leading cognitive scientists will swap theories with the Dalai Lama. Just the other week the New York Times hailed the “rapprochement between modern science and ancient [Buddhist] wisdom.”


So, of these 4 million Buddhists here in America and the other 531 million around the globe, there must be more than just a handful that are willing to discuss this "rapprochement" as it relates to the existential parameters of religion that most intrigue me: identity, value judgments, political economy.

Out in a particular context as that relates to behaviors deemed right or wrong...as that relates to the fate of "I" on the other side of the grave.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:23 pm

phyllo wrote:"If you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind."


On the other hand [mine], speak of what? :-k

For example:

Mary says she is pregnant.

Is there a way to determine if this is true?
Is there a way to determine, given her behaviors, that, biologically, it was necessarily true that she would become pregnant?
Is there a way to determine if in fact this pregnancy is the embodiment of "kindness"?

Mary says she had an abortion.

Is there a way to determine if this is true?
Is there a way to determine if it was necessary for her to abort her baby/fetus?
Is there a way to determine if this abortion is the embodiment of "kindness"

And, given the nature of this thread, how would any particular one of us have to "get" Buddhism so as to grasp either the pregnancy or the abortion as the embodiment of enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana?
Last edited by iambiguous on Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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iambiguous: an exchange between Pedro and Smears?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:36 pm

iambiguous wrote:Buddhist Retreat
Why I gave up on finding my religion.
By JOHN HORGAN at Slate Magazine

For a 2,500-year-old religion, Buddhism seems remarkably compatible with our scientifically oriented culture, which may explain its surging popularity here in America.


On the other hand, most scientists don't speak of enlightened behavior reconfiguring into karma reconfiguring into life after death reconfiguring into "a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism."

No, I suspect that, as with all other religious denominations, it is popular because it allows the believer to subsume "I" in that which is construed to be enlightenment such that oblivion itself is subsumed in that which is construed to be the "afterlife".

Life has meaning and purpose and it doesn't end when we die. For me, religion in a nutshell. This and the stuff Marx focused on. Though here of course, for some, it seems to be about something else instead. Like, say, meditating?

Over the last 15 years, the number of Buddhist centers in the United States has more than doubled, to well over 1,000.


Okay, perhaps Buddhists here might contact the one nearest them and inquire into how many would like to join us at ILP in discussing their religion. I'm figuring there might actually be a few willing to focus in on that which most interest me about religion: morality here and now, immortality there and then. In particular given that Buddhism is a No God religion. I'm still completely baffled as what in the universe actually brings about reincarnation and Nirvana. Or the "out there" which ultimately determines the existential parameters of enlightenment.

As many as 4 million Americans now practice Buddhism, surpassing the total of Episcopalians. Of these Buddhists, half have post-graduate degrees, according to one survey. Recently, convergences between science and Buddhism have been explored in a slew of books—including Zen and the Brain and The Psychology of Awakening—and scholarly meetings. Next fall Harvard will host a colloquium titled “Investigating the Mind,” where leading cognitive scientists will swap theories with the Dalai Lama. Just the other week the New York Times hailed the “rapprochement between modern science and ancient [Buddhist] wisdom.”


So, of these 4 million Buddhists here in America and the other 531 million around the globe, there must be more than just a handful that are willing to discuss this "rapprochement" as it relates to the existential parameters of religion that most intrigue me: identity, value judgments, political economy.

Out in a particular context as that relates to behaviors deemed right or wrong...as that relates to the fate of "I" on the other side of the grave.


Go to a Buddhist forum website and talk to them.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:52 pm

phyllo wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Buddhist Retreat
Why I gave up on finding my religion.
By JOHN HORGAN at Slate Magazine

For a 2,500-year-old religion, Buddhism seems remarkably compatible with our scientifically oriented culture, which may explain its surging popularity here in America.


On the other hand, most scientists don't speak of enlightened behavior reconfiguring into karma reconfiguring into life after death reconfiguring into "a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism."

No, I suspect that, as with all other religious denominations, it is popular because it allows the believer to subsume "I" in that which is construed to be enlightenment such that oblivion itself is subsumed in that which is construed to be the "afterlife".

Life has meaning and purpose and it doesn't end when we die. For me, religion in a nutshell. This and the stuff Marx focused on. Though here of course, for some, it seems to be about something else instead. Like, say, meditating?

Over the last 15 years, the number of Buddhist centers in the United States has more than doubled, to well over 1,000.


Okay, perhaps Buddhists here might contact the one nearest them and inquire into how many would like to join us at ILP in discussing their religion. I'm figuring there might actually be a few willing to focus in on that which most interest me about religion: morality here and now, immortality there and then. In particular given that Buddhism is a No God religion. I'm still completely baffled as what in the universe actually brings about reincarnation and Nirvana. Or the "out there" which ultimately determines the existential parameters of enlightenment.

As many as 4 million Americans now practice Buddhism, surpassing the total of Episcopalians. Of these Buddhists, half have post-graduate degrees, according to one survey. Recently, convergences between science and Buddhism have been explored in a slew of books—including Zen and the Brain and The Psychology of Awakening—and scholarly meetings. Next fall Harvard will host a colloquium titled “Investigating the Mind,” where leading cognitive scientists will swap theories with the Dalai Lama. Just the other week the New York Times hailed the “rapprochement between modern science and ancient [Buddhist] wisdom.”


So, of these 4 million Buddhists here in America and the other 531 million around the globe, there must be more than just a handful that are willing to discuss this "rapprochement" as it relates to the existential parameters of religion that most intrigue me: identity, value judgments, political economy.

Out in a particular context as that relates to behaviors deemed right or wrong...as that relates to the fate of "I" on the other side of the grave.


Go to a Buddhist forum website and talk to them.


I've discussed this already.

Before I commit what little time I have left to doing something like that, I would like someone here to demonstrate to me why and how Buddhism addresses the issues that are of most concern to me in regard to religion: living morally on this side of the grave so as to attain an afterlife for "I".

Now, if this is also important to others, how do they know that their own religious/spiritual path reflects the best of all possible worlds? Wouldn't they too have to dive down deep into all of the hundreds and hundreds of other religious denominations in order to determine if perhaps their path was the better one?

With so much at stake on both sides of the grave?

You yourself for example?

So, by all means, keep us informed.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:06 pm

Yeah, that's it. You won't make the slightest effort, you won't lift your little finger.

And all the time you keep expressing an interest and saying how important this stuff is.

You really, really want to discuss this with Buddhists but only as long as they do everything and you don't have to do anything. They have to come here and convince you. You need only to judge them.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:29 pm

phyllo wrote: Yeah, that's it. You won't make the slightest effort, you won't lift your little finger.


Wait, what about this part:

Before I commit what little time I have left to doing something like that, I would like someone here to demonstrate to me why and how Buddhism addresses the issues that are of most concern to me in regard to religion: living morally on this side of the grave so as to attain an afterlife for "I".

Now, if this is also important to others, how do they know that their own religious/spiritual path reflects the best of all possible worlds? Wouldn't they too have to dive down deep into all of the hundreds and hundreds of other religious denominations in order to determine if perhaps their path was the better one?


Why is your complaint here only applicable to me and not you? Do you consider moral behavior important on this side of the grave? Are you interested in knowing the fate of "I" on the other side of it?

Well, in regard to religion, literally millions and millions and millions and millions of us are. They may be on a particular religious/spiritual path but with so much at stake on both sides of the abyss, should they or should they not be contacting all the other religious denominations to test their own faith against them?


phyllo wrote: And all the time you keep expressing an interest and saying how important this stuff is.


Yep, that's why I'm here. So, to the Buddhists and all the other denominations I ask, "Where's the beef?". Before I explore your own path more in depth what are you able to provide to me -- link me to -- that closes the gap between what you think or believe about morality here and now and immortality there and then, and what you are able to demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to think and believe in turn.

