are 'atheists' taking over buddhism?

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by _Z_, May 27, 2007.

  1. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    nick

    what we are without bodily form is what he is except we are epicentres of ‘spirit’ [being X mind], god is the whole and entirety, - the point and the paper.

    is it? again outside of you body, you true being is sizeless - it has no dimension as is the nature of infinity. when we meditate on occasion the train of thought relapses into nothing [which many people find annoying as we loose our train of thought], at this point of stillness we are the true self as above. here we may note that the Brahman being - so to say, or true self is the same with or without body, in life or in death.
    Do you see plankton and yeasts as having a soul?
    yes, strangely i see stars, planets, elements, rocks and trees as also having a soul. we may here note that souls are as varied as there forms. all things have there essence in the eternal.

    yes, as we exist before birth and conception, there is an eternal version of everything. without this then potential has no foundations, it is like the idea exists before the manifestation of the idea, the unmanifest universe existed before becoming manifest.

    of course, its the eternal return.

    hmm well yes, i suppose a soul is actually like a body except being of aether rather than energy. i was using it as like the astral body, but that is more like a formless entity which mirrors the underworld/intermediate state. these states are found between worlds as the spirit moves between them and the aethers are fleeting and change all around form and unforming shapes.

    we return to the original self, then another universe is born 15 billion years go by and an intelligent sentient being is arrived at and we enter all over again as if only a moment has passed. like attracts like thus when the relative glove is formed we are called. this is not obligatory, and if we wish to remain unformed then a different glove shall be arrived at i.e. a slightly different being will take your place - probably one which has not ‘lived’ before.
    or...
    we live in our eternal soul-bodies in eternity forever - but there is something about this scenario which makes me feel that eventually we would want the peace of nirvana [or as you say the beyond nirvana], heaven is perhaps temporary?
    or...
    if we imagine that all things eventually and inevitable cease, then there is only one thing left!
    now what is the nature of something that is neither infinite, finite or of any form whatsoever where all distinctions cease? in the answering of this is perhaps the answering of all and the truth beyond truths.
    but...
    can this whatever it is be? is there not something by which things arose in the first place that there is an eternal duplicity. i wonder if there shall be a point where all things that must be are ‘played out’ i.e. that which can become has done so, thence there is nothing left and the ‘devils’ duplicity is removed and the true eternal state is arrived at! nirvana is perhaps a hint at this and the nearest we can get.
    or...
    beyond nirvana is that very ‘place’!!! as it is beyond time and hence all existence, and we enter it as if taking a trip in time to the end of all things. ;)

    hmm i think here is where god ends too! :eek: :D

    thanks for taking me to this idea and realisation!
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.

    Digha Nikya 24, iirc.

    a few links that you may find of interest:

    Oil and Water

    Do Buddhist believe in god?

    the essential difference is a term called Atman. in the Vedic sense, it is used to indicate the Self and it is this Atman which is reincarnated until such time as it merges with the Supramundane Atman. the Buddha Dharma teaches that there is no Atman that exists in this manner and, as such, there is nothing that is incarnated to begin with.. consequently, no reincarnation.

    the Buddhist Suttas often use the imagery of one candle flame lighting another to illustrate rebirth. the flame on the new candle cannot come into existence withou the old flame but they are not the same flame.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Re: ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Namaste Nick,

    thank you for the post.

    if it were a place other than where we currently are why would the teachings say that it is experienced "in the here and now, in this present arising"?


    unless i misunderstand the term, equivalent means something along the lines to "similar to or alike". there is no being "like" a Bodhisattva in the Theravedan teachings, there are Bodhisattvas. sorry for any confusion.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  4. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    namaste vaj
    thank you for answering.

    this makes me wonder why the second flame is in anyway the first. i mean it is perhaps only a self centric vision of things and our own self importance which thinks we should continue.why not just have two flames rather than one that becomes another? this way all things would only exist once, thence returning to the original self and their truer state.


