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BrainMeta Forums _ Critique of Religion _ Some Buddhism criticism(from a former Buddhist)

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 14, 2007, 04:01 PM

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.



Posted by: Rick Nov 14, 2007, 05:46 PM

A very interesting story. I never got sucked into any religion, just lucky I guess. I was supposed to be a Protestant (born into it), but I never believed the unbelievable, so I went my own way too.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 14, 2007, 10:08 PM

Welcome Z-130! How did you find us? Just curious. Quite a tale you got there! The word freedom in your post resonates the most in my ears. Awekining from the deep sleep imposed on us by others through fear or false promises is sweet as honey isn't it? Akin to taking the red pill, it would seem! I was born into a Roman Catholic family, which then turn protestant while I was still a child. And I can tell you that I sympathyze with you on a lot of what you went through. Ha! Now I'm even more glad that I never felt into the Budhism "trap", as you put it. But I was tempted to do it as a younger man.
Just an observation. Please correct me if I'm wrong here. It would seem from your posts that Budhism is more harming to the female, especially the one of a western mentality, am I right? Could it be that our women are more vulnerable to harm from it because of the rigid rules of vanity and appearence that western societies impose on our women?

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 14, 2007, 11:09 PM

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 14, 2007, 10:08 PM) *

Welcome Z-130! How did you find us? Just curious. Quite a tale you got there! The word freedom in your post resonates the most in my ears. Awekining from the deep sleep imposed on us by others through fear or false promises is sweet as honey isn't it? Akin to taking the red pill, it would seem! I was born into a Roman Catholic family, which then turn protestant while I was still a child. And I can tell you that I sympathyze with you on a lot of what you went through. Ha! Now I'm even more glad that I never felt into the Budhism "trap", as you put it. But I was tempted to do it as a younger man.
Just an observation. Please correct me if I'm wrong here. It would seem from your posts that Budhism is more harming to the female, especially the one of a western mentality, am I right? Could it be that our women are more vulnerable to harm from it because of the rigid rules of vanity and appearence that western societies impose on our women?


I don't think women really have it worse then men(well maybe a little)... The worship of beauty hurts both genders equally. For women it is the whole make up and 0 body fat and perfect everything but for guys while there is no make up/hair or skinny factor, there is a huge muscle factor. Guys feel more and more insecure without being like Arnold the governator of California.

Generally the people who are the most susceptible to Buddhism and other religions are usually ironically the most virtuous people. They are kind, compassionate individuals that cannot bare to see the world the way it is and look for answers. This is what saddens me, religion consumes 90% of the kindest people that would do the most good in our society if not religion.

But that is just my opinion. Most of the Buddhist folks i met were struggling individuals trying to live up to the impossible ideals but failing to realize that they are impossible.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 14, 2007, 11:12 PM

Oh and the way i found this forum was probably from something i typed in Google. What caught my interest is cognition enhancement (like all the short-long term memory and focus improvement)

And another questions, What drugs are actually safe? While i want to explore i do not want to end up F**KING myself for life from one drug.

Posted by: Orbz Nov 15, 2007, 01:01 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 15, 2007, 01:12 PM) *

And another questions, What drugs are actually safe? While i want to explore i do not want to end up F**KING myself for life from one drug.

Nothing really fun is ever completely safe. Just be prepared to know and accommodate for the dangers.

What drugs are you thinking of?


Posted by: trojan_libido Nov 15, 2007, 08:00 AM

Sorry to hear about your problems zhenka. I sympathise completely with your story, but I have doubts about whether your problem is Buddhism or some skewed idea you had of its teachings. I say this because there are many statements in Buddhist teaching that seem right on the money, for instance:

Desire causes suffering

Does this mean you should have no desire at all? If so then your right, no desire at all means you don't want to live. However I think it means we should not desire things which have a very high cost - electrical goods, cars, neighbours wife etc. I know many people, including myself, which blow money on stuff they have no real need for. Its this kind of impulse that I believe the statement relates to, free desires like passion for a craft, love of your family or gardening aren't material desires.

What I'm asking is simply whether its possible you were depressed or beginning to become depressed/delusional at the point you began Buddhism?

I would not be dabbling in any drugs whilst your recovering from a 'spiritual' problem. They are likely to make you go off the edge in another direction, like me! smile.gif

Posted by: maximus242 Nov 15, 2007, 08:40 AM

In general I just avoid religions due to the dogmatic system of beliefs. I prefer to change my beliefs and ideas as I grow and change as an individual.

Posted by: trojan_libido Nov 15, 2007, 09:04 AM

I've never been into organised religion, despite the aparent cultural pressures to do so. I've never been taught by anyone, I only enjoy reading each religions main points and beliefs, taking the wheat and discarding the chaff as it were.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 15, 2007, 11:25 AM

QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Nov 15, 2007, 08:00 AM) *

Sorry to hear about your problems zhenka. I sympathise completely with your story, but I have doubts about whether your problem is Buddhism or some skewed idea you had of its teachings. I say this because there are many statements in Buddhist teaching that seem right on the money, for instance:

Desire causes suffering

Does this mean you should have no desire at all? If so then your right, no desire at all means you don't want to live. However I think it means we should not desire things which have a very high cost - electrical goods, cars, neighbours wife etc. I know many people, including myself, which blow money on stuff they have no real need for. Its this kind of impulse that I believe the statement relates to, free desires like passion for a craft, love of your family or gardening aren't material desires.

What I'm asking is simply whether its possible you were depressed or beginning to become depressed/delusional at the point you began Buddhism?

I would not be dabbling in any drugs whilst your recovering from a 'spiritual' problem. They are likely to make you go off the edge in another direction, like me! smile.gif


No offense but this is exactly the kind of reply i asked not to give me. I hate when people assume that i just didn't get something. Actually it was before i knew what Buddhism really was that Buddhism seemed all candy and wisdom. Desire being the cause of suffering is such a simplified, generalized and inferior statement that i dont know where to begin. Life itself is one big desire, that is how motivation works but i don't wona talk about it.

The way you talk right now is exactly how i sounded when i was getting slowly brainwashed in the whole hippy and Buddhist stuff. At a very early stage.

And no I was not Buddhist because i was getting depressed but Buddhism made me depressed inside(not major depression just like passivity kind of thing) but made me fake it on outside. How do i know this? Because the year before Buddhism was amazing for me.

But having said all that i said i did learn a whole lot from Buddhism. It was actually the good stuff that created the illusion that all is wise and not just those few lines of thought. I am even gonna say that it was nothing in Buddhism itself that helps but it is the questions it raised in me that helped by leading my thought in the right directions.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 15, 2007, 11:36 AM

Also i might add that what most people do with Buddhism is modify it to their liking and pretend like it is that way when in reality they just created a completely new philosophy using Buddhism as the basis but the new philosophy has little with what is actually taught. And it is actually a much healthier way to go about it but it no longer is Buddhism after the subjective biast conversion.

Also i am not "recovering" from anything that was long time ago and i am full of vigor.

It is however pretty interesting now that i reflect back a year ago. There was this philosopher i talked to. He claimed he knew about Buddhism and we talked about it quite a bit and then he said "i disagree with it" to which i replied something like "you just don't understand then". He then said "Why cant you just accept that i do understand and maybe more so then you but i just disagree". Back that it seemed impossible. It is funny how beliefs work but now i see exactly what he meant. Quite an insight into how biasm works.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 15, 2007, 11:41 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 08:12 PM) *

And another questions, What drugs are actually safe? While i want to explore i do not want to end up F**KING myself for life from one drug.

You definetely don't have to worry about that! Drug addiction takes root in pre-disposed minds via weakness or flaw of character. Which in turn comes from ignorance in respect to your place in the universe due to inexperience or phsychological imbalances, IMO. From your posts I can almost guess that you don't fall in any of these categories.
From my younger years, I can tell you that the most trascendenthal experiences I ever had were through LSD. It warped reality for me in a way that nothing never had before. There were awesome trips were I went to other galaxies and back, and there were bad ones (like the day I went tripping with my best buddy and last I saw him he was being chased by a stop sign; literally!). I've heard that there is a certain kind of ecstasy (the blue pill, I think) that makes you hallucinate just as much. I've done mushrooms, pot and ecstasy, but none of them came even close to an LSD trip. But I've also heard LSD is not available anymore because the couple of labs that produced them in the eighties were finally found and put out of commission. Good luck on your quest!

Posted by: code buttons Nov 15, 2007, 12:02 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 15, 2007, 08:25 AM) *

QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Nov 15, 2007, 08:00 AM) *

Sorry to hear about your problems zhenka. I sympathise completely with your story, but I have doubts about whether your problem is Buddhism or some skewed idea you had of its teachings. I say this because there are many statements in Buddhist teaching that seem right on the money, for instance:

Desire causes suffering

Does this mean you should have no desire at all? If so then your right, no desire at all means you don't want to live. However I think it means we should not desire things which have a very high cost - electrical goods, cars, neighbours wife etc. I know many people, including myself, which blow money on stuff they have no real need for. Its this kind of impulse that I believe the statement relates to, free desires like passion for a craft, love of your family or gardening aren't material desires.

What I'm asking is simply whether its possible you were depressed or beginning to become depressed/delusional at the point you began Buddhism?

I would not be dabbling in any drugs whilst your recovering from a 'spiritual' problem. They are likely to make you go off the edge in another direction, like me! smile.gif


No offense but this is exactly the kind of reply i asked not to give me. I hate when people assume that i just didn't get something. Actually it was before i knew what Buddhism really was that Buddhism seemed all candy and wisdom. Desire being the cause of suffering is such a simplified, generalized and inferior statement that i dont know where to begin. Life itself is one big desire, that is how motivation works but i don't wona talk about it.

The way you talk right now is exactly how i sounded when i was getting slowly brainwashed in the whole hippy and Buddhist stuff. At a very early stage.

And no I was not Buddhist because i was getting depressed but Buddhism made me depressed inside(not major depression just like passivity kind of thing) but made me fake it on outside. How do i know this? Because the year before Buddhism was amazing for me.

But having said all that i said i did learn a whole lot from Buddhism. It was actually the good stuff that created the illusion that all is wise and not just those few lines of thought. I am even gonna say that it was nothing in Buddhism itself that helps but it is the questions it raised in me that helped by leading my thought in the right directions.

I was just about to make a comment about T_L's advise that was going to fall in the line of what you just said. So thanks. My opinion about your search for understanding, and all of ours for that matter, is best explained through a quote from a forum member here, whose ideas and opinions I respect very much: Rick. He lives his life by a very simple rule which I treasure dearly and hope to live by as well, and which is my gift to you:

"Love really is the answer and reason guides us to make the most of it."


http://brainmeta.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=7361&hl=
"

Posted by: Rick Nov 15, 2007, 06:17 PM

Thank you CB. Regarding zhenka11230's inquiry:

I have arrived at the position that I will never urge or recommend anyone to use consciousness expanding drugs. That is a decision for the individual after thorough investigation. A powerful psychedelic experience will change a person markedly. Certainly, every day's regular experience changes one incrementally. However, a major experience of consciousness expansion will divide a person's life into two distinct parts: before the experience and after. It is not something to be approached lightly.

In the end, there is no "bad" experience, but one should expect the possiblity of really unpleasant experience and be ready for it. Some say that there is no really productive experience without elements of unpleasantness. In many cases, at best, it will be an ordeal.

Posted by: trojan_libido Nov 16, 2007, 03:23 AM

I apologise zhenka, its just easy to take your own truth from these ancient doctrines, and many organisations aren't teaching the original religions if those even exist anymore.

I have not and will not get involved with religion, despite my own views being almost hippy like and spiritual at heart, I think religion opens you up to abuse.
I'm still dying to get involved with scientology though, to expose it for what it is to those old dears in my local town centre who are blindly giving up their lives and savings for an evil religion. I just get so embarrassed for them and me, I'm not really an extrovert to bust it wide open.

Posted by: Flex Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 16, 2007, 02:43 PM

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 11:28 AM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.

Great point, dude!!! If this is an original, you can consider yourself hereby certified as a bonafide genious!!!

Posted by: Flex Nov 16, 2007, 05:12 PM

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 16, 2007, 11:43 AM) *

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 11:28 AM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.

Great point, dude!!! If this is an original, you can consider yourself hereby certified as a bonafide genious!!!


Lol I am a genious smile.gif

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 17, 2007, 12:10 AM

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.


Well at first it may seem to but again this type of thing is exactly what i mean. People make Buddhism into what they want to see but not what it actually is.

Posted by: Rinzai Dharma Nov 17, 2007, 05:49 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 16, 2007, 09:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.


Well at first it may seem to but again this type of thing is exactly what i mean. People make Buddhism into what they want to see but not what it actually is.