This being a philosophy venue and me being someone intent on focusing the beam on the points I raise here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

phyllo wrote: You really, really want to discuss this with Buddhists but only as long as they do everything and you don't have to do anything. They have to come here and convince you. You need only to judge them.


No, this is you claiming to get me more than either one of us claiming to get or not to get Buddhism.

Again, though, sure, if "I" do say so myself, Mr. Objectivist.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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iambiguous: an exchange between Pedro and Smears?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:39 pm

If I want to understand Buddhism, then I have to go and find out about it.

I need to ask someone about it.

And if he/she tells me about Buddhism, he is doing something valuable for me. I'm not doing him a favor by asking about it.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:35 pm

phyllo wrote:If I want to understand Buddhism, then I have to go and find out about it.

I need to ask someone about it.

And if he/she tells me about Buddhism, he is doing something valuable for me. I'm not doing him a favor by asking about it.


Note to others:

His point in relationship to mine? You tell me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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iambiguous: an exchange between Pedro and Smears?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:38 pm

](*,)

What a waste of time.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:59 pm

phyllo wrote:](*,)

What a waste of time.


You know, if "he" does say so himself. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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iambiguous: an exchange between Pedro and Smears?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby phyllo » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:18 pm

Is there anyone here interested in discussing Buddhism?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:23 pm

phyllo wrote:Is there anyone here interested in discussing Buddhism?


In other words, on his terms. Given his own assumptions about what a "proper discussion" of Buddhism is. [-o<

Me? I make it clear that my own interest in religion revolves around the manner in which someone intertwines their religious faith in the behaviors that they choose from day to day insofar as this involves conflicting goods insofar as this involves one's fate on the other side of the grave.

Given particular contexts most here will be familiar with.

Not interested in that? Think that a discussion of religion should focus instead on other things? Fine. But I would advise you to steer clear of my posts as I will tug the exchange back to that which I do deem to be the most important function of religion "for all practical purposes": morality and immortality.

This and the focus of thinkers like Marx. The politics of religion.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:51 am

phyllo wrote:Is there anyone here interested in discussing Buddhism?

I do try to put my pet peeve in the context of Buddhism :D.

That said, I prefer, though also reject Hinduism - perhaps a little comparative religion could be interesting. Hinduism is a vast number of religions, really, and the version I participated in was a kind of Kashmir Shaivism. I preferred Hinduism because it is personified. Instead of nothingness,you have one of the deities (Shiva, though also Parvati in this case). That's just simply homier. That one is merging with nothingness or focused on it is less appealing to me than merging with, connecting with a more personified someone, even if it is so terribly different from a friend. Shaivism, as a bhakti (devotional, heart-based religion), also allowed more passion than Buddhism (at least as I experienced Buddhism in both the East and the West.) Buddhism was more controlled, more judgmental of emotions, and, to me, had a poor aesthetic musically. I really loved the chanting, which included really long texts, early in the morning before sunrise, and also shorter repetitive ones at other times in the day. These were expressive, not monotone, like much Buddhist chanting, passionate and with increasing intensity. IOW LIFE!!! They were also extremely respectful of other traditions, including Buddhism and Christianity (in fact they celebrated Jesus' birthday where I was and considered him a special being). Iamb's idea that they all think their path is the only one is simply wrong, though I do get where he gets this idea. However one should be responsible to dealing with the best examples of what one disagrees with, not the easier targets. Unless the goal is just to reassure yourself.

Two guiding metaphors were service and surrender. A class based metaphor (not surprising in a society with caste systems built in forever) and a war based metaphor.

As time went I on I had a number of problems with the system but compared to Buddhism what I noticed, regardless of temple or ashram or center, East or West, was the HIndus were more fluid, less judgmental of sex and emotions (even seeing a kind of cosmic sex as central to creation), and freer. There is a coldness to Buddhism and a head focus that bothered (bothers) me.

For me I want practices that lead to me being more of myself. Now that can be torn apart philosophically, but if you have experienced movement away from being at war with yourself, then you can understand it as pointing at states that feel better, at least to some people. Or more right, this is me. Buddhism seemed even further away from this than Hinduism, despite the latters many problems.

Sure, cut yourself off from your desire and you will be disappointed less. You will be less, less to hurt. I have empathy for the pain and concern that led to Siddheatha's assumptions and choices, especially since I know well how much pain there is 'in there'. But if I am going to cut my nose off to avoid bad smells, it is not worth it for me.

There's an awkwardness, a stiltedness to the Buddhist person's presence and movements. I met the Dalai Lama briefly, after a talk. I am sure he can waltz around all sorts of meditative states, but man what a boring speaker. Give me a good blues song, or even a junkie talking about how hard it is to stay clean over even the better speeches of masters.

On the positive side: Buddhist meditation was calming and gave me a new angle on inner space, interiority, and awareness of myself. I think detachment is an options that is useful, though it is not what I want to make primary. I love the Zen tales, though that is not the tradition in Buddhism that I practiced. It felt like Zen began to move towards a kind of body freedom and an associational freedom not found in other traditions of Buddhism. Not really an emotional freedom, but at least one could be more spontaneous.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Ecmandu » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:09 pm

Karpel,

Your experience with Buddhism is more head than body. And at that “non attachment” to both.

Mark Twain said it best, “everything in moderation including moderation” meaning also non attachment to non attachment - which is basically the “middle way” the Buddha taught. It’s almost a non teaching to that regard. I’m not a person who has read the entire Pali canon. However, I know ‘middle way‘ is a big term Buddha taught. What’s more middle than ‘renounce’ and also ‘renounce renounce’

Then there are VERY passionate sects of Buddhism .. the entire shambala lineage for example... otherwise known as the sensual eternal earth Tradition.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:16 pm

phyllo wrote:Is there anyone here interested in discussing Buddhism?
Sure, what aspects of Buddhist practice most appeal to you and others?
What are the hard parts of the practices or beliefs?
How often do you engage in the practices?
What difference has it made in your life?
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby MagsJ » Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:11 pm

iambiguous wrote:
iambiguous wrote: But: in regard to the behaviors that you choose here and now as they pertain to what you imagine your fate to be there and then, I have no clear understanding of your point here. And that is always my aim in regard to God and religion and all other spiritual paths.

We are just not in sync in terms of intent and motivation here. Others can share your assessment above but then attach it to conflicting goods. Attaching this assessment further to the part after they die. That's my "thing" here. Exploring that in regard to actual sets of circumstances.
MagsJ wrote: A Buddha state is more about the here and now, in retrospect of one’s did and was, with a view to cultivating a better there and then.. so not so much about one’s afterlife, as it is about how the rest of one’s life is spent living, in conjunction with past lessons learned.. so being the best you can be.

You have a fate after death? how do you know that that is a certainty? Why are you less concerned with living than you are with dying?
As I noted today in my post above, it is precisely this sort of "general description intellectual contraption" that I wish to steer the discussions away from. I'm far more interested in how you relate this sort of abstract assessment to the life that you actually live. To the moral and political values that you choose to embody. And in regard to confrontations with those who embody other religious and nonreligious values. As this is understood by you in regard to the fate of "I" after death.

My own moral and political values are no longer rooted in religion, but in dasein, conflicting goods and political economy. My own approach to value judgments is encompassed in the OP on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

Others will either be willing to take Buddhism there, or, sure, eschew my arguments/posts here altogether. And if they choose to, fine. I would not insist that, necessarily, they are being less reasonable than I am. That they are on the wrong path. Only that our interest in religion is different. This as well seen by me as as embodied in dasein.

Thus, from my own frame of mind, we are clearly on two different paths here:

What has our individual paths got to do with discussing the topic of Buddhism? You learn from me and I learn from you, and the discussion then moves forward and evolves.. bearing those things that we have both learned from each other, in mind.