     
  5. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Nick,

    thank you for the post.

    herein lies some of the confusion, i think.

    neither India nor Hinduism existed during that time in history.. trying to apply 19th century ideas regarding religious practice of the mass of beings which inhabit Jampudvita is not likely to be very accurate. generally speaking, the term Hindu in todays usage denotes the tradition called Sanatana Dharma however this was not in the form it is in today.

    consequently, whilst this is an oft encountered line of discussion it is one which, in my view, has little traction.

    whilst is certainly the habit of many traditions to quote mine texts to support their point of view, i do not feel that is very useful for understanding the Buddha Dharma. as such, i shall ask that you read the Sutta for yourself and see what you think it means. Digha Nikaya 24 should be a good place to start.

    "And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding."

    SN 56.11: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

    there is little to disagree upon.. the term Karma means precisely thus:

    "Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."

    Intentional action

    what you "reap" from Karma is called Vipaka, which is the consequence of past kamma.

    A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms



    there is no "I" that leaves the physical world behind since there is no "I" currently arisen.

    perhaps reading some of the Buddhist Suttas and Shastras themselves would be of some value in understanding our tradition.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  6. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    vaj
    interesting point, but aspects of it did the gods n all, perhaps buddha wanted a clearer view is what was meant.
    that is a matter of distictions, whilst in form we can see the I, when in not then we cannot as it is no longer distinct. it is however the same essence within you now as after death, this is how we can arrive at full realisation after all - in other words, if we can come to full realisation in life as the buddha did, then the being of nirvana is within us now.
     
  7. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    ~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~'`^`'~*-,._.,-*~

    Z, I will try to convey the ideas of a non-infinite God. Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing where people either or disagree — there seems to be no middle ground. I will merely cover the main points, and I will not get involved in some angry debate, if other people jump in and try to turn it into one.
    "god is the whole and entirety, - the point and the paper."

    --> The famous reply is, If there is a God, then there must be that which is not God in order for there to be a God. Light cannot exist without darkness to define the light. Using the same analogy, God cannot exist without a non-God essence to define Him.
    "...outside of you body, you true being is sizeless - it has no dimension as is the nature of infinity."

    --> Right now, I am unable to make a mental or psychic connection with the other side of the universe. The whole problem is, I am not outside my body, I am trapped inside of it. So, I guess what I wanted to say is, my mind is definitely limited by the finiteness this physical body places upon me.
    "when we meditate on occasion the train of thought relapses into nothing [which many people find annoying as we loose our train of thought], at this point of stillness we are the true self as above."

    --> I see where you are coming from, but I think there are levels of consciousness much, much higher than even what you are describing. I believe stars and galaxies have consciousness (apparently so do you). There is no way we can compare the consciousness of a meditating human to, say, that of a galaxy.
    "Do you see plankton and yeasts as having a soul? --> yes, strangely i see stars, planets, elements, rocks and trees as also having a soul. we may here note that souls are as varied as there forms. all things have there essence in the eternal."
    --> I agree. It is all a matter of degress of consciousness. For example, I think minerals have consciousness, a very basic type of consciousness. They are the first example of an object experiencing consciousness.

    I see plants as having consciousness, at a higher level than minerals, in that plants are learning how to run a metabolism inside their bodies. It is said plants are having the first experiences of emotions. (Have you read of the lie-detector tests on plants? It is fascinating stuff.)

    I see animals as having consciousness, at a higher level than plants. Animals are learning rudimentary instincts and social interaction. It is said animals are having the first experiences of mental activity. (My dog used to have nightmares, which told me she was having mental activity.)

    Humans are different than animals in that humans have self-conscousness, while animals merely have consciousness. (There is a big difference.)


    This begs the question: what is the next level after human? I will only discribe it here as cosmic-consciousness — the removal of the sense of separateness.
    "Do you believe our souls existed before we started inhabiting physical bodies? --> yes, as we exist before birth and conception, there is an eternal version of everything. without this then potential has no foundations...."

    --> What about the idea we were animals before we were humans?
    "Do you see astral bodies as different than souls? --> hmm well yes, i suppose a soul is actually like a body except being of aether rather than energy. i was using it as like the astral body, but that is more like a formless entity which mirrors the underworld/intermediate state."