Maybe the problem is sometimes people use Buddhism as a cure, and sometimes it doesn't work, and this leads them to conclude that Buddhism is a farce. Stripped of all cultural trappings , verbal and linguistic complexity, in the final analysis , the ultimate goal of Buddhism is freedom-total and complete psychological freedom. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially if it gives you road maps and techniques to achieve it. Even the western philosophers with all their realizations and conclusions , theories and hypotheses , lumped together wouldn't match the accomplishments of the Buddha- for himself and for other people who used his teachings. The realizations of the westerns existentialists are second-hand, they did not experience freedom themselves. They don't know how. I don't think Nietzche, Kierkegaard and the rest of the gang attained this freedom during their lifetime. Their realizations reached their brains but not their hearts , their minds but not their souls. Maybe this is comparable to your experience. The Buddha as much as possible avoided speculations precisely to stop people from turning his teachings to an organized philosopy or religion. The Buddha's teaching is all about freedom and how to achieve it. All the rest are useless chatters and unnecessary additions that hardly do justice to the true psychological genius of all time - the Buddha.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 18, 2007, 02:29 AM

QUOTE(Rinzai Dharma @ Nov 17, 2007, 05:49 AM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 16, 2007, 09:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.


Well at first it may seem to but again this type of thing is exactly what i mean. People make Buddhism into what they want to see but not what it actually is.

Maybe the problem is sometimes people use Buddhism as a cure, and sometimes it doesn't work, and this leads them to conclude that Buddhism is a farce. Stripped of all cultural trappings , verbal and linguistic complexity, in the final analysis , the ultimate goal of Buddhism is freedom-total and complete psychological freedom. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially if it gives you road maps and techniques to achieve it. Even the western philosophers with all their realizations and conclusions , theories and hypotheses , lumped together wouldn't match the accomplishments of the Buddha- for himself and for other people who used his teachings. The realizations of the westerns existentialists are second-hand, they did not experience freedom themselves. They don't know how. I don't think Nietzche, Kierkegaard and the rest of the gang attained this freedom during their lifetime. Their realizations reached their brains but not their hearts , their minds but not their souls. Maybe this is comparable to your experience. The Buddha as much as possible avoided speculations precisely to stop people from turning his teachings to an organized philosopy or religion. The Buddha's teaching is all about freedom and how to achieve it. All the rest are useless chatters and unnecessary additions that hardly do justice to the true psychological genius of all time - the Buddha.


I assume your knowledge of Buddhism is limited to the Myth of Buddha(his life) but you never actualy read the suttas because again you are making shit up on the go....

If you want to simplify what he taught to one sentence it would be "suffering and how to put a stop to it"
in all my years of studying Buddhism i never heard word "freedom" used even once. Except maybe for "freedom from reaction". His focus of thought was human suffering. Freedom is a existential concept that he does not deal with at all. Nietzsche and the rest were perfectly aware of Buddhism while writing their works btw... It puzzles me how people like you keep coming up with these I KNOW THE ESSENCE OF BUDDHISM AND THE REST GOT IT WRONG type of responses. In my time i read like billion of them. Some will say Buddhism is about detachment, some love, some activism, some rebellion, some freedom...

Your response equals to a statement such as Christianity is about loving your neighbor! Isnt it like .000001 percent of it? It is like picking one sentence out of the whole bible and completely ignore the rest 99.9%. You did the same with Buddhism and your essentialist approach.

Posted by: Flex Nov 18, 2007, 02:42 AM

This is why I like Daoism... The Tao Te Ching is very short, and thus one does not need to depend on others interpretations out of laziness.

Posted by: trojan_libido Nov 19, 2007, 03:53 AM

There are good points is religion, the bits that stick out, like the 'essence' you mention, are what people pick up on. If the teaching is morally wrong then people would notice quickly. If its just bullshit then most people will break away like you have. But a lot of religion isnt in the original form, it has been added to by people who have claimed to be (or have wanted to be seen) as enlightened. If you jumped into a secular groups teaching of Buddhism then its upto you to wade through the wheat and chaff. But if the main teachings are BS, as you say they are, surely many others would feel the same? I just dont see the fallout from this religion as I do from cults like scientology.

I'm not saying any of it is right, but its possible the 99.9% of it you've studied is the chaff and that 0.1% is actually of value. I've not experienced being a member of any religion other than being dragged to christian church services, so forgive my ignorance on that. At least your out now, how does it feel?

Posted by: Rinzai Dharma Nov 20, 2007, 02:33 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 17, 2007, 11:29 PM) *

QUOTE(Rinzai Dharma @ Nov 17, 2007, 05:49 AM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 16, 2007, 09:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.


Well at first it may seem to but again this type of thing is exactly what i mean. People make Buddhism into what they want to see but not what it actually is.

Maybe the problem is sometimes people use Buddhism as a cure, and sometimes it doesn't work, and this leads them to conclude that Buddhism is a farce. Stripped of all cultural trappings , verbal and linguistic complexity, in the final analysis , the ultimate goal of Buddhism is freedom-total and complete psychological freedom. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially if it gives you road maps and techniques to achieve it. Even the western philosophers with all their realizations and conclusions , theories and hypotheses , lumped together wouldn't match the accomplishments of the Buddha- for himself and for other people who used his teachings. The realizations of the westerns existentialists are second-hand, they did not experience freedom themselves. They don't know how. I don't think Nietzche, Kierkegaard and the rest of the gang attained this freedom during their lifetime. Their realizations reached their brains but not their hearts , their minds but not their souls. Maybe this is comparable to your experience. The Buddha as much as possible avoided speculations precisely to stop people from turning his teachings to an organized philosopy or religion. The Buddha's teaching is all about freedom and how to achieve it. All the rest are useless chatters and unnecessary additions that hardly do justice to the true psychological genius of all time - the Buddha.


I assume your knowledge of Buddhism is limited to the Myth of Buddha(his life) but you never actualy read the suttas because again you are making shit up on the go....

If you want to simplify what he taught to one sentence it would be "suffering and how to put a stop to it"
in all my years of studying Buddhism i never heard word "freedom" used even once. Except maybe for "freedom from reaction". His focus of thought was human suffering. Freedom is a existential concept that he does not deal with at all. Nietzsche and the rest were perfectly aware of Buddhism while writing their works btw... It puzzles me how people like you keep coming up with these I KNOW THE ESSENCE OF BUDDHISM AND THE REST GOT IT WRONG type of responses. In my time i read like billion of them. Some will say Buddhism is about detachment, some love, some activism, some rebellion, some freedom...

Your response equals to a statement such as Christianity is about loving your neighbor! Isnt it like .000001 percent of it? It is like picking one sentence out of the whole bible and completely ignore the rest 99.9%. You did the same with Buddhism and your essentialist approach.



I assure you I have very extensive background on Buddhism- from the basic teachings of the Theravada to the celestial Mahayana to practical Zen upto magical Vajrayana. Your simplication to - "suffering and how to put a stop to it" only applies to Buddha's early teachings. That's possibly the reason you got depressed in Buddhism, you never transcended the elementary teachings. Without thorough knowledge of the higher teachings, Buddhism tend to be pessimistic, precisely to give a basic description of the human condition. Suffering, Impermanence, Not-Self and Dependent Origination. These are the basic concepts thought by the Buddha . But all the Buddha's teachings are like rafts, once you use it, you don't have to bring it with you. You go the next level. The higher teachings no longer focus on suffering and nirvana, but enlightenment, wisdom, mindfulness and freedom. You should read about Zen, or better do some Zen meditation.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 20, 2007, 02:44 PM

Zen was my focus as was meditation. The higher teachings you speak of are just more lame concepts. I hate the word "higher" and "noble" and all that bullshit. It makes it sound as if it is somehow amazingly out of this world wise while it is just another lame idea.

Does Buddhism have some original and cool/practical ideas? Sure. Most of it is extremely generalizing/simplifying/unrealistically idealistic and unnatural philosophy.

I have a good article for you to read:
http://www.johnhorgan.org/work17.htm

Problem with Buddhism is it is not focused on by critics. Most critics/septics focus on Christianity.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 20, 2007, 03:53 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 11:44 AM) *

Zen was my focus as was meditation. The higher teachings you speak of are just more lame concepts. I hate the word "higher" and "noble" and all that bullshit. It makes it sound as if it is somehow amazingly out of this world wise while it is just another lame idea.

Does Buddhism have some original and cool/practical ideas? Sure. Most of it is extremely generalizing/simplifying/unrealistically idealistic and unnatural philosophy.

I have a good article for you to read:
http://www.johnhorgan.org/work17.htm

Problem with Buddhism is it is not focused on by critics. Most critics/septics focus on Christianity.

Zhenka, the more I read your posts, the more I like them. Keep' em coming, please. Question: How do you define enlightement in lue of what you've learned about Philosophy and Metaphysics?

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 20, 2007, 05:08 PM

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 20, 2007, 03:53 PM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 11:44 AM) *

Zen was my focus as was meditation. The higher teachings you speak of are just more lame concepts. I hate the word "higher" and "noble" and all that bullshit. It makes it sound as if it is somehow amazingly out of this world wise while it is just another lame idea.

Does Buddhism have some original and cool/practical ideas? Sure. Most of it is extremely generalizing/simplifying/unrealistically idealistic and unnatural philosophy.

I have a good article for you to read:
http://www.johnhorgan.org/work17.htm

Problem with Buddhism is it is not focused on by critics. Most critics/septics focus on Christianity.

Zhenka, the more I read your posts, the more I like them. Keep' em coming, please. Question: How do you define enlightement in lue of what you've learned about Philosophy and Metaphysics?


Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : )
Thanks.

Hmm, i am not sure i am familiar with term Enlightenment outside of Buddhism/Hinduism.
But there is no Unified theory among Buddhism because in my opinion it just doesn't exist and people make up whatever they want it to be.
Among the theories there are such:
Non Dual state of mind(no preference or dislike towards anything)
Magically understanding how the universe works fully and completely(direct insight into reality)
Complete self control.
Unconditional Happiness.
Loss of identification with Ego.
State of complete non attachment and non desire.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 20, 2007, 06:48 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : )
Thanks.

You're welcome
QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Hmm, i am not sure i am familiar with term Enlightenment outside of Buddhism/Hinduism.
But there is no Unified theory among Buddhism because in my opinion it just doesn't exist and people make up whatever they want it to be.
Among the theories there are such:
Non Dual state of mind(no preference or dislike towards anything)
Magically understanding how the universe works fully and completely(direct insight into reality)
Complete self control.
Unconditional Happiness.
Loss of identification with Ego.
State of complete non attachment and non desire.

All of them sound like a tall order to me!

Posted by: Rinzai Dharma Dec 05, 2007, 08:39 AM

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 20, 2007, 03:48 PM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : )
Thanks.

You're welcome
QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Hmm, i am not sure i am familiar with term Enlightenment outside of Buddhism/Hinduism.
But there is no Unified theory among Buddhism because in my opinion it just doesn't exist and people make up whatever they want it to be.
Among the theories there are such:
Non Dual state of mind(no preference or dislike towards anything)
Magically understanding how the universe works fully and completely(direct insight into reality)
Complete self control.
Unconditional Happiness.
Loss of identification with Ego.
State of complete non attachment and non desire.

All of them sound like a tall order to me!


This is how you crudely define enlightenment in terms of words. In the real teachings of the Buddha, enlightenment is one of those things that you can't express, especially in words. That's why the Zen masters resort to actions, shouts, slaps, and other uncoventional techniques to convey their teachings. As Master Teshan said, "All these sutras and written teachings are nothing but a strand of hair in the ocean of wisdom". All those definitions of enlightenment are off the mark and just crude estimates.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 05, 2007, 11:19 AM

QUOTE(Rinzai Dharma @ Dec 05, 2007, 08:39 AM) *

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 20, 2007, 03:48 PM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : )
Thanks.

You're welcome
QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Hmm, i am not sure i am familiar with term Enlightenment outside of Buddhism/Hinduism.
But there is no Unified theory among Buddhism because in my opinion it just doesn't exist and people make up whatever they want it to be.
Among the theories there are such:
Non Dual state of mind(no preference or dislike towards anything)
Magically understanding how the universe works fully and completely(direct insight into reality)
Complete self control.
Unconditional Happiness.
Loss of identification with Ego.
State of complete non attachment and non desire.

All of them sound like a tall order to me!


This is how you crudely define enlightenment in terms of words. In the real teachings of the Buddha, enlightenment is one of those things that you can't express, especially in words. That's why the Zen masters resort to actions, shouts, slaps, and other uncoventional techniques to convey their teachings. As Master Teshan said, "All these sutras and written teachings are nothing but a strand of hair in the ocean of wisdom". All those definitions of enlightenment are off the mark and just crude estimates.



The "can't express" in words is another way of saying "i don't know" and getting away with it. They just don't know and frankly i think no1 knows because it doesn't exist. From a viewpoint of epistemology the beyond words arguments is far from sufficient for me to believe it.

Posted by: Joesus Dec 05, 2007, 12:37 PM

QUOTE

The "can't express" in words is another way of saying "i don't know" and getting away with it.