MagsJ wrote:Take Brahman?
Yes. You choose to behave in the way that you do. And if Brahman denotes/connotes "the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe" how do you connect the dots between that and this choice. Why not another choice instead? Here of course I link "I" to dasein. But that then precipitates [for me] the feeling of fragmentation.
MagsJ wrote: Once we know better, can we stop knowing better? answering that question will lead you to the answer you keep on asking, but do feel free to keep on with your circular inquiry, won’t you. ; )
Know what better? In what set of circumstances? As this knowledge is intertwined in enlightenment precipitating a karma that results in what level of existence on the other side? Is it ever and always only what a Buddhist believes is true here, or are there ways to demonstrate that what they believe is in fact true experientially, experimentally, empirically?

Iam asked: or are there ways to demonstrate that what they believe is in fact true experientially, experimentally, empirically?

Yes.. meditation has been shown to have mental benefits, such as improved focus, happiness, memory, self-control, academic performance and more, by changing brainwave frequencies so that they work at their optimal levels. This has been evidenced in EEG monitoring.

And then when I do focus in on a particular context:
Okay, in regard to the political prejudices you embody relating to, say, vaccines or Donald Trump, what does it mean then to be "taskless"?
MagsJ wrote: They are not political prejudices.. the first has nothing to do with politics, the second is a personal preference that has no bearing on any decisions I make here in the UK.
First, I am still not clear as to what you mean by "taskless" here.

And are you actually telling us that arguments exchanged in regard to vaccines are not intertwined existentially in the political values that liberals and conservatives and others become predisposed to existentially given the experiences, relationships and access to particular information and knowledge that unfold over the course of their lived lives? You really believe that how you feel about vaccines goes beyond a set of political prejudices and really does reflect the optimal or the only rational way in which to think about them?

That all the points raised by the folks on the pro side here -- https://vaccines.procon.org/ -- are simply wrong.

Policy-making not knoweth of any one particular political side.. I’d prefer my politics not made up of any one particular side, but of the capable.

Yes I really do believe that how I feel about vaccines goes beyond a set of political prejudices, but not because it really does reflect the optimal or the only rational way in which to think about them, but solely because of medical reasons.

Instead, my point is that men and women living individual lives do become predisposed to political prejudices that some come to insist is reflective instead of the one and the only objective truth. The objectivists among us. Those that in my view choose a frame of mind that allows them psychologically to think themselves into believing that in regard to vaccines they really are in touch with the "real me" in sync with "the right thing to do".

The embodiment of this: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

Updated as follows:

1] For one reason or another [rooted largely in dasein], you are taught or come into contact with [through your upbringing, a friend, a book, an experience etc.] a worldview, a philosophy of life in regard to vaccines

2] Over time, you become convinced that this perspective regarding vaccines expresses and encompasses the most rational and objective truth. This truth then becomes increasingly more vital, more essential to you as a foundation, a justification, a celebration of all that is moral as opposed to immoral, rational as opposed to irrational.

3] Eventually, for some, they begin to bump into others who feel the same way about vaccines; they may even begin to actively seek out folks similarly inclined to view the world in a particular way.

4] Some begin to share this view about vaccines with family, friends, colleagues, associates, Internet denizens; increasingly it becomes more and more a part of their life. It becomes, in other words, more intertwined in their personal relationships with others...it begins to bind them emotionally and psychologically.

5] As yet more time passes, they start to feel increasingly compelled not only to share their Truth about vaccines with others but, in turn, to vigorously defend it against any and all detractors as well.

6] For some, it can reach the point where they are no longer able to realistically construe an argument about vaccines that disputes their own as merely a difference of opinion; they see it instead as, for all intents and purposes, an attack on their intellectual integrity....on their very Self.

7] Finally, a stage is reached [again for some] where the original quest for truth about vaccines, for wisdom, has become so profoundly integrated into their self-identity [professionally, socially, psychologically, emotionally] defending it has less and less to do with the quest for truth at all. But only in propagating their own objectivist rendition of it.

That is not applicable to all, as reasons behind peoples’ perspective and rationale on vaccines does and will vary.. mine is very niche and has zero to do with any of the above 7 outlined points.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:48 pm

MagsJ wrote:What has our individual paths got to do with discussing the topic of Buddhism? You learn from me and I learn from you, and the discussion then moves forward and evolves.. bearing those things that we have both learned from each other, in mind.


We are clearly in two different discussions here. And, sure, your understanding of it may well be more reasonable than mine. But for someone who is reading my posts on this thread to ask me what our individuals paths -- our actual lived lives -- have to do with a discussion of Buddhism is simply beyond my capacity even to grasp. As though the historical, cultural and circumstantial parameters of the life that we do live as it relates to anything and everything we come into contact with or do not come into contact with relating to Buddhism is not pertinent in a discussion of Buddhism.

For example, what of all of the millions and millions of human beings who lived and died on planet Earth before Buddha himself even existed? What of enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana for them when there wasn't even a Buddhist religion around to turn to?

At least with Western religions we have God to fall back on. One might ask what of all the millions and millions of human beings that existed before the birth of Christ? But God Himself was always around. And questions like this can be dumped into that vast gap between an omniscient/omnipotent God and mere mortals like you and I.

But what of Buddhism here?

Note to others:

What am I missing in her reaction here? What point is she making that, in your opinion, succeeds in actually responding to the points that I raise? And [of course] let's take this out into the world and focus in on a particular context.

MagsJ wrote:Iam asked: or are there ways to demonstrate that what they believe is in fact true experientially, experimentally, empirically?

Yes.. meditation has been shown to have mental benefits, such as improved focus, happiness, memory, self-control, academic performance and more, by changing brainwave frequencies so that they work at their optimal levels. This has been evidenced in EEG monitoring.


I've acknowledged the many very real benefits of Buddhism insofar as it allows one to attain and then to sustain a more constructive mental and emotional outlook on life. And how that is translated into better physical health.

But over and over again, I note that my own interest in Buddhism -- in religion itself -- is the existential relationship between morality here and now and immortality there and then. As that relates to the actual life that we live at the intersection of identity, value judgments and political economy.

And, from my frame of mind, the manner in which you go there is far removed from the manner in which I do. And that's fine. But until you demonstrate to me that you have at least some understanding of my own approach, the exchange is basically not worth pursuing from my end.

And, yes, that may well reflect my own deficiencies here in discussing Buddhism. Still, all I can do here is note the arguments of those who wish to demonstrate this to me.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:16 pm

Sooner or later we all face death. Will a sense of meaning help us?
Warren Ward from AEON website

Most Eastern philosophical traditions appreciate the importance of death-awareness for a well-lived life. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, for example, is a central text of Tibetan culture. The Tibetans spend a lot of time living with death, if that isn’t an oxymoron.


But grappling with the importance of death-awareness merely becomes another manifestation of how as a proponent of Eastern philosophical and religious traditions, it is juxtaposed to how one construes the "spiritual" contours of life-awareness. How does that really get us any closer to connecting the dots between life and death insofar as how we actually choose to live that life and experience that death.

The East’s greatest philosopher, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, realised the importance of keeping the end in sight. He saw desire as the cause of all suffering, and counselled us not to get too attached to worldly pleasures but, rather, to focus on more important things such as loving others, developing equanimity of mind, and staying in the present.


Still, the manner in which one comes to approach his or her own death appears to be no less the embodiment of dasein. Instead, we simply have any number of conflicting religious/spiritual denominations providing the faithful with endless assumptions about how one is expected to love others, develop equanimity of mind and stay the present.

When? where? how? why? In what actual set of circumstances? Let's not go there, okay?

In other words, spiritually. As a way of thinking of human interactions in a world where the reality of conflicting goods is simply subsumed in general description intellectual contraptions like this.

As for detaching oneself from worldly pleasures that become considerably more attainable if you are able to think yourself into believing that, to the extent you focus instead on spiritual growth, you will be rewarded on the other side. And, of greatest importance of all, that there is existence beyond the grave. And, thus, that connecting the dots between morality/enlightenment here and now and immortality/salvation there and done becomes by far your greatest concern.