    --> I want to share my belief that the day will come when even our astral bodies disappear, and there will be even more intermediate levels before we reach the level of full consciousness in the "soul".
    "What do you think happens to our astral bodies at that time? --> we return to the original self, then another universe is born 15 billion years go by and an intelligent sentient being is arrived at and we enter all over again...."

    --> Do you see us eventually rising to the level of consciousness of, say. of a galaxy? (I certainly do.)
    "...there is something about this scenario which makes me feel that eventually we would want the peace of nirvana [or as you say the beyond nirvana], heaven is perhaps temporary?"

    --> I think you are mixing up Heaven and Nirvana. To me, Heaven and Nirvana are completely different — and both fit into my belief system quite nicely. I see Heaven as a peacful place of rest between incarnations, while I see Nirvana as a place of great activity once the cycle of reincarnations ends. I definitely see Heaven as temporary. I see Nirvana as temporary too, because I see us eventually raising our consciousnesses to that of a galaxy, which makes Nirvana only one small step along the way. (Do you realize how many universes we will have to experience, before we can raise ourselves to the level of being a galaxy...?)
    "if we imagine that all things eventually and inevitable cease, then there is only one thing left!"

    --> I guess you mean nihilism. I do not believe in nihilism, but I do believe we exist while the universe exists, we stop existing when the universe ends, and then we start re-existing when the next universe begins with its own Big Bang.
    "..now what is the nature of something that is neither infinite, finite or of any form whatsoever where all distinctions cease? in the answering of this is perhaps the answering of all and the truth beyond truths."

    --> Now you are getting a little closer to conceptualizing the infinite (which really is impossible).
    "is there not something by which things arose in the first place that there is an eternal duplicity."
    (1) The finite cannot comprehend the infinte.

    (2) Our job is not to even try. Our job is to only do what will accelerate our move up to the next step on the Ladder.


    But it sure is fun trying to comprehend the infinte!
    "..i wonder if there shall be a point where all things that must be are ‘played out’ i.e. that which can become has done so, thence there is nothing left and the ‘devils’ duplicity is removed and the true eternal state is arrived at!"

    --> I believe there is, even if it something we cannot presently comprehend.
    "nirvana is perhaps a hint at this and the nearest we can get."

    --> Exactly.
    "beyond nirvana is that very ‘place’!!!"

    --> I see it as many, many levels above Nirvana, but yes, it is out there.
    "hmm i think here is where god ends too!"

    --> You got that right.
    "thanks for taking me to this idea and realisation!"
    --> This has been a fascinating discussion. Thank you for sharing it with me.
     
  8. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    nick, hi
    no i have no wish for angry debate only to learn, but i understand that some ideas have great emotional impact to some people, but as a humble fool and being borderline autistic, i tend to be a bit ‘vulcan’ [star trek] and stoic. :)



    perhaps, unless we see existence as the body just as our human form is ours. we are both separate and one with our body, and strangely there is no duality in this paradox. alas our body dies as will existence eventually, and then there is... well what is there? it is something we can say is god as finally whole and one thus perfect. this entity is not constrained by time and nature, thus ‘exists’ always. its a circular paradox by which there is the ‘god’ from the end of time, whom is equally at the beginning of time to create the universe, and remains in the background always.
    but i agree after much thought, that god cannot thence be described as infinite nor anything else, this is because he is descriptionless. descriptions and the things they represent all belong to the manifest world even those that don’t exist physically like infinity!
    hmm thank you for taking me there! i keep flitting between god, no-god scenarios, but it seams to be all making sense now.



    do you not believe that all mind states are universal? i do, thus a galaxy would ‘think’ much as we do in the simplest of meditative states, except without the interfering brain :p.



    yes i agree. may i just say that ‘consciousness’ is perhaps not the word to use here, mind-states may be nearer... what do you think? i am unsure if all things are conscious or even aware in any sence. it appears that awareness is relative to form, i was thinking of this the other day when watching a nature program, where a slug was being eaten from behind and carried on eating a leaf as it itself was being eaten, obviously blissfully unaware of its fate.
    here then lies the distinction between ‘what is given and what is attained’, there appears to be a universal basic state of mind-ness, to which awareness is gradually gained until we reach a state near to that of god and hence start connecting and philosophising.

    perhaps destiny and evolution are 'set' to rise towards the most advanced state - that of 'god'!