The statement in itself is relating to the idea that the absolute and enlightenment cannot be contained in an expression of words, but it is not impossible to relate the experience of it or point in a direction.
If one does not have an experience then the direction will not fill one with any experience nor draw the experience out of the absolute to be handed over to the one asking to be shown.
Generally speaking the ego will stand fast with the excuse that it does not have to give up any judgment against something until it is proven wrong.

This does not mean something does not exist, it only means someone has drawn a line in the sand and refuses to cross it without a reason.

If you use the parent child relationship to relate the idea of adulthood, the parent will be able to express their experience of being an adult with all the positive and negative aspects but if the child then grows up expecting their adulthood to be what they imagined from their parents description then will it really manifest that way?
Most adults are filled with the disappointment of not having experienced the magical ideas that are fed to them as children and then facing a reality where they are also taught that life is a certain way, people will accept you if you are a certain way, etc. etc.

The first stage of enlightenment is realizing your life is not laid out for you by your parents, your friends and the media.
Then if you progress far enough beyond that you might discover that no one has God and enlightenment in a box and that no one can tell you what it is for you and how you will experience it.

QUOTE
They just don't know and frankly i think no1 knows because it doesn't exist. From a viewpoint of epistemology the beyond words arguments is far from sufficient for me to believe it.

If you don't believe it then any argument is speculation based on your own disbelief and your current experience of reality.

I'll bet there is something in all religions that intrigues you, but there is a stubborn personal grudge against the essence of all of it for not making itself clear to your liking.

Posted by: Rick Dec 05, 2007, 03:12 PM

There actually are many things that, even in principle, can not be expressed in words. A simple example is trying to explain a color to a person blind from birth.

Imagine being an intelligent bat trying to explain seeing in sonar to a human.

Posted by: Rinzai Dharma Dec 06, 2007, 12:10 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Dec 05, 2007, 08:19 AM) *

QUOTE(Rinzai Dharma @ Dec 05, 2007, 08:39 AM) *

QUOTE(code buttons @ Nov 20, 2007, 03:48 PM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Your comments are very nourishing to my Ego : )
Thanks.

You're welcome
QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 20, 2007, 02:08 PM) *

Hmm, i am not sure i am familiar with term Enlightenment outside of Buddhism/Hinduism.
But there is no Unified theory among Buddhism because in my opinion it just doesn't exist and people make up whatever they want it to be.
Among the theories there are such:
Non Dual state of mind(no preference or dislike towards anything)
Magically understanding how the universe works fully and completely(direct insight into reality)
Complete self control.
Unconditional Happiness.
Loss of identification with Ego.
State of complete non attachment and non desire.

All of them sound like a tall order to me!


This is how you crudely define enlightenment in terms of words. In the real teachings of the Buddha, enlightenment is one of those things that you can't express, especially in words. That's why the Zen masters resort to actions, shouts, slaps, and other uncoventional techniques to convey their teachings. As Master Teshan said, "All these sutras and written teachings are nothing but a strand of hair in the ocean of wisdom". All those definitions of enlightenment are off the mark and just crude estimates.



The "can't express" in words is another way of saying "i don't know" and getting away with it. They just don't know and frankly i think no1 knows because it doesn't exist. From a viewpoint of epistemology the beyond words arguments is far from sufficient for me to believe it.

You are implying that the only way to convey knowledge and the only way to see and explain reality is through words and verbal expressions. But we all know the limit of words and verbal expressions. They are only estimates and definitions of reality that are fundamentally inexpressible. Like when we say "the universe", we are only speaking about our concept of the universe, considering our limited vision. No one have really seen the whole universe, but we use the word for conventional expressions and conversations. Or "the perfect circle". No one has really seen or drawn a perfect circle, it's only a mathematical abstraction that can only be mentally constructed. Or "the Truth". No one has seen "the Truth". You perhaps? :-)




Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 06, 2007, 12:55 AM

I am well aware that not everything can be described in words. Saying i implied something that stupid is offensive to me. What i said is that enlightenment doesn't exist and the "beyond words" concept is abused by the gurus to lure people into believing it does.

Posted by: Joesus Dec 06, 2007, 03:00 AM

QUOTE
What i said is that enlightenment doesn't exist and the "beyond words" concept is abused by the gurus to lure people into believing it does.

Actually it does exist and people believe it does regardless of anyone saying it does or not.

Posted by: Rinzai Dharma Dec 13, 2007, 06:50 AM

QUOTE(Joesus @ Dec 06, 2007, 12:00 AM) *

QUOTE
What i said is that enlightenment doesn't exist and the "beyond words" concept is abused by the gurus to lure people into believing it does.

Actually it does exist and people believe it does regardless of anyone saying it does or not.

Saying something exists, arbitrarily and without proof is dogmatic, just like Christianity, Islam, and other religions. The Buddha's notion of enlightenment is experiential, and it's something that is directly seen, as directly as you see your own hands.

The Buddha was reluctant to teach because he had no dogma to start with. Just his own experience and some ideas on how to achieve it. And besides, only highly advanced yoga practitioners can grasp it. He only decided to preach when he was able to enlighten his first 5 disciples. He did not force his teachings to anyone, in fact, in the Kalama Sutra, he taught the Kalamas to doubt everything and anything. He taught to only believe something if you actually experience it yourself and if it is beneficial and good.

And not all teachers, even if they experienced it can pass it. Only a handful of Zen masters were able to convey their realizations. At present, there are only 2 Zen lines-Rinzai and Soto. Even Joshu, a highly accomplished master and is quoted in a alot of Zen koans , did not have a successor.

What more can you say about present gurus? They are nothing compared to the past masters. If you find them disappointing, don't blame the Buddha and his Dharma.


Posted by: atha Dec 13, 2007, 09:58 AM

When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven days he could not stop laughing... Do you understand why he was laughing ?

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 13, 2007, 10:52 AM

Buddha is a F**KING myth, stop using a myth to prove something. It is like using the story of Santa to prove Santa exists. There is NO AT ALL NONE evidence over ages and ages after Buddhas death. No one was enlightened. There were only attempts to get enlightened. What does it tell you? Use your critical faculties.

Posted by: trojan_libido Dec 13, 2007, 11:44 AM

Please zhenka, theres no need to get that aggressive. Whether or not Buddha existed is not for us to decide, but given the amount of texts speaking of a 'Buddha' we should really assume its at least partially based on the original creator of Buddhism. Show me some ancient texts that deal with Santa in the same way and I'll apologise for my ignorance.

Buddhism was passed down orally wasn't it, which would explain why there is such a gap between the events and written literature. A comparitive religous history/myth is Jesus, I'm sitting on the fence on that one, but I think its generally accepted by archeologists that he did exist.

Posted by: Joesus Dec 13, 2007, 12:28 PM

QUOTE
Saying something exists, arbitrarily and without proof is dogmatic, just like Christianity, Islam, and other religions.

No its saying it exists without the need to back it up with proof for someone who doesn't either believe or have an experience. It wasn't an arbitrary statement it was a counter to the idea that someone said it doesn't exist without proof which is irrational.

QUOTE
The Buddha's notion of enlightenment is experiential, and it's something that is directly seen, as directly as you see your own hands.

Some get glimpses of something but it passes like gas. Others live it. How about you?

QUOTE
He taught to only believe something if you actually experience it yourself and if it is beneficial and good.

Well, people believe in a lot of things that aren't beneficial and good that is their experience and they aren't always real, and besides beliefs change even if they are beneficial and good.
QUOTE

And not all teachers, even if they experienced it can pass it.

But God still loves stupid people

QUOTE

What more can you say about present gurus?

Some are deluded and others aren't.

QUOTE
If you find them disappointing, don't blame the Buddha and his Dharma.

That would be silly, Buddhism is not a following. Scripture is only a description of enlightened experience, and reality as seen from ones refined inner and outer senses. It was never meant to be a standard.
Most seek to make a comparison and match experience for experience and that is not enlightenment.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 13, 2007, 01:29 PM

Given the amount of text actually does the opposite(especially if you consider how much it varies and often contradicts each other). It hints to us that Buddha was not a single man but more like a collection of philosophers that were gathered into one pseudonym - Buddha.

Perhaps original Buddha existed but it can be compared to something like if in 1000 years people will think that there was a guy named Existentialism. Yes someone did create Existentialism - no doubt; but right now it is much more then one person or one philosophy. When we say existentialism - we mean a collection of philosophers dealing with the same topic but if you are careful you will notice that their opinions are far from reaching a common consensus.

It is btw generally accepted that Jesus did not exist. There is a number of authors on the topic that talk about that. Jesus was also not one person. Jesus was just one of many gurus who happened to become the most famous and become a religion.


Posted by: code buttons Dec 13, 2007, 02:48 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Dec 13, 2007, 10:29 AM) *

Given the amount of text actually does the opposite(especially if you consider how much it varies and often contradicts each other). It hints to us that Buddha was not a single man but more like a collection of philosophers that were gathered into one pseudonym - Buddha.

Perhaps original Buddha existed but it can be compared to something like if in 1000 years people will think that there was a guy named Existentialism. Yes someone did create Existentialism - no doubt; but right now it is much more then one person or one philosophy. When we say existentialism - we mean a collection of philosophers dealing with the same topic but if you are careful you will notice that their opinions are far from reaching a common consensus.

It is btw generally accepted that Jesus did not exist. There is a number of authors on the topic that talk about that. Jesus was also not one person. Jesus was just one of many gurus who happened to become the most famous and become a religion.

The sun of god is the Son of God. I thought that was common knowledge around here. If he did exist two thousand years ago, it was just a self-declared mesiah, and an impostor. A charlattan like so many we see around even nowadays.

Posted by: Rick Dec 13, 2007, 07:51 PM

QUOTE(atha @ Dec 13, 2007, 06:58 AM) *

When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven days he could not stop laughing... Do you understand why he was laughing ?

The Cosmic Joke?

Posted by: Orbz Dec 13, 2007, 08:08 PM

QUOTE(Rick @ Dec 14, 2007, 09:51 AM) *

QUOTE(atha @ Dec 13, 2007, 06:58 AM) *

When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven days he could not stop laughing... Do you understand why he was laughing ?

The Cosmic Joke?

Mania?

Posted by: Joesus Dec 13, 2007, 11:16 PM

QUOTE
Given the amount of text actually does the opposite(especially if you consider how much it varies and often contradicts each other).

It would appear that way from an unenlightened state of mind.
QUOTE
It hints to us that Buddha was not a single man but more like a collection of philosophers that were gathered into one pseudonym - Buddha.

More likely that what Buddha experienced and spoke of was not new nor restricted to a single experience, but that all experience from an enlightened perspective becomes Unified in the stability of One presence objectified multi-dimensionally.
QUOTE
Perhaps original Buddha existed but it can be compared to something like if in 1000 years people will think that there was a guy named Existentialism.
I suppose if you were really reaching and weren't that intelligent.
QUOTE
Yes someone did create Existentialism - no doubt; but right now it is much more then one person or one philosophy.

No, someone may have given a name to a condition of experience and perception, and that may have connotations amenable to many different beliefs in the condition, but no one created it, someone discovered a name for their experience.

QUOTE
When we say existentialism - we mean a collection of philosophers dealing with the same topic but if you are careful you will notice that their opinions are far from reaching a common consensus.
Then when you say we you stretch your imagination to believe others would assume what you do and that others will accept reality as you experience it without much conscious thought.

QUOTE
It is btw generally accepted that Jesus did not exist.

First I've heard of it. I guess I don't prescribe to generally accepted ideas without first checking into what's available to the awareness.

QUOTE
There is a number of authors on the topic that talk about that. Jesus was also not one person. Jesus was just one of many gurus who happened to become the most famous and become a religion.

There are a number of spiritual authors who would say that God is not one person, and that Jesus having said, "I and my Father are One" didn't mean that Jesus was the One God.

I haven't run into the multiple Jesus theory, but I fully accept and experience the Christ as multiple manifestations within humanity.

QUOTE

When Bodhidharma became enlightened, for seven days he could not stop laughing... Do you understand why he was laughing ?

Absolutely

Posted by: atha Dec 14, 2007, 09:38 AM

Relax deeply inside yourself -- into the eye of the cyclone -- and you`ll know...

"For narrow is the gate that leadeth unto Life..."

Posted by: atha Dec 14, 2007, 09:58 AM

For Rick...

"Chess is the game of the Gods. It has infinite possibilities." Vladimir Nabokov

"At the highest level, chess is a talent to control unrelated things. It is like controlling chaos." Garry Kasparov

"The Expert Mind", Scientific American, August 2006, vol.295, no.2

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 14, 2007, 06:46 PM

Quotes quotes quotes... Where are the arguments from your mind.

Posted by: Joesus Dec 15, 2007, 02:17 AM

I believe the quotes refer to a greater truth in reality than argument.
Vision often comes in the wake of stillness and open mindedness.