On the other hand, if one is actually able to believe this sort of thing...

The last thing the Buddha said to his followers was: ‘Decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence!’


...how exactly is that to be made applicable to the behaviors you choose? Behaviors predicated on the moral and political values [prejudices] one comes to embody existentially as the personification of dasein out in a particular world historically, culturally and circumstantially.

I know: let's not go there either.

Or, for the objectivists among us, sure, go there, but wholly in sync with their own trajectories.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:01 am

Another approach to the issue of Buddhism: compare it to what you do now if you are not a Buddhist.

Buddhism is (also) a set of ideas about the natures of things and a set of practices to make us feel better and more aware.

Everyone has a set of coping mechanisms in relation to suffering and also a set of learning approaches to improving how they feel and what they know - (some people may believe in approaches that the do not live out, but nevertheless think X helps either the former or the latter or both.

So, you feel bad about something. What do you do?

Now a Buddhist, in general, is 1) thinking that desire is the source of the problems (or at least, the one that can be controlled/eradicated/distanced from/disidentified with); 2) they are meditating which in the long term a way of restructuring how they relate to their own thoughts and emotions (disdentification), maintenance of calm regardless amongst other things. In the short term it is also an intervention against the suffering caused by certain thoughts, thoughts in general, certain emotions and emotions in general, certain desires and desires in general.

That's a very fast summation of Buddhist thought and practices.

So, what are you already doing as YOUR set of coping mechanisms and approaches to long term change so that you suffer less, enjoy life more?

It may not be easy to find these approaches, since it may require some serious introspection.

You could also start with beliefs (most of which are likely to be a disorganized set of heuristics about how to feel better in life.
Buddhism is extremely organized.
Most people, in the West, who are not strictly religious, have disorganized and even contradictory heuristics.
What are you beliefs about what makes things better short and long term?
What evidence do you have for these working?
How well do you put your beliefs in practice? (how's your committment/discipline?
Any overlaps with Buddhism?

I've explained earlier at least pieces of my approach which are the opposite of disidentification/detachment from desires, emotions. The relation to thoughts is much more complicated. Buddhism detaches emotions and desires from expression, also. AGain I go in the opposite direction. I have also given specific examples here and in other threads.

But what is your 'religion', because we all have one. It may be a godless one. It may have nothing that would be considered 'supernatural'. But you have an approach to improving life that you believe is the right one (however messy it actually is when catalogued, and however little you actually practice it).

So, what's yours and compare and contrast it to Buddhism.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby gib » Sun Aug 16, 2020 6:06 am

iambiguous wrote:Again, fine. But the bottom line [mine] is that, to the extent we choose to interact with others, rules of behaviors are a necessity. Call them morality, call them something else. And millions of us do connect the dots between them and the fate of "I" the other side. So there is certainly a gap between the word games that philosophers might play on threads like this and the manner in which religions out in the world precipitate very real conflicts, precipitating very real consequences, that often have a profound impact on the lives of millions.

Introduce the intellectual construct of "games" to these folks.


Why? As I said, I'm not talking to those folks. I'm talking to you. You don't really seem to be trying to connect the same dots they are. You don't seem to be actually interested in how our behavior in this life connects us to our fate in the afterlife. You seem to be interested in playing a game with the objectivists here. Call it the "defeat my nihilism" game. For all the concern you may have to know how the dots are connected, and for all the moral import you attribute to the consequences of the actions taken by those who do connect the dots, you seem more interested in proving that the dots cannot be connected, or that there is no solution to the moral dilemas raised by those consequences. The fact that you seem loathed to admit this perhaps means you're playing a game with yourself.

iambiguous wrote:What can I say: let's focus the exchange here on a set of circumstances relating to morality/immortality in which you can point out specifically the suggestions of others. And the manner in which I refuse their help.

Also, over and again, I aim my arguments here at those religious objectivists who insist that others can only be helped in connecting the morality/immortality dots by embracing their own dogmatic/denominational agenda.


Fair enough... that might explain why we don't seem to make much progress, you and I.

iambiguous wrote:Tell me this isn't the embodiment of dasein. Given the life that you have lived and the circumstances in which you now find yourself, this is how you have become predisposed to think about the world around you. Here and now. And, like you say, "[t]his is why I described your earlier statement on this front as hyperbolic--though I know for many others it's not".

That's basically how it works all right. At least until you become a religious objectivist/zealot. Then it's also how it ought to work for everyone else too. I'm mainly curious as to how Buddhists connect these dots given a No God religion.


I'm not sure I get your point? Are you saying the life I've lived is not the norm for most people you engage with here?

iambiguous wrote:No, I would just prefer that when we discuss "aligning our interests" or "making progress", it be in regard to an actual set of circumstances involving morality/enlightenment on this side of the grave and immortality/reincarnation of the other side of it. How are these words fleshed out given a situation that most here would be familiar with.


This requirement of yours--to bring the discussion down to a specific set of circumstances--is sometimes a really tall order, especially when the discussion becomes a commentary on the discussion itself. Most people are able to follow along even when the discussion deals purely with intellectual contraptions. I'm not sure why you get so lost.

iambiguous wrote:Okay, you "alleviate" suffering. But how is alleviating the suffering on one side not probably going to aggravate it on the other side?


By avoiding bringing the two sides together in the same exercise. This is why I mentioned the caveat about not engaging both parties at the same time. I'm certainly not gonna approach the victim's family and say, "Hey, guess what? I just made your son's killer feel better about this whole thing." Can I guarantee that news on my consolations won't be received by the victim's family? Of course not. I'm only human. But it's not about guarantees like this. It's about doing your best to foster the best possible outcome as you see it.

iambiguous wrote:And if you are a Buddhist confronting a context of this sort, how is enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana understood given the very, very real intertwining of "I" here and now and "I" there and then. Once we move beyond Buddhism's capacity to offer up the sort of stuff that Karpel Tunnel and others here focus on.


Yes, let's tie this into some of the other Buddhist constructs you brought up for questioning.

Enlightenment - Enlightenment is what drives one to engage in this kind of behavior in these kinds of circumstances--the compassion to alleviate suffering as best you can. Once the 'I' is completely fragmented and dissolved, the light of love and compassion comes pouring through, and one feels deep sympathy for those who are suffering. A drive to alleviate that suffering follows. (and I suppose if one has yet to become enlightened, the drive to alleviate the suffering of others comes from a sense of duty rather than compassion; we are taught in Buddhism--after all--that one who walks the path has a moral obligation to alleviate the suffering of others).

Karma - I don't know if this particular Buddhist believes in karma (isn't that, after all, borrowed from Hindu religion?)--but how it relates to the specific scenario of trying to alleviate the suffering of all involved in the case of a murder is that the actions performed by each participant in the scenario count as a sort of contribution towards an "account balance" of their life's work. Good actions contribute towards a positive balance. Bad actions contribute towards a negative balance. At the end of your life, your good actions are weighed against your bad actions, and the net balance determines the quality of your next life. For example, the murderer, having committed a haneous atrocity, would have a highly negative balance (at least, the act of murder would contribute an enormous negative amount), and therefore the quality of his next life would be quite poor (maybe he reincarnates as a worm). My own acts of trying to console all those involved in this case would contribute towards a positive balance, and with more deeds like this performed throughout my life, I would have a positive balance overall by the end of my life, meaning that I will get a high quality life when I reincarnate (perhaps as a god). Or I *would* believe that if I believed in karma. So karma can contribute or inform one's actions in a scenario such as this by encouraging one to perform good actions (alleviate the suffering of others) so that one will be more likely to acquire a good life upon reincarnating.

