A spiritual person is...

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Kenneth, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    "...Buddha teaches there is an afterlife which isn't eternal."

    --> I agree.

    "I do not believe this is accurate when discussing Buddha's teaching."

    --> I do.
     
  2. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    I find this wording quite strange, Buddha is often credited with the statement "do not be a Buddhist, be a Buddha". Buddhist teachings are very extreme in nature, only the result can be called the Middle Way. This is why I gravitate more towards the Zen methods, for this is experiential rather than scholarly - I do not believe it is possible to reach any spiritual heights while still differentiating and attempting to decipher the teachings. The teachings direct you towards the goal, as a finger pointing to the moon, but if you concentrate on the finger you will never see the moon.

    Is the Kingdom of God nothing? No, I have said nirvana means "nothing", but it describes a certain state. The Bible describes this in various ways relating to light, for in this state everything has a glow to it, everything is much brighter than normal, light seems to emanate from everything. This state of "nothing" refers to no-mind, no-self, you become nothing, you transcend everything which you would ordinarily position as being you and discover your true self - the pure witness, free from perception and differentiation, only watching. As soon as you begin to think "What is this?" you return to your prior state, you have differentiated again.
     
  3. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    The Thirty-one Planes of Existence

    As far as I am aware, the purpose of Nirvana is to escape each of these, to free ourselves from karma entirely and escape the cycles inherent. What, then, is the Buddhist concept of afterlife once Nirvana is reached?

    For me, insisting on something after is a delusion of greed and ego, when we fear death, we do not wish to simply cease. We want something more, because our ego insists we are special and should be protected. It is sort of a sickness caused by our intelligence and survival instinct, we know we must die, so we take actions we perceive will save us. It is not so different from climbing a tree because a Lion is near, only there is no direct obstacle threatening us.

    It is my understanding that after Nirvana, upon death you are no more, you become part of the whole, everything and nothing. There is no longer a you to be reborn or to continue in any capacity at all as something separate. Once the body has been shed, you can merge into the interconnectness because you have no desire to be again. For me, this is the whole meaning of Nirvana.
     
  4. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    This should read "only experiencing", for watching is a bodily function.

    Again, the forums won't let me edit though :mad:
     
  5. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Agreed.

    "Certain state" really doesn't apply, imo. "Uncertain state" might be closer. While the "Kingdom of God" has been described as "light," nibbana has been described as "without surface," or without landing place for light to shine upon (which obscures the light.)
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Eternity is an objectified function of time. Does not apply.
     
  7. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    You may be correct, since satori and samadhi relate to enlightenment rather than nirvana - they do appear distinct in Buddhist teachings. If there is such a distinction, I would correlate Kingdom of God with enlightenment rather than nirvana.

    I am not entirely sure how they differ, but there are koans such as "before nirvana, eat and work, after nirvana, eat and work" which seem to say nirvana is not necessarily a different state, but rather a fuller experience of the current state. Within Zen tradition, everything done mindfully, everything done with complete awareness is sacred - including such ordinary actions as drinking tea.
     
  8. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    This is sort of my point ;)
     
  9. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I would not.

    The koan is before enlightenment (rather than nibbana) chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. not nibbana.
     
  10. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    So you think that the correlations in descriptions are utter fluke, that the states each leads the human consciousness to differ? Let us recall that the Kingdom of God is something we can experience here and now according to the Bible, it is not a place we go after death even in this faith. Heaven and Kingdom of God are not synonymous in the Bible, they are quite distinct. This and the explanations of light, Jesus saying he is the light, these are very much statements that are equally valid when discussing enlightenment.

    You are correct, as I have mentioned however, I am not sure what the difference is at all. It is certainly possible to experience enlightenment and maintain dualistic thought afterwards, although I wouldn't call this person enlightened. Nirvana for me is merely complete enlightenment, the utter absence of differentiation or bias. For me it is just the highest form of enlightenment, but your earlier description is certainly not like my experience - what you describe certainly does not appear to be an experience of awakening, it seems more like extreme fatigue.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I would say bodhicitta is a better term for Kingodm of God than nibbana or enlightenment. (Compare Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Vaj's response in posts #4 and #6 of this thread. [/I]



    Do concepts such as "highest" really apply to nibbana?
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Lunitik,
     
    You said,
     
    "I would correlate Kingdom of God with enlightenment rather than nirvana."
     
    --> I correlate the Kingdom of God with heaven (just like the Bible says). All three concepts — heaven, enlightenment, and nirvana — fit into my belief system quite nicely, and I see no conflict between the three. But I see them as three separate concepts.

    "…the purpose of Nirvana is to escape each of these, to free ourselves from karma entirely and escape the cycles inherent."
     
    --> I agree.
     