Posted by: atha Dec 15, 2007, 12:39 PM

Zhenka,
When you will understand the meaning of Ka, you will stop complaining...

Zhen-KA = Zen-KA

Quote = KA - Wot ( Wot = to know ) -- Knowledge of Ka

Know = KA+Now

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 16, 2007, 01:21 AM

I am not complaining i am just criticizing you.

Posted by: atha Dec 16, 2007, 08:09 AM

"The divine souls come forth upon the earth to do the Will of their KAs..."

From the Egyptian Book of the Dead

Posted by: Deshan Dec 18, 2007, 04:58 AM

Siddharta Gautama is a historical figure. The codification and compilation of his teachings is also a historical fact. This result of this council is the Tripitaka.
To quote a religious history site:
"
After the Buddha's death, his disciple Mahakasyapa took over leadership of the Sangha. One of Mahakasyapa's first acts as the new Buddhist leader was to convene a council of 500 arhats to collect and preserve the Buddha's teachings.

The First Council, as it is known to Buddhist history, took place at Rajgir, the capital of the Magadha kingdom. The Buddha's most important disciples were asked to recite his teachings from memory.
"

Then there was the 2nd Buddhist Council. This council was convened to settle some disputes on the interpretations of Siddharta's teachings. This council led to the formation of the precursors of the Mahayana.
The Mahayana Sutras were generally accepted to be written by Buddhist monks that were against the conservatism of the early monks.

Posted by: Rick Dec 18, 2007, 04:15 PM

QUOTE(atha @ Dec 14, 2007, 06:58 AM) *

For Rick...

Thank you, atha. I read the Scientific American article. Ten years of study to become an expert in something.

Posted by: atha Dec 18, 2007, 10:02 PM

Rick, are You familiar with The Urusov Gambit ? By the way, there`s the latest book by Garry Kasparov, "How Life Imitates Chess"

Posted by: Rick Dec 20, 2007, 12:46 PM

QUOTE(atha @ Dec 18, 2007, 07:02 PM) *

Rick, are You familiar with The Urusov Gambit ? By the way, there`s the latest book by Garry Kasparov, "How Life Imitates Chess"

I have seen the Urusov Gambit in study of openings but I don't think I've ever played it. It's very aggressive. I have been known to play the Bishop's Opening occasionally. Lately, I've been experimenting with the Nimzovitch Defense (1.e4 Nc6). If you can find a copy of Nimzovitch's My System, you should read it. It's quite interesting. Aaron Nimzovitch invented hypermodernism in chess.

Kasparov is a very interesting person. I haven't read his new book. I did follow his games against Deep Blue, both matches.

Posted by: Cassox Dec 20, 2007, 05:46 PM

So you studied under what type of Buddhism? SGI right? You realize that that most all of Japanese Buddhism is based more off of Nichiren that Shakamuni. Most forms of Buddhism don't rely on "faith", master-disciple relationships, or dogmatism.

Posted by: project-2501 Dec 20, 2007, 07:07 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 18, 2007, 08:29 AM) *

QUOTE(Rinzai Dharma @ Nov 17, 2007, 05:49 AM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 16, 2007, 09:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Flex @ Nov 16, 2007, 02:28 PM) *

Is it just me, or didn't Siddhartha Gautama suggest that each much find his/her own path, and that there is no one path to enlightenment? Not to mention the eightfold path is just a guidline which is custom fit to the individuals, no different than the Golden Mean. It seems that anyone who claims to be a Buddhist to me, is not a true Buddhist, as they are not forging their own path but rather becoming indoctrinated.


Well at first it may seem to but again this type of thing is exactly what i mean. People make Buddhism into what they want to see but not what it actually is.

Maybe the problem is sometimes people use Buddhism as a cure, and sometimes it doesn't work, and this leads them to conclude that Buddhism is a farce. Stripped of all cultural trappings , verbal and linguistic complexity, in the final analysis , the ultimate goal of Buddhism is freedom-total and complete psychological freedom. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, especially if it gives you road maps and techniques to achieve it. Even the western philosophers with all their realizations and conclusions , theories and hypotheses , lumped together wouldn't match the accomplishments of the Buddha- for himself and for other people who used his teachings. The realizations of the westerns existentialists are second-hand, they did not experience freedom themselves. They don't know how. I don't think Nietzche, Kierkegaard and the rest of the gang attained this freedom during their lifetime. Their realizations reached their brains but not their hearts , their minds but not their souls. Maybe this is comparable to your experience. The Buddha as much as possible avoided speculations precisely to stop people from turning his teachings to an organized philosopy or religion. The Buddha's teaching is all about freedom and how to achieve it. All the rest are useless chatters and unnecessary additions that hardly do justice to the true psychological genius of all time - the Buddha.


I assume your knowledge of Buddhism is limited to the Myth of Buddha(his life) but you never actualy read the suttas because again you are making shit up on the go....

If you want to simplify what he taught to one sentence it would be "suffering and how to put a stop to it"
in all my years of studying Buddhism i never heard word "freedom" used even once. Except maybe for "freedom from reaction". His focus of thought was human suffering. Freedom is a existential concept that he does not deal with at all. Nietzsche and the rest were perfectly aware of Buddhism while writing their works btw... It puzzles me how people like you keep coming up with these I KNOW THE ESSENCE OF BUDDHISM AND THE REST GOT IT WRONG type of responses. In my time i read like billion of them. Some will say Buddhism is about detachment, some love, some activism, some rebellion, some freedom...

Your response equals to a statement such as Christianity is about loving your neighbor! Isnt it like .000001 percent of it? It is like picking one sentence out of the whole bible and completely ignore the rest 99.9%. You did the same with Buddhism and your essentialist approach.


Can I just say that I have had virtually the same path as you so I completely understand. First was xtianity, which is garbage, then I got seduced by Buddhism. Luckily I never got into it as deep as you, however. I have been to china and Thailand where the complete dogma of Buddhism in all its superstitious glory can be found and seen.

However I think that this is true of all religions, eventually the dogma becomes a trap. That is not to say that some of what Buddhism says is not true. It is these sayings that make Buddhism so alluring in the first place, there is definitely some logic in there. I think the key is always to take from it what makes sense to you and leave the rest.

My main query to you is this, why do you say that the enlightenment experience is a myth? What leads you to believe such things? Surely even the experiences referenced in this website http://brainmeta.com/index.php?p=expandconsciousness the experience of enhanced consciousness etc should be enough to at least perturb your mind direction in this way?http://brainmeta.com/index.php?p=expandconsciousness

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 20, 2007, 07:37 PM

Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist notion of Enlightenment. There are probably a lot more definitions of enlightenment as there are of God. I just do not believe we can know everything about universe in a glimpse of realization but then again i admit i do not know but i saw no evidence of it being true - ever.

Posted by: Cassox Dec 20, 2007, 07:48 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Dec 20, 2007, 04:37 PM) *

Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist notion of Enlightenment. There are probably a lot more definitions of enlightenment as there are of God. I just do not believe we can know everything about universe in a glimpse of realization but then again i admit i do not know but i saw no evidence of it being true - ever.



Ah. So then do you acknowledge that Buddhism can bring about personal growth? Ok, I knew a man who was initially quite racist. He used his ignorant rage as a focal point to workout, train etc. When he was older and had grown past his racism, he rescued a black man who was being beaten by a few young whites.

Now was his initial thought process ignorant? yes. But one can achieve growth THROUGH ignorance. It gave him the strength to stop a number of people trying to hurt someone. Afterwards, he actually spoke to these guys and tried to make them be more compassionate. He got through (somewhat) because he came from a similar background. You've probably grown through these experiances regardless of the fact that they are "superstition."

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 20, 2007, 07:54 PM

QUOTE(Cassox @ Dec 20, 2007, 07:48 PM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Dec 20, 2007, 04:37 PM) *

Well i am specifically fighting the Buddhist notion of Enlightenment. There are probably a lot more definitions of enlightenment as there are of God. I just do not believe we can know everything about universe in a glimpse of realization but then again i admit i do not know but i saw no evidence of it being true - ever.



Ah. So then do you acknowledge that Buddhism can bring about personal growth? Ok, I knew a man who was initially quite racist. He used his ignorant rage as a focal point to workout, train etc. When he was older and had grown past his racism, he rescued a black man who was being beaten by a few young whites.

Now was his initial thought process ignorant? yes. But one can achieve growth THROUGH ignorance. It gave him the strength to stop a number of people trying to hurt someone. Afterwards, he actually spoke to these guys and tried to make them be more compassionate. He got through (somewhat) because he came from a similar background. You've probably grown through these experiances regardless of the fact that they are "superstition."


How you deduced that from what i said puzzles me... And what it has to do with anything i said puzzles me even more.

Posted by: Cassox Dec 20, 2007, 08:07 PM

lol.

What I'm trying to say is that while your not "saved" by Jesus, or "enlightened" by Buddha, you've probably gained something out of your seeking.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Dec 20, 2007, 08:09 PM

QUOTE(Cassox @ Dec 20, 2007, 08:07 PM) *

lol.

What I'm trying to say is that while your not "saved" by Jesus, or "enlightened" by Buddha, you've probably gained something out of your seeking.


That is defiantly true : )

Posted by: tony Apr 18, 2008, 01:38 AM

Hi All,

I don't know if you guys still watching this topic. It seems already inactive for quite some time.
I'm a Buddhist from Indonesia. To all of you, especially zhenka11230, I would like to say that I'm here to help you understand Buddhism. But that if you still interested in. You may raise a question and we could discuss here. All of your confusion are due to lack of study and a little bit rush in practice (meditation). I wish we could talk in this forum.

Best wishes
Tony

Posted by: aniccha Jan 05, 2009, 08:55 PM

Hi Zhenka, besides Zen meditation, have you tried other forms of meditation like Samatha or Vipassana?

In Buddhism, Ive learnt that pure intellectual concepts and philosophical debates arent sufficient to fully understand the Dharma. We have always been taught to experience the truth of reality ourselves and meditation is the main approach in doing so. There are many forms of meditation presented in Buddhism, each catered to suit the capabilities of different individuals.

Just curious, what were your experiences like in meditation and what have you gained? If there is anyone who likes to share their experiences, please do so. thanks smile.gif

Posted by: Phi Jan 06, 2009, 04:22 AM

Teach me...
http://www.starterupsteve.com/swf/teachme.html

Posted by: trojan_libido Jan 07, 2009, 03:04 AM

I'd like to know more about the Buddhism you practice, and its rituals.

Posted by: Phi Jan 07, 2009, 09:28 PM

I'm glad you asked! We'll meet up sometime and I'll teach you

Posted by: trojan_libido Jan 08, 2009, 03:05 AM

I actually want to go to Vegas to do some poker playing, maybe I can look you up? smile.gif

Posted by: Phi Jan 08, 2009, 07:41 AM

QUOTE(trojan_libido @ Jan 08, 2009, 12:05 AM) *

I actually want to go to Vegas to do some poker playing, maybe I can look you up? smile.gif


I'm poor, but in any other circumstance...sure

Posted by: trojan_libido Jan 08, 2009, 10:45 AM

Haha, I meant I want to make the trip over to the US of A just to play poker in the casinos all day. You living there is simply a bonus to philosophical musings between games. You really shouldn't play poker all day long, your attention span goes south then your chips follow. smile.gif

Do you live far from the main strip? Oh and don't worry, I've no plans to come to the USA and this isn't an official 'I'm coming to tea at your house' or anything biggrin.gif

Posted by: Phi Jan 08, 2009, 09:02 PM

I'm far but it takes 10 minutes for me to get there. I honestly can't spend more than 2 hrs at a casino, otherwise I literally feel dirty and converted to another sheep. Most of us who live here tend to stay away from the lifestyle, although if we have cash we pawn the local areas. Tea wouldn't be a problem, as long as its papaver derived. Only 5 more months to go...

Posted by: trojan_libido Jan 09, 2009, 03:28 AM

Feeling dirty is a state of mind, maybe bathing in the infinite light whilst sitting cross legged on a straw mat might clean your spirit smile.gif

Whats happening for you in 5 months?

Posted by: Phi Jan 09, 2009, 07:47 AM

leaving las vegas because im free from the injustice system

Posted by: code buttons Jan 09, 2009, 08:37 AM

QUOTE(Phi @ Jan 09, 2009, 04:47 AM) *

leaving las vegas because im free from the injustice system

I hate gambling myself. But I'm planning on going to Vegas hopefully sometime soon to see "LOVE", the Cirque DuSoleil's Beatles rendition at the Mirage: http://www.mirage.com/entertainment/love.aspx
Have you seen it and what was your impression?

Posted by: jhonny Aug 08, 2009, 04:36 PM

Zhenka, I think you are ready to start to practice Buddhism now.

I enjoy reading this conversation, and specially your replies Zhenka, because you speak words similar to my own thoughts and feelings.