Reincarnation - Obviously, reincarnation is the process by which one's soul, or one's essence (call it what you will), is transferred from one life to the next, from one body which dies to another body which is born; there isn't much more to say about reincarnation than what was said about karma. Reincarnation is connected to the particular scenario under consideration through karma. The fact of karma encourages or motivates one to perform good acts by offering the potential for a better life upon reincarnation.

Nirvana - Nirvana is the state one experiences when enlightened. It is said to be blissful, peaceful, and the deepest form of love. It is connected to the scenario under consideration in the same way enlightenment is. Enlightenment leads to compassion for those involved in the scenario and a drive to alleviate their suffering because Enlightenment is the state of experiencing Nirvana, and Nirvana is pure love, which is why compassion and love flow from one who is Enlightened.

Don't know if I got all that right--many real Buddhists and learned Buddhist scholars will no doubt correct many of my misconceptions, but consider this the answers coming from a special Buddhist who has his own awkward understanding of his own religion.

iambiguous wrote:The distinction I always come back to here is the manner in which "I" as a moral nihilist have come to understand human interactions when confronting conflicting goods as dasein out in a particular political economy, and the objectivists -- God or No God -- who insist that the manner in which they have come to understand it is in turn obligatory for all others who wish to think of themselves as rational and virtuous human beings. A further distinction here being those who insist that if one chooses to live one's life in accordance with rational and ethical and enlightened truths, they will be rewarded on the other side given one or another religious dogma.

gib wrote:Again, back to vague generalities.


But my point in regard to the Buddhists among us is to focus in on sets of circumstances in order to illustrate texts of this sort.


But you didn't focus in on a set of circumstances--hence, vague generalities.

iambiguous wrote:And then to everyone I always request that they choose a context involving behaviors that are of particular importance to them.

Instead, the "question" you want answered here...

gib wrote:I call this a lack of progress because it doesn't answer my question. You're pointing out a couple distinctions you focus on when you ask others for particular contexts, but I'm asking what a response from them would look like such that you get a clear picture of the distinctions you're looking for. You know what would help? If you gave a hypothetical example of what a discussion between you and an objectivist would look like. You pose your questions, and then write a response from a hypothetical objectivist that would satisfy your inquiries.


...pertains to no particular context at all.


Why do you need a context to answer this question? I'm asking you for a context. That is the question. I specifically asked for you to give an example of an answer to any of your many questions you pose to objectivists that would satisfy your requirements or expectations. If you want a context, let's pick the most frequent one you site: abortion--is it right or wrong? I'll paraphrase what I think your question would be to an objectivist who believes that abortion is wrong: "Can you demonstrate in a manner that all men and women who wish to think of themselves as rational and moral human beings would be obligated to agree with that abortion is indeed wrong?" <-- Now what response from this objectivist would satisfy you?

Once you answer that, I guess we'll go on to the next specific circumstance--let's say the war on drugs: should drugs be legalized or not? Then what? Should homosexuals be allowed to marry? And then what? And what after that? And after that? Why do we need to stick exclusively with specific circumstances? Why is it so difficult for you to formulate a response that covers the whole breadth of circumstances your inquiries pertain to? Why force your interlocutor to go through a whole series of specific circumstances until he has enough to extract a pattern and make that his best guess as to what you're ultimately getting at?

iambiguous wrote:What on earth are you talking about here? Note an example of what you construe to be behaviors in which moral and political value judgments come into conflict. Reconfigure your words into this discussion.


iambiguous wrote:How 'bout the BLM movement? That's a prime example of moral/political value judgments coming into conflict if there ever was one. My point is that most people on this board (I could be terribly wrong here) typically aren't forced to engage in the thick of the conflicts surrounding the BLM movement on a regular basis (though this movement and others related to it seem to be picking up momentum pretty fast and I'm not sure how much longer most Americans, or even Canadians, can stay out of it).


iambiguous wrote:Again, my own interest here in regard to Buddhism revolves around individual Buddhists who find their own lives becoming embedded in actual contexts that do involve race relations...how is their understanding of enlightenment and karma on this side of the grave factored into the behaviors they choose in regard to what they believe regarding the fate of "I" on the other side of it.


You see, this is the problem--you ask for an example of what I construe to be behaviors in which moral and political value judgments come into conflict; I give you one: BLM; then you reply with a vague generality about what your interests in discussions like this are. I have no idea how to interpret that. Did I give a bad example? Are you ignoring my example? Are you saying BLM doesn't pertain to your interests in this thread because we're discussing Buddhism, not race (and that if I can tie Buddhism into race, that would rekindle your interest)? Were you not prepared for an actual example from me, so you don't have a more direct response? Were you bluffing? Your response here is far too vague and general for me to know what to do with, to know where we take the discussion from here? This is what I'm calling a lack of progress.

It's almost as if you've forgotten what prompted you to ask me for an example, and so you make your response vague and general enough so that it could apply to almost anything. Let me remind you what prompted you to ask me for an example. You were responding to this:

gib wrote:As an aside, I must say that you make it out to seem like high stakes interactions like what you describe are not only inevitable and commonplace, but fatally irresolvable. But I think the scenario you describe is actually a rare occurence. Sure we live in a world where people disagree on all manner of important issues, and indeed the stakes do get high, enough to sometimes resort to violence and war, but I personally find this kind of experience extremely rare. Maybe if I were living in a different part of the world, and I felt my convictions were worth standing up for in the face of incredibly dangerous opposition, but to say that "all men and women who choose to interact with others are going to find themselves confronting conflicting goods..." seems a bit hyperbolic, at least for most people here.


When I give you the BLM example, I expect you to tie it back to this.

iambiguous wrote:No, my focus revolves around the extent to which the moral, political and religious convictions of any particular individual are derived more from the manner in I construe the "self" here as an existential construction/deconstruction/reconstruction rooted in dasein from the cradle to the grave; or, instead essentially in a scientific or philosophical or theological assessment able to be demonstrated as obligatory for all rational/virtuous human beings.


But your approach is to challenge your interlocutor to demonstrate their personal convictions. I don't see you discussing convictions in general with others on this board--as if to say: those Christians, eh? What a silly bunch. How on Earth do they demonstrate their convictions in a manner that all rational men and women are obligated to agree with?--it's always with a Christian that you're engaging (or a Muslim, or a Communist, or an Atheist, etc.), asking them for such a demonstration. Your ultimate goal may be to generalize their responses in such a way that it matches the pattern you expect of an 'I' construed as an existential construction rooted in dasein, but it starts with a focus on your interlocutor's particular convictions.

iambiguous wrote:Again and again and again: we need a context here. Why? What particular conflict in this particular world [our own] construed in what particular way?


How would answering this change what I said? Obviously, there will be some particular conflict construed in some particular way that would seem to invalidate what I said (that most members on this board with whom you engage don't typically get pulled into the kinds of earth shattering conflicts you seem to think are inevitable if we don't once and for all connect the dots here and now), but this is why I was speaking in general.

iambiguous wrote:You choose it. And, then, when you do in regard to an issue like capital punishment above, I react insofar as my own interest here revolves around how individual Buddhists address it in terms of the main components of their own religious denomination.


Then let's continue with that.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:58 pm

Buddhist Retreat
Why I gave up on finding my religion.
By JOHN HORGAN at Slate Magazine

Four years ago, I joined a Buddhist meditation class and began talking to (and reading books by) intellectuals sympathetic to Buddhism. Eventually, and regretfully, I concluded that Buddhism is not much more rational than the Catholicism I lapsed from in my youth; Buddhism’s moral and metaphysical worldview cannot easily be reconciled with science—or, more generally, with modern humanistic values.


Sure, this is just one man's experience. But at least it is an example of someone taking up the challenge of a few here to actually make contact with Buddhists who are able to go deeper into the practice of Buddhism.

Which is basically why I tend to dump all religious denominations into the same moral and political basket: objectivism.

With or without God, the point is to focus the mind on a belief that one can attain an enlightened point of view in regard living one's life here and now; all in order to reconfigure that life beyond the grave.