    "… after Nirvana, upon death you are no more, you become part of the whole, everything and nothing."
     
    --> I would add to that the idea that we retain our individuality, yet we are no longer separate (a paradox).
     
    "There is no longer a you to be reborn or to continue in any capacity at all as something separate."
     
    --> I believe we can still reincarnate after nirvana if we so wish. This is the concept of avataras. And, if so, this says we do not stop ‘existing’ after nirvana.
     
  13. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Well, ultimate bohdicitta is termed "sunyata", this means "voidness", so perhaps this is more correctly what I am speaking of as nirvana.

    All this insistence on differentiation is starting to give me a headache, however, since if we enter into another tradition they are all termed differently and things become more and more confusing. I really dislike the scholarly pursuit of religion because of this reason. Understanding intellectually results in nothing genuine at all, as I have already touched on.



    Certainly not, however it is considered the goal, there is nothing beyond nirvana in Buddhist tradition. I have already touched on the incompetence of language in this thread, let us not dispute semantics.
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy zennish

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    “Afterlife” suggests post-mortem survival?



     
  15. Snoopy

    Snoopy zennish

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    Is he? Where, please?

    Why do you think they are "very extreme"?

    How is the "result" the "way"?
     
  16. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Don't forget about the metta part as well--balancing sunyata with "thusness."

    LOL. Speculation on some things can lead to madness and vexation.

    Acintita Sutta
    It certainly helps out when it comes to identifying similarities and differences, and troublshooting difficulties, imo. :)

    Hmm, I wouldn't really say so. There is the enlightenment of all beings thing, as well.

    And since you jumped on me already for making the distinction of wrong in this thread already, I thought I might ask about that. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    The Bible states that the Kingdom of God can be experienced here on earth, I am not sure whether this is compatible with the notion of heaven as everything I have read seems to signify that heaven pertains to the afterlife. Certainly enlightenment and nirvana are conditions which are possible to attain in life.

    I would state that we attain individuality, for we find our true core. Prior, we are merely a composite of everything we have encountered, a series of perceptions that we have identified ourselves with and attached to social protocols. Our actions prior to such experience are mostly based on what we feel is expected, after, they are based on what comes natural.

    I would suggest that an avatar is more correctly the reincarnation of a being from the 12th level of existence or higher. There are, however, methods which are supposed to permit it. I do not know the name of it, however it essentially pertains to such deep determination to return that it must be, they then retain the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th bodies which float around the cosmos basically until they can be connected again with a physical body - the 5th body. It is not possible for Buddha to reincarnate himself, however, since this is impossible once you reach the 7th body, but there are occult practices which intend to ready a physical body for the merging. One such method was attempted by the theosophists, they attempted to ready a boy by the name of Natyananda for accepting Buddha. The boy died because it is a very dangerous procedure, the theosophists tried again with his brother Krishnamurti, but this too had quite a negative effect on the man - they were never successful.

    I am really not sure why you would want to come back to this plane given the choice, however. Buddha has promised to come re-establish the Dharma due to his own compassion, but I am not sure it is actually possible. It is said that the wheel of the Dharma makes a complete turn every 2500 years and this is as long as these 3 bodies can survive through the momentum of Buddhas determination. The theosophists knew this, but since they were not successful it is probably not possible for Buddha to ever return again now. There are various claims to actually be Meitreya, so perhaps it was not possible for the theosophists because it had already happened. I have not found a claim which has really spoken to me, other than Osho, but his claim comes after his poisoning when he seemed to have become quite irrational.
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy zennish

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    I think the only time I see shunyata as meaning voidness these days is by Christians in the pursuit of explaining how Buddhism is nihilisitic.

    Indeed. I know little of Christianity so I don't get confused by another path in that sense. Further, I do think it is appropriate to use the terms as intended within the tradition (for example, nibbana). If you're getting confused taking from two traditions how much more confusing is it if one ascribes incorrect definitions to terms?
     
  19. Snoopy

    Snoopy zennish

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    Last time I looked, Nick was a theosophist so you should have much fun together :)

    (and they really know how to take terms from different traditions and ascribe their own meanings. Now THAT'S confusion. ;))
     
  20. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Certainly I do not agree that Buddhism is nihilistic, and I am not interested in what Christians have to say on the matter. This conclusion only speaks of their own fear of death, which their faith has failed to lift.

    I am actually pulling from at least 4 different traditions, not only two. The confusion is principally stemming from my lack of interest in specifics, and even less interest in how these terms differ. For me, there are principally 3 stages to enlightenment: accidental glimpse, purposeful glimpse, total attainment. When looking at the descriptions of enlightenment within the traditions, I understand based on English terms what these groups discuss variously. I do not believe Buddha would have differentiated these stages and attainments, and I believe they over-complicate things for the seeker.
     

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