I have done a similar journey. Specific in my case, I realize I was attracted to Buddhism much because of personal distress caused long before I found Buddhism. I finally resolved my actual problems by other means and at the same time rejected Buddhism and all other religions.

I learned one good lesson after I rejected my engagement in Buddhism: to not believe in anything blindly. You rejected Christianity, then Buddhism, but do you believe blindly in something else right now? How do you know?

Posted by: Lindsay Aug 09, 2009, 07:16 PM

QUOTE(Rick @ Nov 14, 2007, 02:46 PM) *
... I was supposed to be a Protestant (born into it), but I never believed the unbelievable, so I went my own way too.
Rick, I had a similar experience and went my own way. Good for you! It is called being a Protestant!--one who witnesses for (pro) what he really believes (testant--one who witnesses for his belifes.) smile.gif

In Scotland, Protestants were called Presbyterians--we are our own priests (presbyters).

BTW, the great inventor, Nicola Tesla, was a Christian. He said that the ideals of Christianity and Buddhism could be combined and this could form the basis of a good and useful spiritual philosophy of service to humanity.

Book on: HOW CHRISTIANITY CHANGED THE WORLD--including science. Find the contents and scroll down to the link on science and Christianity.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=qf9nq9lFwyQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Rick, how do you feel about spirituality?

Posted by: Rick Aug 10, 2009, 04:01 PM

What's it good for?

Posted by: Joesus Aug 10, 2009, 05:21 PM

It was good for me....

Posted by: Rick Aug 10, 2009, 06:58 PM

Good feelings can be useful or deceptive.

Posted by: Joesus Aug 10, 2009, 08:18 PM

That's true. It's been gooder sometimes than that, so maybe it wasn't so Good..

Posted by: Lindsay Aug 11, 2009, 02:42 PM

QUOTE(Rick @ Aug 10, 2009, 03:58 PM) *
Good feelings can be useful or deceptive.
IMO, same with spirituality!

Posted by: Rick Aug 11, 2009, 06:06 PM

Janice Joplin sang:

Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues.
Feeling good was good enough for me.

Posted by: Joesus Aug 12, 2009, 01:43 AM

And now she's dead. Guess that was good enough for her too.

Posted by: Rick Aug 12, 2009, 12:00 PM

Everyone dies. So it's good enough for everyone.

Posted by: Joesus Aug 12, 2009, 12:36 PM

QUOTE(Rick @ Aug 12, 2009, 05:00 PM) *

Everyone dies. So it's good enough for everyone.

That's what most believe is the extent of life. You're born, you grab what you can get that feels good...and then you die. Finis, kaput, end of story... And for some the idea, any idea that is assumed, is good enough for everyone.

Posted by: GodConsciousness Aug 13, 2009, 07:51 AM

I have taught classes in eastern philosophy and about to teach a course in world religions this upcoming fall. So this discussion has been very interesting on a personal and professional level. My students often echo one of the sentiments of the OP- namely that Buddhism seems to rob a person of desire and goal-seeking. If we don't have desires and goals, will that lead us into depression as the OP seems to indicate? How can non-attachment be combined with a lack of desires?

I try to explain that Buddhism is attempting to curtail our selfish and sensual desires based primarily in the individual ego, but is Ayn Rand's philosophy perhaps more appropriate in asserting the strength of the individual to pursue and achieve greatness? A level of strong desire and personal motivation to achieve well-defined goals may be necessary in the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.

Posted by: Joesus Aug 13, 2009, 11:58 AM

Both Jesus and Buddha taught the same. Jesus spent several years in the East with the Eastern Masters both studying and teaching before his historical baptism and subsequent Journey with his collection of disciples.

The idea of non-attachment has come to mean celibacy and seclusion, to become a monk or a nun in most circles of religion that are tied by belief to the origins of Buddha and Jesus.
Non-attachment and the reality of being desire-less in this context means to be in the world and not of it.

Both Jesus and Buddha spoke of spirit. Jesus stated his Union with spirit which he called the Father (the un-manifest) also called the Budhi in Buddhism. But to understand the Father or the Budhi one has to understand the nature of ones Self and in doing so one realizes they are the Same as the Father or the Budhi as was mentioned by Jesus when he said, "I and my Father are ONE". This statement is from immersion of awareness in Spirit, and in a constant conscious state.

Any adult can observe the actions of a child when it becomes attached to an object such as a toy. When the object is taken away or if it breaks while the child is playing with it the child cries. In Eastern teachings this is called suffering. When the mind is conditioned to attach itself and its idea of happiness to an object or objects it suffers when the object or objects are taken or broken. As an adult we think to ourselves the child will get over the toy and it will be replaced with another one. But what the adult doesn't often realize is that he/she still retains this behavior even as he/she observes it in the tantrums and emotional reactions of a child that has attached itself to an object. We buy a new car and fear for its shine and appeal as we drive it to the grocery store and park it between two cars whose owners may open their door and ding the new paint. We apply this kind of thinking and attachment to everything when we think that these things are what give us happiness. Shopping addicts seek the thrill of buying something new and owning more stuff. Addicts of every kind abound in the need to satisfy the senses with drugs, sex, television, movies, gambling, ownership of objects and people in relationships.

Non-attachment has come to mean to some people who call themselves Christian or Buddhist that one become a celibate in isolation, or to become a monk or a nun, but that is not at all what either Jesus or Buddha taught. They taught that fulfillment does not come from something or from anything that is temporary. There is no relative object or relationship that can last forever and so all relationships with the world are temporary. Happiness then is temporary, and contentment a measure of happiness weighed against known alternatives in a temporary world.

Both Eastern masters (Jesus and Buddha) spoke of "being in the world but not of it". Meaning, when the mind is immersed in the awareness of spirit it observes the world of the senses but in observation witness all thought feeling and action.
People like to ride on a rollercoaster because it stimulates the senses and one knows it is temporary. People do not like riding a rollercoaster if it is their life and it goes up and down. Up in successful attainment of pleasures and then down when those achievements are lost and pleasure wanes into sadness. When the ego (which is a mechanism that translates the outer world into sense oriented realities) becomes the master to awareness it locks ones self into the illusions of conditioning, which is attaching memories to objects of perception.
If you fear snakes and mistake a rope for a snake and have a heart attack and die then you died from an illusion of attachment to something that isn't what you thought it was. The older one gets in attachments to thoughts and ideas the less innocence there is to perceive the potential in anything as the past is heavily applied to the object of sense orientation.
There is a saying,"You can't teach an old dog new tricks". This can be applied to the individual who has attached themselves to an identity of self and the world around themselves. The world is never really experienced new, it is always experienced from the memories of the past. The mind is never present in the moment or in the "Now" as it has been coined in the "New age".
Unlike the child who before its conditioning experienced the world with new-ness, wonder and bliss, the average octogenarian has accumulated an identification with his/her past experiences and never sees the world as they did before all of that conditioning. Memories of what is pleasureable and painful haunt every experience, the subconscious driving every experience with the attachment to the past.
Desire then becomes a need to protect the mind and body by seeking to avoid anything and everything that is painful and to draw forth only that which is pleasurable. Nothing is seen or experienced with any innocence or with full cognitive awareness. Every rope is a potential snake and death comes of the stress associated to past impressions.

To walk the pathless path one needs to remove themselves from the road traveled as subconscious conditioning. To become unattached to the world and not of it one needs to remove the awareness from its addictions to conditioning and identification with the past.
Both of the Eastern Masters taught their disciples to take their awareness from the outer world inward to the Self or spirit which is immortal. When the awareness is firmly seated in spirit the world unfolds itself and is witnessed as the reflection of thought and identification.

We can easily observe another who identifies with their thoughts in low self esteem or with their pride, or with their accumulation of experience as the product of experiences. We can also see in the newborn a potential and we often say to them, "You can be whatever you wish to be." By the time that child is 30 that potential has been squashed by the beliefs of ones abilities as they were measured and graded and compared to others in schools and in social interactions. When we teach our own children the meaning of success and believe ourselves in the limitations of our actions and abilities we deny ourselves that potential of which we spoke when we said to the newborn, "You can be whatever you want to be." Because we are attached to the world around us in the way we believe it exists and we exist in it.

The Eastern Masters taught that all potential lay in innocence (potential of the Now) and not in conditioning and identification with the body and its collection of thoughts beliefs and experiences which are always changing and vary from one individual to another.

Those that have become disgruntled by what they have been taught by their teachers who call themselves Christian or Buddhist either have been taught by someone who does not know of what they speak, or have not themselves understood of what someone who knows speaks of. Generally speaking the ego which has locked itself into the meanings of pleasure, or happiness or even enlightenment without having known of what they speak of, find themselves frustrated by the determination to try and make the world fit into the quart jar of personal belief.

Desire without conditioning is rarely experienced or witnessed by one who is attached to the relative world. Only the desire of conditions and belief are experienced by those who know nothing other than the relative world and it's temporary appearances.

Posted by: Rick Aug 13, 2009, 01:05 PM

QUOTE(GodConsciousness @ Aug 13, 2009, 05:51 AM) *
... is Ayn Rand's philosophy perhaps more appropriate in asserting the strength of the individual to pursue and achieve greatness?

No. One can achieve much, even greatness, without being an asshole about it. Barack Obama, for example. He and other great Democrats understand that it's not all about the "I got mine, screw you" philosophy. We are all in this together, and together we can achieve greatness.

Posted by: msmother Nov 03, 2009, 06:50 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM) *

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.


Posted by: Lao_Tzu Nov 03, 2009, 04:44 PM

None of this is Zhenka's fault... (Zhenka, if you're still around, please forgive me for writing about you in the 3rd person). However, many of his (?) problems seem to have arisen from his attitude towards Buddhism. Many of them also arose from plain, simple (and tragic) misunderstandings of it. None of these are problems with Buddhism per se -- they could happen with any religion, or even with a nonreligious philosophy, if you go overboard on it.

To consider a philosophy circumspectly and carefully, to test it rigorously against your experience, and then (if it works for you) to integrate it in your life -- that is a tenable, useful process, and one that even an 'antireligious' person could approve of, at least in principle. But, from what I have read, it's not what happened here.

In the beginning, it seems that Zhenka thought that this or that religion of philosophy contained the ultimate ("objective") truth and would make him happy -- even though, ironically, Buddhism warns explicitly on that very point (e.g. the Tibetan saying: "seeking happiness outside yourself is like waiting for the sun in a cave facing north", or warning against become attached to the dharma). In the middle, he declined to engage his critical faculties in questioning what he witnessed in his friends and in the teachings (again, ironically, despite the Buddha's explicit encouragement of rigorous, critical questioning. Lots of people, like those friends he describes, are on unrealistic Buddhist 'trips' and sooner or later they, like all trippers, will inevitably find their trip coming up against reality, whereupon they will come down to earth, with a rather painful bump.)

In the end Zhenka became jaded -- and, at that stage, it's healthy that he did. But had his original approach been more realistic, and had he been more willing to engage critically with his experiences and the teachings, things could have been different.

Could have been. On the other hand, Buddhism is definitely not for everyone. When the Dalai Lama was asked "what is the best religion?" he didn't say Buddhism, he said "your religion". Christianity works wonders for some, Buddhism for others, atheistic humanism for others, etc. It may well be that Buddhism and Zhenka (like Nietzsche and Mother Teresa, or jackhammers and sewer pipes) simply don't go together very well, even though they're all pretty cool in their proper context.

My intention here is to make it clear that the 'problem' in this case is not with Buddhism as a religion or a philosophy. But I also want to express, not as a Buddhist but as a human, that I am sorry, in a heartfelt way, that Zhenka had a rough time. It can be a very confusing, harsh world sometimes. I'm sorry about any and all of the rough times that he and anyone has had with anything. This in particular seems like a very sad series of events. I hope that Zhenka will discover the peace and happiness that is beyond all labels, religions and philosophies.

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 03, 2009, 08:41 PM

Since my last post i had changed a lot, but most important out of all the changes was probably my realization that most if not all philosophy is b.s. Combination of Weitingstein, Quines "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", the Duheim Doctrine of Holism, Logical Positivism, American Pragmatism in combination completely eliminate anything useful for philosophy to do. Everything is to the root empirical -- even logic.

So if we want to be happy -- we do neuroscience and see what makes us happy. The brain is an organ after all. That goes for all questions that are supposedly the domain of philosophy. If science cannot answer it -- then philosophy surely cannot either.

My point is, yeah Buddhism makes some interesting hypothesis. What i am interested in is controlled experiments and data, not another "opinion" or meaningless semantics. So far, the combination of supplements, nootropics, CBT and spiriting makes me reasonably happy and i don't see what the hell is so special about Buddhism anymore.

I am still convinced it is just another religion, just another meme.

Posted by: code buttons Nov 03, 2009, 09:56 PM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 03, 2009, 05:41 PM) *

Since my last post i had changed a lot, but most important out of all the changes was probably my realization that most if not all philosophy is b.s. Combination of Weitingstein, Quines "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", the Duheim Doctrine of Holism, Logical Positivism, American Pragmatism in combination completely eliminate anything useful for philosophy to do. Everything is to the root empirical -- even logic.