Moral ambiguity and uncertainty dispensed with, immortality assured. Really, why make religion any more complicated than that? Assuming of course human autonomy and acknowledging the ubiquitous gap between "I" here and now and the truth about existence itself.

For many, a chief selling point of Buddhism is its supposed de-emphasis of supernatural notions such as immortal souls and God. Buddhism “rejects the theological impulse,” the philosopher Owen Flanagan declares approvingly in The Problem of the Soul. Actually, Buddhism is functionally theistic, even if it avoids the “G” word.


Exactly. For all practical purposes, in regard to enlightenment now and Nirvana then, how is Buddhism substantially different from Western denominations? The part about sin, the part about salvation. Don't all religions employ assumptions here that go beyond any substantive attempts to demonstrate that which the faithful are merely implored to swallow "spiritually"? Particularly in regard to the part pertaining to after we die.

Thus..

Like its parent religion Hinduism, Buddhism espouses reincarnation, which holds that after death our souls are re-instantiated in new bodies, and karma, the law of moral cause and effect. Together, these tenets imply the existence of some cosmic judge who, like Santa Claus, tallies up our naughtiness and niceness before rewarding us with rebirth as a cockroach or as a saintly lama.


No doubt about it: the part that baffles me the most.

Maybe the analogy to Santa Claus goes a bit too far, but what is the most succinct argument that Buddhists have come up with in regard to this?

Links please.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:51 am

gib wrote:
iambiguous wrote:Again, fine. But the bottom line [mine] is that, to the extent we choose to interact with others, rules of behaviors are a necessity. Call them morality, call them something else. And millions of us do connect the dots between them and the fate of "I" the other side. So there is certainly a gap between the word games that philosophers might play on threads like this and the manner in which religions out in the world precipitate very real conflicts, precipitating very real consequences, that often have a profound impact on the lives of millions.

Introduce the intellectual construct of "games" to these folks.


Why? As I said, I'm not talking to those folks. I'm talking to you.


No, you're talking to someone intent on exploring the manner in which Buddhists connect the dots existentially between their own understanding of enlightenment and karma, the behaviors they choose derived from that understanding and how this is connected to what they believe regarding the fate of "I" beyond the grave. The things I don't "get" about Buddhism.

Thus this part...

gib wrote: You don't really seem to be trying to connect the same dots they are. You don't seem to be actually interested in how our behavior in this life connects us to our fate in the afterlife.


...is [to me] just you imagining that you grasp my intentions and my motivations here in a way that reveals some actual truth rather than just another subjective leap of faith rooted in dasein. Just as, admittedly, is my own reaction to you.

gib wrote: You seem to be interested in playing a game with the objectivists here. Call it the "defeat my nihilism" game. For all the concern you may have to know how the dots are connected, and for all the moral import you attribute to the consequences of the actions taken by those who do connect the dots, you seem more interested in proving that the dots cannot be connected, or that there is no solution to the moral dilemmas raised by those consequences. The fact that you seem loathed to admit this perhaps means you're playing a game with yourself.


Same here. Over and again I acknowledge that my own understanding of what seems to propel "me" in exchanges of this sort is rooted in the Fowles quote, in polemics, and in the enormous gap between "I" as understood "here and now" and all of the countless variables I did not/do not/will not either fully understand or control going back to the cradle itself.

Also, what I focus on is taking the points you raise in intellectual contraptions like the one above and reconfiguring them into an assessment of a set of circumstances such that we can describe more substantively our views regarding Buddhism. Then you can point out with more specificity and accusations you make. Then it revolves around the extent to which I understand the points you are making.

Thus:

iambiguous wrote:What can I say: let's focus the exchange here on a set of circumstances relating to morality/immortality in which you can point out specifically the suggestions of others. And the manner in which I refuse their help.

Also, over and again, I aim my arguments here at those religious objectivists who insist that others can only be helped in connecting the morality/immortality dots by embracing their own dogmatic/denominational agenda.


gib wrote: Fair enough... that might explain why we don't seem to make much progress, you and I.


Fair perhaps but where are the contexts in which these gaps can be explored more substantively?

iambiguous wrote:Tell me this isn't the embodiment of dasein. Given the life that you have lived and the circumstances in which you now find yourself, this is how you have become predisposed to think about the world around you. Here and now. And, like you say, "[t]his is why I described your earlier statement on this front as hyperbolic--though I know for many others it's not".

That's basically how it works all right. At least until you become a religious objectivist/zealot. Then it's also how it ought to work for everyone else too. I'm mainly curious as to how Buddhists connect these dots given a No God religion.


gib wrote: I'm not sure I get your point? Are you saying the life I've lived is not the norm for most people you engage with here?


Again, given what context? Involving what behaviors? In regard to what aspect of Buddhism relating to particular understandings of enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana. As that is then connected to what I construe to be just an other existential contraption rooted historically, culturally and experientially in dasein: "the norm".

Think about it. There is in fact in any particular community that which seems able to be more or less accurately described as "normal behavior". But then there's the part where different religious, moral and political factions come into conflict regarding what ought to be the norm; and how embodying what ought to be the norm assures one that "I" continues on beyond the grave.

iambiguous wrote:No, I would just prefer that when we discuss "aligning our interests" or "making progress", it be in regard to an actual set of circumstances involving morality/enlightenment on this side of the grave and immortality/reincarnation of the other side of it. How are these words fleshed out given a situation that most here would be familiar with.


gib wrote: This requirement of yours--to bring the discussion down to a specific set of circumstances--is sometimes a really tall order, especially when the discussion becomes a commentary on the discussion itself. Most people are able to follow along even when the discussion deals purely with intellectual contraptions. I'm not sure why you get so lost.


To me, yet another intellectual contraption that avoids naming a context.

Of course people are able to "follow along" in an exchange of intellectual contraptions relating to morality here and now and immortality there and then. For two reasons:

⦁ in a world of words, everything comes down to how the words are defined, imparting a specific meaning to a string of words placed in a particular order
⦁ thus the words never have to be defended in regard to a particular social, political or economic context

After all, out in the world relating to an existing human community, it's not the relationship between definitions that becomes crucial but the relationship between the definitions and the countless subjective/subjunctive interpretations of the lives we live...lives derived from countless existential variables derived from countless existential experiences derived from lives lived in very, very, very different ways.

But, in turn, this can only be examined more in depth when the discussion does shift to a "situation" that most here will be familiar with. Factor enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana into that.

Contexts in which Buddhists are competing with hundreds and hundreds of alternative "spiritual paths". Why one and not the others? With so much at stake on both sides of the grave.


iambiguous wrote:Okay, you "alleviate" suffering. But how is alleviating the suffering on one side not probably going to aggravate it on the other side?


gib wrote: By avoiding bringing the two sides together in the same exercise. This is why I mentioned the caveat about not engaging both parties at the same time. I'm certainly not gonna approach the victim's family and say, "Hey, guess what? I just made your son's killer feel better about this whole thing." Can I guarantee that news on my consolations won't be received by the victim's family? Of course not. I'm only human. But it's not about guarantees like this. It's about doing your best to foster the best possible outcome as you see it.


And, of course, this has nothing to do with the manner in which I construe "I" here as the embodiment of political prejudices rooted in dasein confronting conflicting goods such that suffering itself is able to be subsumed by Buddhists in an enlightened point of view riding karma into the sunset and then out the other side.

I see your point but it seems less important than mine given the stakes here on either side of the grave. But then I have to acknowledge that given new experiences, new relationships and access to new ideas, "I" may come to believe something other than what I do now. I merely point out that this is also true for you and everyone else.

iambiguous wrote:And if you are a Buddhist confronting a context of this sort, how is enlightenment, karma, reincarnation and Nirvana understood given the very, very real intertwining of "I" here and now and "I" there and then. Once we move beyond Buddhism's capacity to offer up the sort of stuff that Karpel Tunnel and others here focus on.


gib wrote: Yes, let's tie this into some of the other Buddhist constructs you brought up for questioning.