     
  9. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Z, You said,
    "...god cannot thence be described as infinite nor anything else, this is because he is descriptionless. descriptions and the things they represent all belong to the manifest world even those that don’t exist physically like infinity!"

    --> By the way, I believe in something called the Absolute, which is different than an Almighty God. One of the things about the Absolute is that there are no abjectives nor attributes that describe it. If you think about it, the only way to describe the Absolute is to say what it is not. It is not this, it is not that, etc. (And I would never describe the Absolute as a "He".)
    "do you not believe that all mind states are universal?"

    --> I do not. The consciousness of a dog is much different than that of a human.
    "i do, thus a galaxy would ‘think’ much as we do in the simplest of meditative states, except without the interfering brain."

    --> I guess we can agree to disagree on this one. I believe our goal in life is to raise our level of consciousness to only the next level.
    " ‘consciousness’ is perhaps not the word to use here, mind-states may be nearer... what do you think?"

    --> Yes it is difficult to find the right word to describe it. I do like the word consciousness. For example, I say animals are conscious, but not self-conscious. Also, there is a level above the human level which I will only describe as cosmic counsciousness. But they are all different forms of consciousness. I say that a dog is a point of concentrated consciousness, and a human is a point of contrated consciousness, but what a difference!
    "i am unsure if all things are conscious or even aware in any [sense]."

    --> This gets into the difference between self-consciousness, cosmic-consciousness, etc.
    "it appears that awareness is relative to form, i was thinking of this the other day when watching a nature program, where a slug was being eaten from behind and carried on eating a leaf as it itself was being eaten, obviously blissfully unaware of its fate."

    --> Each step we take on the ladder of spiritual evolution takes us to an even higher level of consciousness. We are aware of many things a slug is not aware of. This begs the question: what are the beings at the level above human aware of, that we are not aware of...?
    "here appears to be a universal basic state of mind-ness, to which awareness is gradually gained until we reach a state near to that of god and hence start connecting and philosophising."

    --> Exactly.
    "perhaps destiny and evolution are 'set' to rise towards the most advanced state - that of 'god'!"
    The finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite.
     
  10. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    i would have to say that in the time of Buddha hinduism most definately did exist- there were brahmins, agnihotrins, sannyasins, aranyakas, yogis and seers aplenty, before Buddha-

    dates for texts run as follows-

    The Mahabharata, 540 to 300 B.C.
    The Ramayana, first century A.D, although it is based on oral traditions that go back six or seven centuries earlier...
    The Vedas- the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism... The Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally comitted to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C....
    ...the Atharva Veda was written down much later than the rest of the Vedas, about 200 B.C.; it may have been composed about 1000 B.C.
    The Upanishads are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma-- the cumulative effects of a persons' actions

    all this info as well as translations of the vedas, puranas, unpanisads, etc, can be found here at:

    Sacred-texts home

    I was told that the Tipitaka (Pali canon) assumed its final form at the Third Buddhist Council (ca. 250 BCE) and was first committed to writing sometime in the 1st c. BCE.

    seems others agree...
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  11. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    That question baffles me...... Are People that do not believe in a god taking over a set of beliefs that do not believe in a god?? I don't get it....
     
  12. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    think it depends what ur ultimate reality is, 17th...
     
  13. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Care to continue that?
     
  14. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    nick
    absolutely, i think we see the same here. :)
    i see them as in a sense like different shaped people. sure they have a different conscious matrix - if you will, by that i suppose i mean a different outer consciousness, but it is the same thing mixed up differently. my god knows when my wife is about to come home even though she is a mile or so away, why. well the reason why i feel, is that dogs can feel your presence wherever you are and respond to simple actions like ‘going away from’ and ‘coming home to’ it is an intuition that in turn is a nature of the universal mind.
    I say that a dog is a point of concentrated consciousness, and a human is a point of concentrated consciousness, but what a difference!
    i see. hmm perhaps i should add it back in, but i would still consider it as different usages of the same ingredients. we may think that plankton don’t have consciousness of very little of it, however at this level of life perhaps the consciousness is not singular and of the form - kinda like the hive mind etc.
    well we have to find them first, a dog may be below us yet is aware of us. i think we are aware of something but it is enigmatic - perhaps because once you go above human we are in universal and non centralised consciousness.
    The finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite.
    when i said rise towards go i didn’t mean become god, although i am open to the idea that this may be the eventual outcome.
    there is no such thing as the finite mind, only mind that is constrained by its finite form - if i may.

