Are all forms of Buddhism Monistic?

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by mattityahu, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    Please forgive, for I'm a total noob when it comes to Buddhism. I've heard that some Buddhists (Zen?) use the phrase "If you see the Buddha, kill him", and that it means that you haven't realised that you are the Buddha, because all is one (monism). Is this right?

    And if it is, what about things like love and hate, good and evil, are they all one and the same too?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Matt
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi Matt,

    Well I've yet to use the phrase myself, but welcome to IO :)

    Separating stuff intellectually into good and bad, right and wrong, ugly and beautiful etc is essential and useful, it's how our minds work but it isn't reality. They are just different views. Reality is an undivided, ineffable whole. This whole is the ultimate Truth, but it doesn't help you to decide which top to put on.

    Snoopy.
     
  3. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    So there is no difference in reality between love, hate, good, bad, the whole shebang?
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Day to day reality - yes.

    Ultimate reality with a capital R - no.

    s.
     
  5. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    So if we are to be in touch with Reality then we should stop thinking in terms of the categories of good and bad?
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Dhammapada 1:1-5
    1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.
    2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. 3. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who harbour such thoughts hatred will never cease.
    4. 'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'--in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred will cease.
    5. For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time: hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.
    Notice how there is a difference...



    Attachment and aversion are the things that can lead to unskillful habits.
     
  7. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    Do you, then, disagree with Snoopy about whether there is a difference in Reality between them? Perhaps the passage is talking about practical reality (if, as Snoopy suggests, there is a distinction between the two).

    Could you possibly expand on this point and how it relates to what we've said so far?

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  8. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    No, because we also need to be "in touch" with reality with a small "r". They are both but two valid perspectives; one need not and should not reject one because one accepts the other.

    IMO. :)

    s.
     
  9. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    Sorry, but how can they both be valid if they are contradicting perspectives on reality? There is only one reality, isn't there?

    [I don't know whether those "realities" should have "R's" or not...]
     
  10. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Zen often uses shocking and paradoxical stuff like this to try to shake us out of our regular mental grooves. This phrase doesn't seem so shocking now though of course as it's so well known! I think it basically means "Don't be a slave to teachings, you have to find the meaning of your life for yourself, within you." (But don't go to the other extreme and read nothing!)

    Hence the need to meditate. :)

    s.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Well, we might not agree as to theory, but as to practice, I think there is much we can agree upon. I'm a Christian, but I consider the Buddha to be one of my therapists.



    This is what relates to actual practice. Verses 3 & 4 above refer to the hatred and suffering resulting from attachment and aversion. (Attachment to aversive thoughts leading to hatred and continual suffering and anguish...these things can cease if we let go of the attachment and forgive others.)
     
  12. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    OK, so what does the apparent paradox we've been talking about basically mean?
     
  13. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.

    *and*

    There are trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.

    ~Niels Bohr
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    OK, first off, this is just my take! Others may well contradict!....

    What we are talking about is contradictory / paradoxical; that doesn't mean they can't be the truth.

    Let's call everyday dualistic (polar opposites like good and bad) reality with a small "r".

    Let's call the big ineffable one that includes all and is undivided, Reality with a big "R".

    Now let's ignore the latter cos we can't talk about the ineffable. :p

    So sticking to the first day to day reality.

    An example:

    My reality is that the Rolling Stones are good and The Beatles are bad. You can tell it's real by checking my CDs.

    Your reality is that the Rolling Stones are bad and the Beatles are good.

    Bingo! They are both valid and yet they are contradictory.

    s.
     
  15. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    Could you give an example where the opposite of a profound truth is also true?
     
  16. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Does my post 14 answer this at all?

    s.
     
  17. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    But isn't it clear that the Stones and the Beatles make different music? The difference is certainly actual to my primitive mind. And there either is an absolute standard of musical "goodness" or not.

    (Btw, the Beatles are better than the Stones :p)
     
  18. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Light is a particle--light is a wave.

    We can measure an electron's speed, but not its position--we can measure an electron's position, but not its speed.
     
  19. mattityahu

    mattityahu Hopefully Orthodox

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    Well...neither are true...
    Light appears to act as a particle in some situations and as a wave in others...but I don't think scientists have got very far on the ontology of light yet...
     
  20. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Does this help? :p
    [​IMG]
     

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