So if we want to be happy -- we do neuroscience and see what makes us happy. The brain is an organ after all. That goes for all questions that are supposedly the domain of philosophy. If science cannot answer it -- then philosophy surely cannot either.

My point is, yeah Buddhism makes some interesting hypothesis. What i am interested in is controlled experiments and data, not another "opinion" or meaningless semantics. So far, the combination of supplements, nootropics, CBT and spiriting makes me reasonably happy and i don't see what the hell is so special about Buddhism anymore.

I am still convinced it is just another religion, just another meme.

Thanks for coming back! So, based on your last post, I am to assume that you've taken a turn towards reductionism?

Posted by: zhenka11230 Nov 04, 2009, 05:23 PM

I am not sure reductionism is a useful term. Yeah i do break concepts into pieces when it is required, and put them back together when not.

Posted by: Buddhist=) Nov 22, 2009, 04:13 AM

Hi zhenka11230,

I am new to forums, and in fact i think this is my 1st post in any forum. I hope I could share with you what I have learn from practising Buddhism. I apologize and regretted that only until just now that I see your posts/know you have problems with Buddhism.

Yes, Buddhism has a lot of philosophies but if you think that being a Buddhist means only learning and/or just following and/or memorizing philosophies, then I think you have gone off Buddhism. If I am not mistaken, Buddha himself said that never believe anything you read or hear or ... and so forth.

With regards to empirical, you hit the jackpot =) you need to experience/'directly see it yourself' to get/know the truth =) That is why Buddhism encourages meditation. On some of your posts, you are right, you should feel depress initially while learning Buddhism. Yea again you hit the jackpot again on controlled experiments and data, in Buddhism, with many methods available (but you do not need to follow them if you do not wish), you are the experiment, the specimen, the scientist and everything needed for the experiment.

I agree with you that neuroscience or other medical studies or drugs and so forth may get you happy but I am certain that it is impermanent. That is, once the medicine and so forth wear out, you will be depress again, won't you? In Buddhism, we are suppose to discover/experience the true nature of things or some people put it as 'see things as they are' (mind you that it is not always easy to be done). Once we are able to do that, our fear, hatred or delusions or any other negative emotions will go off. Then, we will be able to confront the problem with ease.

Easy to say, hard to be done. Let me give you an example, let say you are having an headache or any other pain (not too severe of course, if not you should be in the hospital or so). (I assume you have some experience in meditation) just 'watch' or monitor what is happening to that part of your body. Initially you might be agitated or 'interfering thoughts' (to stop you from doing it) or so, just relax and go on watching (that is, you might notice 'pain, no pain, pain, no pain,...' or similar). Mind you, you might think 'how suffering this is' or similar stuff but this is only to show you how 'seeing the things as they are' helps you. After some time, you fear or aversion (or other negative feelings) towards the pain will go off. With a peace of mind, you will know what is appropriate to do to solve the problem. Say for the headache case, with a peace of mind, you could rest in peace without the headache disturbing you and/or continue to watch it and/or take medicine. Soon later, I believe your headache will be gone. What actually happens? you have cut through the delusion of 'the pain is really terrible or so' and see it as just pain - a feeling... some information...or so. By no means I am saying you should reduce anything to something else. This is where you mention Buddhism talk about beyond words.. I can't explain to you how you should understand the pain as it is but rather you have to experience it yourself, but first, deal with all the thoughts (this is where you complain that you got more depress, more on this later) and emotions as they interfere with your 'controlled experiment' (to see for yourself what pain really is). I am not saying that this is easy or you could 'see the pain as it is' and not affected by it, but at least less affected by it.

So what is the difference from you just taking the medicine (method1)? After all, both method works and maybe the medicine works must faster. Yes your right, medicine may work much faster. But once you get the headache again in future, you will still suffer from the headache (at least until the time you take the medicine) if you just deal with the headache with method 1. On the other hand, if you are 'good at see the things as they are' (many Buddhism methods available), you know the 'real nature of the pain'. Thus, the pain will just be the 'feeling... some information...' and it would not be any 'real problem to you'. Just like once you are young (I suppose) you are afraid of going in to dark rooms, and once you realise that dark rooms are 'just no light' and everything in the room are just the same as they are in light (I know this explanation is dumb but I don't know how to explain and hope you get it). Going back to the pain, by no means I am saying do not take medicine or take any appropriate steps but just see the real nature of things.

Most of the time, mind tend to 'play tricks', by exaggerating how the things are, such as how pain really is. Moreover, what we learn last time such as 'pain are really bad', which I wouldn't say is wrong, but having it pestering you while having headache and getting you feeling so depress and so on, is suffering. Many times, the problem is not the main thing that cause us to suffer. Rather, its our deluded mind, which does not apprehend the things as they are, that tortures us.

From personal experience, all problems that I encountered have either be solved by just 'seeing the real nature of things' or I will know what appropriate things to do, without any negative emotions or negative thoughts. Compared to last time, before I learn/understand Buddhism, it is a new life to me. But I must say that I did gone through a short period (few days or so) of being depress when understanding the 'real nature of things'. Note that this is not the problem of Buddhism but it is just how the things in nature are.

Repeated many times before, 'seeing the true nature of things' is really one of the most important things in Buddhism. Once you 'see the things as it is' and gained wisdom, you can then create your own philosophies =) I hope this post help. By no means, I am trying to get you into Buddhism or trying to convince you that I am right in any way or hoping you to thank me. I am doing this solely because you seem to be having problems =) And again let me remind you that do not just listen to anything I typed here =) I apologise if I have offended or hurt anyone and may all beings find happiness and stay happy ^^

Posted by: Nirvana Nov 20, 2011, 01:52 AM

Anti-reason movement. => Mahayana idea, not what the Buddha actually taught. All we need is the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path.

Belief in magical karma. => Not a core Buddhism. People in India in the Buddha's time believed it as much as we believe gravity today, so naturally the Buddha also believed it. In any case, it has nothing to do what you can benefit from his teaching.

Aversion towards life. => Not sure where you got this. If anything, Buddhism is to help people live life in the fullest sense.

Rebirth. => same as karma, irrelevant. The Buddha's teaching is perfectly applicable even if there's no rebirth.

Belief in Enlightenment. => Another Mahayana idea. There's nothing to realize. The Buddha already figured it out and told us about it in no uncertain terms. The goal of Buddhism is not Enlightenment. It is Nirvana, "Blowing out of the 3 poisons." and you do it by taking the eightfold path.

Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind. => Modern psychologists confirm mindfulness does alleviate mental stress. If it strains your mind, you're not doing it right. In any case, it's not to "cure all problems" but to train your mind which requires effort.

Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary. => ditto


Belief that life IS suffering. => Only the samsaric life is suffering. The Buddha clearly shows you the solution to the problem.

Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily) => This is not really a unique Buddhist idea anymore. All kinds of people throughout the history from Greek philosophers to eastern thinkers and modern day psychology confirm desire, greed, obsession, and craving aren't desirable. It's like a common sense. Why would anyone want to have a burning desire for anything? By the way, "no desire" is a symptom of depression, not the cause and we aren't talking about the same desire here anyway. It's more like motivation while the desire Buddhism talks about is craving and clinging.

Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom). => True, Buddhism is not a solution for world peace. But it's not a reason to abandon it. It still helps people immensely individually. You don't abolish psychology because it doesn't promote democracy, do you?

Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly. => Problem of all modern religion which is ripe for abuse. Actually, it's always been a problem for all organized religions. If you can't find a qualified teacher, do it alone. It's still better than not doing it at all.

Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself. => see "karma" above

Selfish escapism. => Good to have lofty goals for the sake of other human beings, but please, save yourself first and you do not need to renounce the world to practice Buddhism and benefit from it.

Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent. => Again, Mahayana idea.

False hope given to people. => You will probably level this kind of criticism to all religion and philosophies, not just Buddhism, so, I'll just skip it.

Self righteousnesses. => ditto

Masked utilitarianism. => Another attack on Mahayana aspect. In any case, I'm not interested in ethics, it's not that hard for me. I believe if people can draw some psychological help from Buddhism, it's already a great success. We don't even have to talk about Nirvana. It's like worrying about how to finish a marathon when you can barely walk.

Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. => The eightfold path is very specific on what you need to do and "chase happiness" isn't one of them. Happiness comes naturally when you follow the path. If there's anything Buddhism doesn't want you to do, it's "chasing" anything.

Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal. => You are almost guaranteed to get happy "while" following the path and if and when you attain Nirvana. In any case, happiness, by nature, isn't something that can be grasped directly, it's like trying to grab a handful of air. You can't do that. It can only happen as a by-product. If you say, what about Nirvana then? I don't know what it will be like. But then, I don't really care. It probably won't happen to me anyway. Why bother with something with zero practicality? If you can become a far happier, stable, peaceful, strong, confident with character and live a life with some sense of meaning, purpose, and worth, shouldn't that be enough already? We can worry about all the ideals, truth and other novel concepts afterward, not now.

Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion) => craving, anger, ignorance, old age, sickness, and death, that's the reality. He called it unsatisfactory, not hell. But no matter how you call it, I have to agree it is undesirable. I don't believe in just having a positive attitude and ignoring the reality makes you happy.

Posted by: ADGujral Jan 30, 2012, 06:20 AM

I am extremely irritated by the Buddhist practice. I was also drawn toward it, seeing some of my "Happy" and energetic friends who would swear by this practice. Later they would call me almost all the time, to ask how many hours I chanted or did Gongyo.....at one point I thought religion is a very personal thing & anyone making loud noises by chanting in cars, airplanes etc is simply showing off to the world, how karmically superior they are.

I feel this can also lead to schizophrenia. I've seen people practicing Buddhism and they only become delusional day by day. They learn whatever they do to teach others, not realizing that the spiritual practice was meant for self-correction & not picking on others around you. Basically Buddhism works on the Human Psyche and thrive on making people fearful......they are making this as a cult practice, their leaders are all manipulative & very materialistic.

I am so glad to have gotten rid of foolish ladies who were after me selling Buddhism.










QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM) *

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.


Posted by: WHAT IS WHAT Feb 15, 2012, 11:10 PM

Hi all,

I just want to share this, which I think is the fruit one could (or more correctly: should) expect from practicing Buddha Dharma.

The Essence of Interdependent Origination

"All dharmas (everything in the realms of samsara) are related with cause and effect. The Enlightened One has taught that cause and effect are the origin of reality. Freedom comes from realising that cause and effect are together."

Sarwa Manggalam

Posted by: code buttons Feb 17, 2012, 09:30 PM

QUOTE(WHAT IS WHAT @ Feb 15, 2012, 08:10 PM) *

Hi all,

I just want to share this, which I think is the fruit one could (or more correctly: should) expect from practicing Buddha Dharma.

The Essence of Interdependent Origination

"All dharmas (everything in the realms of samsara) are related with cause and effect. The Enlightened One has taught that cause and effect are the origin of reality. Freedom comes from realising that cause and effect are together."

Sarwa Manggalam

Thanks, Datta-Tsunami!!!

Posted by: Mystic1 Jun 21, 2012, 04:35 PM

QUOTE(code buttons @ Feb 17, 2012, 06:30 PM) *

QUOTE(WHAT IS WHAT @ Feb 15, 2012, 08:10 PM) *

Hi all,

I just want to share this, which I think is the fruit one could (or more correctly: should) expect from practicing Buddha Dharma.

The Essence of Interdependent Origination

"All dharmas (everything in the realms of samsara) are related with cause and effect. The Enlightened One has taught that cause and effect are the origin of reality. Freedom comes from realising that cause and effect are together."

Sarwa Manggalam

Thanks, Datta-Tsunami!!!



Hi

I am new to this forum. I have read some but not all of the responses on this thread and I would like to contribute.

For almost 15 years now I have been visiting a Buddhist monastery at least once a week. I even took a lower ordination and stayed their for almost a year. In addition I have met many, many other monks in different places. I would say therefore that I am reasonably well placed to express an opinion on this subject.

I would say that the original poster is right but for the wrong reasons.

Buddhist culture often is a farce. The net result is largely and necessarily the direct opposite of what the Buddha intended.