    17th angel
    hah good point, but i wasnt referring to the belief in god or not, i was referring to the lack of a spiritual dimension to atheism that is being injected into western buddhism. and when i say spiritual it is my interpretaion of divinity and the idea that self has or is that quality. my problem is that there is nothing to be reincarnated in atheism, however vaj seams to agree that it is the same in buddhism...
    quote vaj:


    this makes me wonder why the second flame is in anyway the first. why not just have two flames rather than one that becomes another? if there is nothing that connects the two then why is one reincarnated at all?
     
  15. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Hey Z.... (quick question off topic, would'nt happen to own a chopper perchance?)

    So you would state, that to be an atheists, there has to be -no- spiritualism... ?


    Nothing reincarnated? :/ in what sense... SORRY ME STOOPID eh...
     
  16. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    17th
    no i don’t like bikes - i drive, and see how dangerous they are. if i lived in america maybe i would, open spaces n all.
    atheists would seam to think that yes.
    if there is no factor x that travels between a and b then what is there that says anything is reincarnated.

    more later, kids time on pc grrrr :p
     
  17. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    lol.... Children are the holders of the internet.... It be their realm... We shall all learn that one day.... Anywaaay...

    I think there can be some sort of spiritual thing going on with atheists...

    "Oh I believe something super special happens, but I don't believe there is a god....." Get comments like that you see.... I would call that an atheists... But, they have some set of belife.... I guess my problem is, when I think of the term atheist... It is directed more so to the christian god.... My bad eh....
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Z, we discussed,
    "The consciousness of a dog is much different than that of a human. --> i see them as in a sense like different shaped people."
    --> That reminds me how some Buddhists think people are reborn as animals. (I do not, beause I see humans as a much higher form of consciousness than animals, I think a human being reborn as an animal would be a big step backward. I guess you do not?)
    "...dogs can feel your presence wherever you are and respond to simple actions like ‘going away from’ and ‘coming home to’ it is an intuition that in turn is a nature of the universal mind."
    --> It is a fasciating idea that dogs can connect with us on some type of psychic level.
    "...plankton don’t have consciousness of very little of it, however at this level of life perhaps the consciousness is not singular and of the form - kinda like the hive mind etc."
    --> That sounds very similar to the idea of a group-soul (an idea which fits into my belief system nicely). Have you heard of this idea?
    "when i said rise towards go i didn’t mean become god, although i am open to the idea that this may be the eventual outcome."
    --> Here is one idea: If we can achieve some sort of cosmic consciousness, it would only allow us to "communicate" with beings at our level or lower. We would still be out of range of beings above us.
    "...the lack of a spiritual dimension to atheism...."
    --> The whole idea behind atheism is that it does not have a spiritual dimension, isn't it?
    "...my problem is that there is nothing to be reincarnated in atheism, however vaj seams to agree that it is the same in buddhism..."
    --> This is the exact point that causes me not to be a Buddhist.
    "why not just have two flames rather than one that becomes another? if there is nothing that connects the two then why is one reincarnated at all?"
    --> It would seem to me both flames come from a single candle.
     
  19. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    17th,

    I think what you are saying is, some people call themselves atheists, when they are actually agnostics. (Are you?) I agree with such an idea.

    It does seem like a lot of agnostics and atheists are really just people who do not like in Christianity, just like you said.
     
  20. ardenz

    ardenz New Member

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    ..... I believe many atheists now are violently against the theist idea of a G-d and direct most of their argument against Christianity and the Abrahamic religions. Perhaps this is because many are from a Christian backgrounds or live in societies which have grown from a Christian root.

    It is quite understandable that Buddhism is attractive, especially if you can have it a la carte, without the baggage of growing up in a Buddhist society.
     

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