Enlightenment - Enlightenment is what drives one to engage in this kind of behavior in these kinds of circumstances--the compassion to alleviate suffering as best you can. Once the 'I' is completely fragmented and dissolved, the light of love and compassion comes pouring through, and one feels deep sympathy for those who are suffering. A drive to alleviate that suffering follows. (and I suppose if one has yet to become enlightened, the drive to alleviate the suffering of others comes from a sense of duty rather than compassion; we are taught in Buddhism--after all--that one who walks the path has a moral obligation to alleviate the suffering of others).

Karma - I don't know if this particular Buddhist believes in karma (isn't that, after all, borrowed from Hindu religion?)--but how it relates to the specific scenario of trying to alleviate the suffering of all involved in the case of a murder is that the actions performed by each participant in the scenario count as a sort of contribution towards an "account balance" of their life's work. Good actions contribute towards a positive balance. Bad actions contribute towards a negative balance. At the end of your life, your good actions are weighed against your bad actions, and the net balance determines the quality of your next life. For example, the murderer, having committed a haneous atrocity, would have a highly negative balance (at least, the act of murder would contribute an enormous negative amount), and therefore the quality of his next life would be quite poor (maybe he reincarnates as a worm). My own acts of trying to console all those involved in this case would contribute towards a positive balance, and with more deeds like this performed throughout my life, I would have a positive balance overall by the end of my life, meaning that I will get a high quality life when I reincarnate (perhaps as a god). Or I *would* believe that if I believed in karma. So karma can contribute or inform one's actions in a scenario such as this by encouraging one to perform good actions (alleviate the suffering of others) so that one will be more likely to acquire a good life upon reincarnating.

Reincarnation - Obviously, reincarnation is the process by which one's soul, or one's essence (call it what you will), is transferred from one life to the next, from one body which dies to another body which is born; there isn't much more to say about reincarnation than what was said about karma. Reincarnation is connected to the particular scenario under consideration through karma. The fact of karma encourages or motivates one to perform good acts by offering the potential for a better life upon reincarnation.

Nirvana - Nirvana is the state one experiences when enlightened. It is said to be blissful, peaceful, and the deepest form of love. It is connected to the scenario under consideration in the same way enlightenment is. Enlightenment leads to compassion for those involved in the scenario and a drive to alleviate their suffering because Enlightenment is the state of experiencing Nirvana, and Nirvana is pure love, which is why compassion and love flow from one who is Enlightened.


Still, from my frame of mind, this assessment is still basically an intellectual contraption bursting at the seams with assumptions that are not at all demonstrated to in fact be true. The murderer above can see his own motivation and intention from a perspective that is utterly alien to others. He can rationalize or justify the killing given a point of view that others deem to be preposterous. He can be confronted by Buddhists expressing their own reaction to the killing and simply dismiss it. After all, what do they really know about his frame of mind or his understanding of the situation? That's why a God, the God, my God always makes considerably more sense to me as a religious font. Take that away and you have reactions like John Horgans from the Slate piece above.

gib wrote: Don't know if I got all that right--many real Buddhists and learned Buddhist scholars will no doubt correct many of my misconceptions, but consider this the answers coming from a special Buddhist who has his own awkward understanding of his own religion.


Any real Buddhists here care to comment?

iambiguous wrote:Again, my own interest here in regard to Buddhism revolves around individual Buddhists who find their own lives becoming embedded in actual contexts that do involve race relations...how is their understanding of enlightenment and karma on this side of the grave factored into the behaviors they choose in regard to what they believe regarding the fate of "I" on the other side of it.


gib wrote: You see, this is the problem--you ask for an example of what I construe to be behaviors in which moral and political value judgments come into conflict; I give you one: BLM; then you reply with a vague generality about what your interests in discussions like this are. I have no idea how to interpret that. Did I give a bad example? Are you ignoring my example? Are you saying BLM doesn't pertain to your interests in this thread because we're discussing Buddhism, not race (and that if I can tie Buddhism into race, that would rekindle your interest)? Were you not prepared for an actual example from me, so you don't have a more direct response? Were you bluffing? Your response here is far too vague and general for me to know what to do with, to know where we take the discussion from here? This is what I'm calling a lack of progress.


Look, you either are or are not a Buddhist. You live your life from day to day in which matters of race -- or ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation etc. -- becomes a very real factor in your interactions with other. You believe what you do about race.

Now, what I wish to pursue here is this: that any particular Buddhists wishing to participate in this exchange take their belief about race and connect this dot to what they believe about enlightenment and karma in regard to race relations on this side of the grave; this then connected to the behaviors that they choose connected to how they connect that dot to what they believe the fate of "I" to be after they die.

In regard to race, are we talking about any particular individual's subjective sense of what it means to be enlightenment or is there a way to understand race relationships that reflects more an Enlightened frame of that all Buddhists are obligated to embody if they wish to come back on the other side as something other than a slug?

Buddhists here will either go there in some depth in regard to their own lives or they'll continue to spout general description intellectual contraptions about race relationships derived from things like the Four Noble Truths or the Eight Worldly Concerns.

iambiguous wrote:...my focus revolves around the extent to which the moral, political and religious convictions of any particular individual are derived more from the manner in I construe the "self" here as an existential construction/deconstruction/reconstruction rooted in dasein from the cradle to the grave; or, instead essentially in a scientific or philosophical or theological assessment able to be demonstrated as obligatory for all rational/virtuous human beings.


gib wrote: But your approach is to challenge your interlocutor to demonstrate their personal convictions. I don't see you discussing convictions in general with others on this board--as if to say: those Christians, eh? What a silly bunch. How on Earth do they demonstrate their convictions in a manner that all rational men and women are obligated to agree with?--it's always with a Christian that you're engaging (or a Muslim, or a Communist, or an Atheist, etc.), asking them for such a demonstration. Your ultimate goal may be to generalize their responses in such a way that it matches the pattern you expect of an 'I' construed as an existential construction rooted in dasein, but it starts with a focus on your interlocutor's particular convictions.


I have no clear idea what your point here has to do with mine. My approach is to challenge those who have managed to think themselves into believing that -- God or No God -- one can acquire a sense of self that allows them to believe that one can acquire in turn moral or spiritual convictions thought to put one on the path to a life after death. And then on to one or another equivalent of Heaven or Nirvana.

Whereas I have not yet been convinced that there is any solid evidence to back that up. And that "I" in the is/ought world seems derived more from the manner in which I have come to understand these "human all too human" relationships in my signature threads.

iambiguous wrote: Again and again and again: we need a context here.


gib wrote: Why?


For all of the reasons that I have noted above and on other threads. But: You fail to grasp those reasons. So, all we can do then is to note a new context and try, try again.


iambiguous wrote: ...And, then, when you do in regard to an issue like capital punishment above, I react insofar as my own interest here revolves around how individual Buddhists address it in terms of the main components of their own religious denomination.


gib wrote: Then let's continue with that.


Okay. Again, let's start here: https://deathpenalty.procon.org/

Now, Buddhist or not, how are the moral and political value judgments contained in this particular example of an age-old conflicting good not in many crucial respects the embodiment of dasein as I explore that here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

And, in regard to the main components of Buddhism, how is this very real [and contentious] component of the human condition understood by Buddhists from the perspective of both sides of the grave. Intertwined into the most rational and demonstrable assessment.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:33 am

Gib, your post was so generous, and unfortunately it will, short term or long term, be spat on by the person it was addressed to.