The problem is that Buddhism has to be both elitist - centred on monks and monasteries - and democratic at the same time. The monastic tradition has given rise to a culture of mutual dependency. When you first join a Sangha you 'take dependency on the Sangha'. In the Sangha, the junior monks are 'dependent' on their seniors. All of the Sangha are dependent, being alms mendicants, on the laity who in turn are encouraged to believe that they are emotionally dependent on the Sangha for punna (pronounced poonya) which means Merit, ie good fortune, luck etc. Monks work hard at cultivating their lay support. To be honest, this is now so deeply engrained in Asian culture now that they do not need to even try too hard. Asian people are desperate to chase after monks. What you have then in Buddhism is a philosophy and practice whose first principle is that attachment causes suffering (dukkha - more accurately translated as stress or unsatisfactoryness), but whose practical expression is the very embodiment of clinging and grasping. Buddhism is the crack-cocaine of clinging and grasping. Buddhists chase monks not because they want to understand what the monks have to say but because they believe that there is some benefit to be had from admiring them. The Buddhist lay person believes that he/she is excluded from understanding the Dhamma because they are not ordained. Only monks can understand the Dhamma. If they (laity) could understand the Dhamma, they would not need monks would they? And of course they need monks, or so they think. Actually, it is the monks who need the laity not the other way round. So of course it is very much in the monks interest, if he wishes to ensure his cherished lifestyle, that he convince his lay support that they need him.

I would like to illustrate the above with dozens of funny stories which have happened to me over the years. I could go on and on and on.

Now none of this means that I think that Buddhism is rubbish. Far from it.

There is real benefit to be had from meditation.

The Dhamma is to be understood 'independently by the wise'. So you do not have to be a monk.

The Dhamma has to be experienced directly. You cannot do it vicariously. Reading books is not where it is at.
'
It is not about 'doing something in order to get something'. There is truely 'nothing to get or get rid of.' Let that sink in! Think about it. The unconditioned is just that - unconditioned. It does not depend on conditions. Therefore it is entirely natural. The only time you can be enlightened is in the present moment. Right now. Not in twently years when I have done this retreat or taken this ordination or read this book or retired to the country when I have more time etc.

So why do men and women ordain as monks and nuns? Two reasons: because they like the life; and because they can.

It is inspiring to live in according to strict moral principles without creating any suffering for yourself or others; to spend your days in contemplation. There is a monastic form and there is a certain professional pride in maintaining it. It is a way of life which clearly suits some people.

My advice - just forget all the philosphy, that is just window dressing.

Just do it.

Buddhism properly understood, is not a religion. Believe nothing! This is a great contradistinction with Christianity which is a Creed Religion where the inmates waste their mental energies creating an elaborate and entirely false mental cage into which they volunarily emprison themselves for life!


Posted by: Abolitionist Jul 19, 2012, 11:21 PM

Seeing the limits of Buddhism lead me to Abolitionism.

I have never met a master that didn't suffer or act like a human being.

Even the Buddhist scripture states that the Buddha suffered up until his death.

I do think that some Buddhist practices can be useful for stress relief and well being.




Posted by: Joesus Jul 20, 2012, 09:13 PM

QUOTE(Abolitionist @ Jul 20, 2012, 04:21 AM) *

I have never met a master that didn't suffer or act like a human being.
Interesting statement. Met a lot of masters have you?

Speaking personally, I've seen and experienced the difference between suffering, and feeling all the feelings the human body are capable of. Without thinking or feeling the bodies capabilities for thought and feeling were an an affront to the idea of being Human, there is no suffering. Suffering usually comes from feeling like something, or when anything that is experienced is thought of as forced upon ones self from some power outside of our own potential. The difference between the enlightened individual and the ignorant man is not only vision, but the tangible sensory connection to the immortal consciousness which gave birth to ones self, as well as all that is created. From that state of awareness there is no reality in personal suffering. That awareness however does not negate the reality that the ignorant man experiences himself as victim to nature and forces of the universe that are not his own forces, or his nature.
The enlightened individual can have compassion for the ignorant man but does not him/herself join in their suffering.
The idea of being human seems to have a history, yet it also has potential to reveal itself to man in future definitions that may be less superstitious than some.

If a Neanderthal who has never seen or heard of electricity and the modern day marvels we know today, were to meet modern man, we could say the modern man is more enlightened. To those who practice spirituality and have an understanding of the nature of reality but still walk among the ignorant, we could say there exists a degree of enlightenment. The Masters of historical myth have been said to have had understanding beyond the levels of the men and women of their time, but they themselves never preached that the people they met and walked among had any less of an ability to see and experience what they did.

I find it fascinating, all those who judge enlightenment or the enlightened. Those that are thinking they understand what it (enlightenment) is, and what the experience of it is. With all of that in their head, there is very little room for anything else.

QUOTE(Abolitionist @ Jul 20, 2012, 04:21 AM) *

Even the Buddhist scripture states that the Buddha suffered up until his death.

I'd be interested in what scripture you have read that makes reference to that particular belief.

http://acl.arts.usyd.edu.au/~hudson/buddhism_2.htm

Posted by: phenomenon Aug 08, 2012, 11:19 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM) *

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.


Posted by: phenomenon Aug 08, 2012, 11:41 PM

[quote name='zhenka11230' date='Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM' post='85365']
Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.
[Hi, I am new to this forum. I have had a similar story. Infact, mine was a longer journey. I jumped from one religion to another. First Hinduism, then Christianity, then Islam, then Zoroastrianism, then Buddhism, then Jainism and then perhaps what not. I do not claim that I know all of them, but, at last, I have found that I am satisfied with what I personally believe. While reading all the posts, I find that none is trying to answer the questions implied by your criticism but either correcting or buying what you said. We human beings spend a lot of our time throwing muck at one another and some guys simply join the game without knowing what the game is all about. In this way, the whole focus gets distracted. You are an individual capable of thought and contemplation. I've certain things to share (which have come about as a result of my own thought, kind of a new religion of my own). Please read them and answer if you agree or disagree.

$ Life is not suffering. Existence is suffering. Yet, the idea of sorrowful existence differs from individual to individual. A famishing child of Somalia would consider his condition sorrowful, but, perhaps, a famishing recluse would not, because he(correctly or incorrectly) believes it to be an exalted state. Each one of us wish to be an existence that is far from sorrow, again sorrow being a term whose connotation is different to different individuals.
$ Hence, we see that whatever knowledge is acquired is all based on speculation. From birth itself starts this process of speculation. "Mama- this probably means the lady I always breastfeed upon.", thus thinks a child(of course not in sentences, but he does so spontaneously). In this way, a language is learnt, a religion is learnt, a subject is learnt.
$ Therefore, truth is not absolute. Truth is conditional. Under so and so condition, X is equal to Y, otherwise, it's not. It is necessary to understand anything considering all standpoints from which the thing is understood.
$ Hence, there is (probably) not one reason for existence, not one reason for all phenomena. Karma is not the cause of all, but also not an insignificant factor altogether. Along with karma, work physical conditions( like climate, laws of motion ,etc.).
$ We are in a web of things. Now it is your choice whether you consider it sorrowful or blissful, whether you consider freedom from it blissful or merging in it for good. ]

Posted by: WHAT IS WHAT Aug 14, 2012, 04:52 AM

QUOTE(phenomenon @ Aug 08, 2012, 08:19 AM) *

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM) *

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.


When you are happy, or when you are depressed, what is the source of this happiness or unhappiness? Where does it come from, and where does it gone? This is the truth that we need to find out. Buddhist or Psychology/Philosophy can not give any guarantee for ones happiness.







Posted by: rainclear Sep 24, 2012, 02:52 PM

How do you find it out?

Is there any guarantee at all?

Posted by: Joesus Sep 25, 2012, 10:28 AM

QUOTE(rainclear @ Sep 24, 2012, 07:52 PM) *

How do you find it out?
Find what out?
QUOTE(rainclear @ Sep 24, 2012, 07:52 PM) *

Is there any guarantee at all?

Of course. Might not be the guarantee that you imagine tho. Kinda like imagining having sex before you have ever had it, and the guarantee that it being what you imagined. Or growing up into the adult and it not being what you imagined.

Posted by: forscher Dec 02, 2012, 09:32 AM

QUOTE(zhenka11230 @ Nov 14, 2007, 01:01 PM) *

Hi guys! I quit Christianity in hopes that i would rid myself of mind disease forever to only eventually be lured into Buddhism(another mind disease). I guess i could not live without meaning and a new set of beliefs which is i think quite natural to humans(human, all too human!). What attracted me at first was their anti-god and anti-Christianity attitude that prevailed throughout the followers that seemed to nurture my own hate towards those concepts.

Back then i was still a little brainwashed into thinking that there must be a true religion of some kind of divine origin, an ultimate truth. Basically i was still naively led by my desire of order. I feared chaos that would result in a world where everything is permitable and there is nothing that punishes that bad deeds or rewards the good. My mother being very "spiritual" conditioned me to desire to stay within the label "spiritual". I figured maybe Christianity was wrong but some other religions were not. I sleeked meaning and order so hard that eventually i was lured into the beautiful myth of Buddha who was enlightened and shared that objective truth of reality with us. I was promised happiness, rewards in new life and this one. I was promised answers that i could find myself.

I learned the four noble truths, i learned of many traditions and being quite philosophically inclined i found myself spending quite a lot of time trying to understand all the teachings. I learned to meditate. Back then i had many questions but i had faith that the Suttas and the Meditation will give me answers. A year passed and then another. There were only more questions and more contradictions but i still had faith. The hierarchy was supposed to have all the answers and it took me a long time to realize they didn't.

While studying Buddhism and practicing i found myself become more passive, less human, sometimes depressed and even contemplated on suicide(purely logically and mostly driven by the first noble truth - life is suffering). I was conditioned more and more to have aversion towards life and that only practice will save me - not even death can liberate. Right now i see many traditions of Buddhism as a direct road to suicide if only one element is removed - rebirth. The fear of rebirth is the only thing that keeps many Buddhist from suicide. I even know a few friends whose relatives suicided dew to Buddhism. The interesting fact is that whilst i was semi-depressed and passive i knew that i was supposed to be "happy" as seen on pictures of Buddhists masters. They always market Buddhism as the road to happiness. So i lived the illusion of happiness. I denied any feeling of unhappiness and pretended i was. Sometimes when i got way too depressed i just thought that it was due to my lack of practice and that only Buddhism would make me happy.

Any criticism of Buddhism i just rejected with some arbitrary and obscure quote that deep inside i knew was not really understood by anyone. They all claimed truth was "beyond words" and i believed them. Every time the quote did not make sense i thought that the truth was beyond so i just blindly accepted them. After a while i intellectually understood all the concepts like no-self and co-dependent origination and the four noble truth and the rest of it. But what hit me much later is that those concepts were not that "deep" or helpful. They were just some concepts by some philosophers that may or may not be helpful but i took them as some kind of divine truth. I reached some progress in meditation but i soon admitted that in fact i hated that state- it was a state of a veritable where life looses all color.

I pretended as if Buddhism was some kind of secret to life and happiness, some kind of sacred knowledge that only a few had karma to understand. I even got some Buddhist friends that i went to Buddhist class with and i found them acting happy even tho they weren't but i denied what i was seeing.

My cure was started with a book - an autobiography of one of masters where he explains that he is just a regular human and other make him to be all that. I started doubting the whole hierarchy. Another trigger to make me question was my best friend who couldn't take it anymore seeing what Buddhism was doing to me and just openly criticized me intensely. At first i got angry but now i thank him from all heart.

Soon another college semester started and luckily i was taking Psychology, Philosophy and Anthropology. I was faced with concepts like relativism, neurology, materialism, epistemology and i was learning to be more skeptical and "outside of box" type thinking.

My interest in Psychology and Philosophy grew and i found myself to be quite intelligent and talented in it. I still have hard to believing that back then i was a Buddhist - how the hell did i fall into that trap? I consider myself intelligent but i guess it has little to do with that. It is just a play on our desires of order and meaning. We fear chaos, uncertainty and permanent death.

The next and final step was Nietzsche, Sarte and other Existential philosophers that knew perfectly well how i felt and showed me another way to cure it - through freedom, choice and responsibility. Through individuality and facing of truth, through accepting rather then running away. Through giving life my own meaning and my own goals. Through new ideals.

Well that basically more or less brings us to where i am right now. And it is time for some criticism. I don't want to go into details but i will just list some things i find terribly wrong.

Anti-reason movement.
Belief in magical karma.
Aversion towards life.
Rebirth.
Belief in Enlightenment.
Mindfulness as promised to cure all problems while generally only creating more strain on the mind.
Meditation being promised a cure for many psychological problems which it never solves or does only temporary.
Belief that life IS suffering.
Belief that desire is bad causing people to get depressed(no desire = depression easily)
Non-dual teachings that make people passive, indifferent and easily fallen under suppression of government(although always denied and instead marketed as being a source of compassion, truth and wisdom).
Master-student relationship where student follows everything blindly.
Belief that all bad things are caused by Karma and that one should not be cured but left to suffer to "purify" oneself.
Selfish escapism.
Impossible ideals that only cause inner tension as they go against our nature and cause us to suppress the shadow to amazing extent.
False hope given to people.
Self righteousnesses.
Masked utilitarianism.
Constant chase of happiness resulting in paradox because when you chase happiness it causes sadness. Happiness only happens as byproduct but never as the goal.
Thinking of this reality as almost hell(what Nietzsche would criticize as other worldly religion)

Everything Buddhism promised had only resulted in the opposite effect.