This for example
Why? As I said, I'm not talking to those folks. I'm talking to you. You don't really seem to be trying to connect the same dots they are. You don't seem to be actually interested in how our behavior in this life connects us to our fate in the afterlife. You seem to be interested in playing a game with the objectivists here. Call it the "defeat my nihilism" game. For all the concern you may have to know how the dots are connected, and for all the moral import you attribute to the consequences of the actions taken by those who do connect the dots, you seem more interested in proving that the dots cannot be connected, or that there is no solution to the moral dilemas raised by those consequences. The fact that you seem loathed to admit this perhaps means you're playing a game with yourself.

was certainly a much more likely explanation than any of his own. He will perhaps say you are focuing on him, as if this is something that can simply be ruled out as wrong, but also not noticing how his posts focus on others.

You gave a lot. Others have given a lot. Here comes cut and paste and subtle and not so subtle not really responding and seeming cluelessness and absolutely no change in response. And any time a new angle is taken and one thinks a human response will finally appear, more cut and paste and seeming cluelessness and absolute inability to introspect or admit anything.

I do think he is getting clearer that he will be a poor discussion partner outside of precisely what you outline above. If you are not proving that some morality or some specific claim about the afterlife is the case such that all rational people must agree, he will not respond respectfully, even though it may look like he thinks he is.

In the context of Buddhism I think the cup already full story fits interactions with this person.
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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:11 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Gib, your post was so generous, and unfortunately it will, short term or long term, be spat on by the person it was addressed to.

This for example
Why? As I said, I'm not talking to those folks. I'm talking to you. You don't really seem to be trying to connect the same dots they are. You don't seem to be actually interested in how our behavior in this life connects us to our fate in the afterlife. You seem to be interested in playing a game with the objectivists here. Call it the "defeat my nihilism" game. For all the concern you may have to know how the dots are connected, and for all the moral import you attribute to the consequences of the actions taken by those who do connect the dots, you seem more interested in proving that the dots cannot be connected, or that there is no solution to the moral dilemas raised by those consequences. The fact that you seem loathed to admit this perhaps means you're playing a game with yourself.

was certainly a much more likely explanation than any of his own. He will perhaps say you are focuing on him, as if this is something that can simply be ruled out as wrong, but also not noticing how his posts focus on others.

You gave a lot. Others have given a lot. Here comes cut and paste and subtle and not so subtle not really responding and seeming cluelessness and absolutely no change in response. And any time a new angle is taken and one thinks a human response will finally appear, more cut and paste and seeming cluelessness and absolute inability to introspect or admit anything.


Okay, but on the other hand, unlike you, Gib isn't a Stooge.

yet
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: I don't get Buddhism

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:59 am

gib wrote:Enlightenment - Enlightenment is what drives one to engage in this kind of behavior in these kinds of circumstances--the compassion to alleviate suffering as best you can. Once the 'I' is completely fragmented and dissolved, the light of love and compassion comes pouring through, and one feels deep sympathy for those who are suffering. A drive to alleviate that suffering follows. (and I suppose if one has yet to become enlightened, the drive to alleviate the suffering of others comes from a sense of duty rather than compassion; we are taught in Buddhism--after all--that one who walks the path has a moral obligation to alleviate the suffering of others).
Enlightenment would be a steady state of consciousness. One that is without various illusions - including that of a self.

Karma - I don't know if this particular Buddhist believes in karma (isn't that, after all, borrowed from Hindu religion?)--

It would annoy many people but one could argue that Buddhism is a branch of Hinduism. Siddheartha was Indian, his teachers, practices and contacts were likely in many cases Hindu, and he reworked ideas from Hinduism. I'd say it's closer than Christianity is to Judaism and here the Christians worship a Jew who thought of himself as Jewish.


but how it relates to the specific scenario of trying to alleviate the suffering of all involved in the case of a murder is that the actions performed by each participant in the scenario count as a sort of contribution towards an "account balance" of their life's work. Good actions contribute towards a positive balance. Bad actions contribute towards a negative balance. At the end of your life, your good actions are weighed against your bad actions, and the net balance determines the quality of your next life. For example, the murderer, having committed a haneous atrocity, would have a highly negative balance (at least, the act of murder would contribute an enormous negative amount), and therefore the quality of his next life would be quite poor (maybe he reincarnates as a worm). My own acts of trying to console all those involved in this case would contribute towards a positive balance, and with more deeds like this performed throughout my life, I would have a positive balance overall by the end of my life, meaning that I will get a high quality life when I reincarnate (perhaps as a god). Or I *would* believe that if I believed in karma. So karma can contribute or inform one's actions in a scenario such as this by encouraging one to perform good actions (alleviate the suffering of others) so that one will be more likely to acquire a good life upon reincarnating.
The Buddha focused on intention (not unlike Jesus) rather than just action. The intentions behind actions and the associated emotions and thoughts, lead to consequences, not so much what you actually do. He also elimated the caste system from Karma. You didn't have to work your way up the castes. The funny thing, in a context discussing with Iambiguous, is that the goal was to END rebirth. IOW it was to stop coming back. Of course many Buddhists probably don't understand this and are looking at having better future lives, but really the idea is to not come back at all, as there is no self to come back at all, and if there is a coming back, it is because of false beliefs. Further there is no self that comes back, just the habits. One is not actually, within Buddhism, making one's next life better, but reducing harmful patterns that will come back. It won't be you living them out however.

So I am sure Iamb can get into an argument and 'defeat' some Buddhist about future lives and he can feel smug that they haven't proven anything and their beliefs therefore must be soothing. But that's because he knows very little, and as you've pointed out projects Christianity on something he doesn't understand at all. In fact Buddhism does not believe in a persistant self, not even during one liftime. A Buddhist who actually knows Buddhism is not getting soothed but has actually faced something harder to face that what Iambiguous thinks he has faced. It's not just death at the end of this life, it won't even be him in a week. There is no self that persists through time, though patterns can persist, they are empty.

Buddhism is less soothing than Iamb's own beliefs but he will not acknowledge this or notice it because he does not, in good faith, study, let alone practice Buddhism, and it is ironically comforting to him to think that he is actually braver than everyone else. IOW it would tilt his whole worldview if he realized that there are objectivists (in this case Buddhists) who have even less to soothe them than he does. He simply cannot acknowledge this. His edifice of thousands of posts trying to undermine anyone's comfort would be ironically confused. To a Buddhist he is hallucinating a self that he will lose at death. It's not that Buddhism says 'don't worry, you'll be back' it's actually 'don't worry, you never had anything to lose, it won't even be you waking up tomorrow.' He's the one with the soothing hallucination to them.


Reincarnation - Obviously, reincarnation is the process by which one's soul, or one's essence (call it what you will), is transferred from one life to the next, from one body which dies to another body which is born; there isn't much more to say about reincarnation than what was said about karma. Reincarnation is connected to the particular scenario under consideration through karma. The fact of karma encourages or motivates one to perform good acts by offering the potential for a better life upon reincarnation.
While many Buddhists and most outsiders think that THEY will reap the fruits of good behavior, there is no persistant self in Buddhism.

Nirvana - Nirvana is the state one experiences when enlightened. It is said to be blissful, peaceful, and the deepest form of love. It is connected to the scenario under consideration in the same way enlightenment is. Enlightenment leads to compassion for those involved in the scenario and a drive to alleviate their suffering because Enlightenment is the state of experiencing Nirvana, and Nirvana is pure love, which is why compassion and love flow from one who is Enlightened.
Nirvana is the state that does not lead to rebirth (a better word than reincarnation in Buddhism). It's a state that does not lead to anything coming back.

Don't know if I got all that right--many real Buddhists and learned Buddhist scholars will no doubt correct many of my misconceptions, but consider this the answers coming from a special Buddhist who has his own awkward understanding of his own religion.
Which as said is generous of you. Unfortunately such a Buddhist gives Iamb more room to feel superior than a more doctrinal Buddhist would. You're a good guy. Truly. I hope he treats you well.

You are representing here how a significant subset of Western Buddists think of Buddhism, though most people never really work through their own systems of thought.
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