If anyone had similar experiences - please share. Any comments are welcome except if you are gonna tell me that "i just got Buddhism wrong and misunderstood". I was one of these people telling others this kind of comments and believe me no- i got it right. I studied Buddhism long and hard and gave it plenty of chance. I was always leading philosopher in all my Buddhist classes.

Today i am very glad to be free of it. I am much more happier, realistic and enthusiastic about life. I am a Psychology/Philosophy major and perhaps psychology had became my religion but hey at least it is practical.

Thank you for reading, please comment.



Hello Zhenka! Your comments are very interesting. All comments of this topic are very interesting and they helped me to understand much better some things about religion.

The issue is that I think you have also a bias towards religions(at particular Christianity and Buddhism) . I mean, you have expected that some men in the upper hierarchy were ''semi-gods'' who knew the ''truth'' . I don't know if such people exist, but if they exist they would be few(extremly few) and I think their approach would only be closer to the truth, not the truth..

Christianity and Buddhism( etc.) are not ''only'' about books and learning. Ancient western philosophy was also not only for learning. It was for experience and living.

Of course there exist many people in all religions and vocations who don't have the right attitude , who suffer, who have a hypocritical attitude etc.

The point is to look at the ideal, and not to look at people .

Greetings !

Posted by: Joesus Dec 02, 2012, 09:42 AM

QUOTE(forscher @ Dec 02, 2012, 02:32 PM) *

The point is to look at the ideal, and not to look at people .

I deals come from people..

Posted by: 2012 Dec 28, 2012, 09:14 PM

Hi. First post. I stumbled upon this thread in this forum while looking for buddhism and its practices. It has been an entertaining read.

I just wanted to add a word of caution when discussing - and especially when asserting - religious practice. Zhenka, the original poster, had a rough time with buddhism and couldn't make it work for him. He claims, and I'm loosely paraphrasing, that buddhism, like all other religions, is bullshit. That its teachings are a collection of practices and ideas derived from people just like us. He rejects the teachings as being false based on his experience, knowledge, study, etc.

Next we have his opposite, Joesus. With spectacular condescension, Joesus (and others) propose that Zhenka was simply misinformed, did not learn the practices correctly or lacks information regarding enlightement. When pushed in one or other direction, the supporters of buddhism decline to push back, but instead step to the side and let the question go by entirely.

My argument comes implied in Joesus' last post: "Ideals come from people". This suggests there is no standard for enlightement, but that each of us must find our own path to enlightement and Buddha's teachings are merely a guide; the starting point, if you will. This also suggests that not only the path is subjective but the destination as well!

But if this is true and if we can't define enlightement (some of us haven't achieved it, those who have can't put it into words), then how do we get to it? More importantly, how do we know we have achieved enlightement if there is nothing to compare our experience to? What do people mean when they say they experienced reality from an elevated state? Is my Nirvana the same as my neighbor's? Is it possible that enlightement is something so intrinsically personal that having a school to teach its path runs counter to the very idea of personal enlightement?

Therein lies the danger, I think. There is no way for Zhenka or Jeosus to demonstrate their positions. All they can do is argue from ideas and never present any evidence; Zhenka can't prove non-existence whereas Joesus can't standarize enlightement.

However, we can talk in terms of likelihood and probabilities. For example, we can say it is highly unlikely that in the center of Saturn there is a clever invisible penguin dressed in fur, sipping martini to the melody of Beethoven's fifth, which only it can hear. Even if we managed to drill to the center of Saturn, the penguin is invisible in every way. On the other hand, I can say that it is very likely, almost certain, that there are other countries in the world, despite never having left my native land, simply based on the (rather overwhelming) evidence available.

The distinction is clear. One idea has evidence to back it and the other doesn't. Neither can be asserted to be true, but the probability of each idea being true can be quantified.

So to consider the penguin, what is our judgement to be? Is there such a penguin in Saturn? What if an "enlightened" fellow human is to come forth and proclaim he can see and hear the penguin? What if another "enlightened" fellow human were to come forth and declare the penguin is not a penguin at all, but a dancing elephant with cloven hooves for feet? What if these "prophets" propose to teach the methods they used to achieve this "enlightened" state that allows them to see the "truth"? Should we, from our unenlightened state, strive to follow it, if only to disprove it, taking into account that our "prophet" claims that having the potential to see it does not guarantee that what we see will be what they saw or that we will even see anything at all?

At what point does this path to "enlightement" become an excercise in futility?

I cannot disprove rebirth, karma or Nirvana, or Heaven or Hell or God, just like I can't disprove our magnificent penguin basking in Beethoven's tunes. I won't say a buddhist wastes his time striving for that elusive enlightement, and I won't say that Zhenka has the right of it by flat-out denying "Buddha's" claims. What I can say for certain is that if you wish to propose something as true and convince others of it, the burden of evidence falls upon you. (Evidence is not the same as persuasion). The greater your claim, the more spectacular your evidence need be.

Buddhism, like all religions, makes some rather astounding claims, whereas the lack of solid evidence for enlightement (Heaven, God, take your pick) allows Zhenka and people like him to make the relatively small claim that an unquantified, unmeasurable, subjective and personal experience is false.

I stand to the side of this, admittedly closer to Zhenka than to Joesus. I know some things to be true based on evidence, and I know the limits to what I know. However, as long as you don't cause harm to others, I encourage you to seek out your own truths, be them subjective or not.

From my perspective, the great thing about buddhism and jainism and precious few others is that they don't naturally lend themselves to conflict. They could be perhaps manipulated to fit that role, but the text itself tends to shy away from violence. This is not the case with most religions, with Islam as the foremost example.

Sorry for that wall of text and thanks for reading all the way if you did!

Posted by: Joesus Dec 29, 2012, 10:29 AM

QUOTE(2012 @ Dec 29, 2012, 02:14 AM) *


Next we have his opposite, Joesus. With spectacular condescension

From my perspective...

Exactly.

The underlying reality of all ideals is more stable than the individual perspectives.
True liberation comes when identity with ideals and the relative personal experience is witnessed from the source of all thought feeling and action.

Otherwise it becomes my enlightenment/your enlightenment. Defined by the ego and its boundaries of personal measure.

There is this idea of finality within the infinite potential... When seeking enlightenment the I assumes an end all to what it dislikes, in favor of a supreme like...

When all becomes a reflection of the ONE supreme absolute, there is no permanence in any perspective and all beliefs change.
We know this when we experience many different perspectives of reality and in the experiences of objects and events. The event or object is not what makes us see the object or event, it is our desire to engage with the object or event which brings our attention to the object or event, and then the filters of our sensory tuned beliefs impress our ideas upon the object. This is why there are a thousand perspectives within a room filled with a thousand people who believe in their individuality and separateness from each other.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:

Man... Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

This is a quote that touches many people, because many are living this quote.
We think of a future, but the future does not really exist. All that exists is the eternal present.
A key to understanding the present moment, is grasping time. Realize the relative inexistence of past and future. Everything that ever existed, and ever will exist, is contained in the eternal present. It's just from our perspective, that we find it linear.

"I will be that, later, I just have to…"

There is no "later". Change your mind now. In this very present.

"But I have to make plans for this weekend. I'm worried about it."

Then make plans now, then when the weekend comes, deal with it. Get your mind straight, get your present straight. All else is projected from belief and assumptions of reality.

Being in the present moment is inclusive of all potentialities as the now.
It is something to believe in it, and something else to experience it within all thought feeling and action.. all of the time.

QUOTE(2012 @ Dec 29, 2012, 02:14 AM) *

From my perspective, the great thing about buddhism and jainism and precious few others is that they don't naturally lend themselves to conflict. They could be perhaps manipulated to fit that role, but the text itself tends to shy away from violence. This is not the case with most religions, with Islam as the foremost example.


No religion, is absolute in its truth. All relative truths regarding the absolute are subjective, and free will facilitates the individual perspective.
The absolute is not free from conflict, because "all that is", is still all that is, and is inclusive of conflict. Contrast is what gives evolution and choice, strength in perception and experience.

What is natural about Buddhism and Jainism, is what gave birth to the names and what they (the names) represent. The nature of the absolute exists within all, and the exploration and contrived determinations made thru exploration is part and parcel to the reflections of evolution in consciousness.

"Split a piece of wood, or turn over a stone.. I am there"
- gospel of Thomas-

There is, the Absolute Truth within all faiths, religions and testiments to spirit. There is also the potential for ignorance, fear, violence and superstition in all faiths, religion and testiments to spirit.

Buddhists monks have drawn violence into their beliefs, practices and history, just as every religion has. They have been persecuted, murdered, and some monks have even set themselves on fire as an example to the rigidity of their belief.

There is no spiritual interpretation that is free from the nature of the evolving human. Driven by the fear of the ego and its twisted determination, no thing is sacred. Period.

There are those who have liberated themselves of interpretive impairments.

Yet even the greatest of them have found themselves attacked and persecuted by the ignorant, and those that are committed to the opposition of absolute truth. ph34r.gif

Posted by: Ari-Pamulang Apr 23, 2014, 04:35 PM

Thanks for your post bro! Budhism is so tempting for those frustrated to seeing wars because of religion. I am glad Google led me to this forum.
I was born a moslem, but I never believed it since I was even a little kid. Not because my parents are bad parents, they are the best parents I ever know, but I cried deep inside my heart as I started to understand about what Islam teaches.
It was far-far away before I knew about Moslems were becoming terrorists (this worsened my view about the religion of course). The way I see it, Islam is so violent. I would be very sad to surrender myself to the very violent god and his wrath. It is also very against women (I am a male, but I love my mum so much, so I can't accept any form of discrimination against such gender).

But again, why Buddhism was so tempting? It was because I always wanted to seek answers why some people were born disabled, unfortunate, or even died at early ages. Why did I see a case where a daughter of a whore became a whore, why did I see some were extremely poor, extremely suffering during their lifetime ever since they came into this world. Why some were slaved, some were the slaver owner? Karma gave good answer to this.
This questions also tempted me to learn Buddhism: "In the war between two religious followers, each pray: please god help me to crush those stood against you."
Then whose god is listening? Or is it simply just "a blankspot" in every human mind that they need God's presence?
I turned to Christianity, it didn't help, as I see the god is as violent as in Islam. I read many blogs criticizing both religion and I share the same critics published there.

The most important part why I rejected all the Abrahamic religions (I can't become Jewish though) is that these religion made me feel like "God is enjoying a movie played by each of human individuals (which allows improvisation (a.k.a free will) " and he smiles back there, "there you go my creation, you do good, you will go to heaven or damn you my failing creation, you will go to hell."
And he said back there: "Hey, you can't see me, but you can feel me. I give you free will, but I can at anytime exterminate you, or force you to believe me"
I feel a great sense of unfairness, unlovingness in this kind of concept.

I rejected Hinduism as I don't like to imagine many gods having wars and hate the strata (I think it is insulting)

Still, I can't accept the concept of no Creator (not God). I share the same worries as you did, that I imagined if all in this planet believe in no Creator, then all will be in mess. All would kill people all they like, all will cheating each other, stealing each other.

I need to see a reason that keeps thing in order. I need to see a pattern in the creation of this universe, which I think "Hawkings" "Einstein" still fail to answer (It got me to learn into the relativity and quantum theory, which was a pain).

I have always tried to link the facts the scientists revealed with religion, which none of them match any religion I know (life came from very simple organism like bacteria -- I still think we are just the best creature evolution this mother earth has created). The closest one is Buddhism! As it believes in energy cycles, causalities.

But then strange things started to happen. I experienced nearly the same outcome after I started learning this religion (or philosophy - whatever).

I thought it was good, but somehow, it reduced my ambitions and my desires -- a very important aspect for me to stay on job and make money (I am a journalist btw). I felt like, why bother to be great in this world? Why bother to have desires (i.e. to have scoop news, chase great news sources, news stories). All I need to do, is to be calm, enjoy this human form, enjoy the beauty of the world, before you may be reborn again (as I may far from being enlightened) and start from zero again.

The result? No good at all, my wife asked me if I didn't eat much? like if I am lacking of vitamins for my stamina, like if I am lacking of enough nutrition to make good in sex.

Finally I realized that's not what a human meant to be. I deserves to have desires. I believe we are products of the most advanced life creature in this planet and therefore, deserves to have desires. (I thank to the earth, sun, not God)

Again, I had to comeback to my very personal belief: journalism. Emphasizing on the "Why" in the six basic principle a journalist must apply : 5W+H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How).

At least, it keeps me critical on anything and it drives me to observes thing carefully. I even applies these questions in my daily life, it is quite practical. But again, I still share your earlier hope that there must be the right religion in this planet.

I learned one important dictionary though to describe myself: "agnostic", which I am happy to be embedded with, as it fits my conditions. Keep searching guys ... Well, God, or Creator, or Higher Intelligent Being, if you exist, would you appreciate this kind of thinking?

Cheers,
Keep sharing
Ari

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