are 'atheists' taking over buddhism?

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

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Z, you said,
    "...the soul as it is the body of the/from the seed [atom-self], the mind is in essence non physical and hence is both timeless [in base form] and not when encapsulated in form."
    --> I think there is more to what we did before we had human bodies, and there is more to what we will do after we finally set aside human bodies for the last time. Our time in human bodies is tiny and microscopic, compared to the age of the entire universe.
    "...how else can it be understood properly but for a connecting mind. fish are quite individual too, so here perhaps we can see levels of the idea, ranging from non-individualistic then in degrees to very individual as with humans. not only are we individuals but we are all very much more different than any animal."
    --> I think there is a missing link in this idea. I see our consciousness as having been animals at one time, and we have now been "promoted" to human. This makes more sense to me.
    "...i meant on this earth we are the highest, equally so the human form i believe to be the most dextrous."
    -->It makes me wonder about forms that exist on all levels all the way to the top.
    "...generally speaking - outside of this forum - don’t you find that there is a bit of a duel going on and that it drags people to one side or another as duels do?"
    --> I do. And I see it going on here at this Forum too.
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.

    i would humbly suggest that this is simply your view and has no foundation within the Buddha Dharma.

    this is quite opposite of what Buddhism teaches regarding all noumena and phenomena to be impermanent, tranisent and always in motion. your view is, essentially, one of eternalism with regards to aspects of the self and this view was not uncommon amongst beings the Buddha Shakyamuni discoursed with.

    i hope you will not be offended if i prefer the Buddhist teachings regarding Nirvana and the manner by which a being crosses to the Other Shore :)

    metta,

    ~v
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.



    it is not the first other than the first flame gave rise to the second. the second flame came into being due to the first but is not the first. thus, there is nothing which transmitrages from "candle to candle" and that is why we do not teach reincarnation. it is vipaka, based upon ones kamma, that conditions the arising of the next flame.. so to speak.

    i would suggest, however, that you read some of the Suttas regarding these things for yourself and see what they have to say.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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

    Namaste Nick,

    thank you for the post.

    we think this because it is what the Buddha taught.

    in the Buddhist view, this would not be "backwards" it would be "downwards" as it were.. being reborn as an animal is a rebirth in an unfortunate realm though depending on the particulars such animals may end up as prize winning show animals, pets and so forth.


    you may find these links of some interest:

    The Thirty-one Planes of Existence

    AN 10.177: Janussonin Sutta

    SN 56.48: Chiggala Sutta

    AN 4.123: Jhana Sutta

    metta,

    ~v
     
  5. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi,

    Many thanks for that clarification. I am, as Francis says, in the cheap seats :)p) so your reply is much appreciated.:)

    s.
     
  6. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Well I wouldn't want to be part of the Borg (as in Star Trek).;)

    s.
     
  7. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi vaj,

    I can't find the quote you quoted (well I probably could eventually but I do have a life to live...) but could it not refer to buddha-nature, i.e. we are already "liberated" but have not realised it. More generally, is it not true to say the broad schools (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana) see nirvana differently in such ways (i.e. time to achieve etc)? I'm not trying to stir the pot just interested...

    s.

    PS I'm not a Theosophist mole!
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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  9. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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  10. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    vaj, hi



    of course not, i am just airing the view that if we can achieve nirvana in life, then it belongs as much to this world as the next, although it would not be a part of the physical universe it would of the mental plateaux.

    ah i see, so there is no candle, the one goes directly to the next. so what exactly is it that goes from one to the next? it seams to me that an atheist would say that we are entirely of the human form, thus there would be no ‘self’ ‘inner self’ or what have you [‘X’], that would carry on.

    if we are to say that there is a factor that carries on, and that there is nothing between from one flame to the next, then what is that factor? secondly; what happens when there are no more forms to incarnate too [e.g. in the event of the end of humanity or even the end of the universe]? what would happen to the karma by which we apparently should be incarnated.

    this is very important to me and many others at other sites, so i would like to clear up the fundamental idea if i can - perhaps you could link me to the specific areas of the suttas which speak of this. :)

    thank you
     
  11. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Snoopy,

    thank you for the post.

    generally speaking, this term is the english term used to indicate that all sentient beings have the potential to Awaken to the Truth of Liberation not as a comment on the metaphysical constitution of a being.

    it is a bit of a misconception to have the view that we are already liberated but simply not realized it.. that would, in effect, make one not liberated. the teachings are, to me, rather clear regarding the types of effort and work that a being must engage in to Enter the Stream, as they say.

    well... yes and no. By and large the Theravedan teachings do not offer commentary regarding the lenght of time that it takes a being to cross to the Other Shore, though that does not mean that such information is not contained within the Suttas.

    i would say that all practice schools and philosophical schools accept the accounts within the Tipitaka as being accurate descriptions, such that they are, of the state of Nirvana and the process by which a being can cultivate such a state.. it is in the method of development where most schools advocate methods which are expedient for them.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  12. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.



    the Buddist teachings make quite clear that Nirvana is not somewhere else, it is not another plane of existence nor is it something which we must wait until death to experience. it is available right here and right now to "be experienced by the Wise."

    Vipaka; the fruit of a beings Karma or intentional thoughts, actions and words.

    that could be an athiest view, they are not a monolithic body of beings :) it is, of course, the Buddhist view, i.e. that there is no self or inner self that would carry on.. since there isn't one of them which is arisen now what would carry on?

    Vipaka.

    not 'incarnated' as that tends to have a meaning which is not appropriate. in any event, the demise of the human species is of little consequence for Buddhism, per se, in that it teaches that there are 10,000 world systems with sentient beings that Buddhas appear to and turn the Wheel of Dharma. consequently, i would speculate that a human could be reborn in another world system were this one unable to sustain human life.

    regarding the end of the universe.. Buddhism has a cyclic view of time and, as such, when this universe ends the next one will arise and the same process by which sentient beings took form in this universe would unfold again.

    happy to link you to any Suttas which may be applicable. which fundamental idea are you wanting to investigate?

    metta,

    ~v
     
  13. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    vaj, hi and thank you for a most enlightening reply!

    thoughts being of the brain - which terminates at death, actions - of the world, what the embodied being does respective to it and environmental input; which counts for a larger percentage of actions, words - inclusive therein.

    interesting. i would go so far as to say that the ‘flow’ is all there is i.e. death, rebirth and reincarnation are all ultimately irrelevant, they are ways to explain it superficially, yet the actuality is far more subtle. call it a soul, spirit or what you will, to me it is simply a continued entity. after all if we are mentally extraneous to our physicality, thus there are no terminal points, no ends and in essence no change, all the aspects of us that are changeable are superfluous to this eternal entity. there is a parallel from the egyptian and tibetan books of the dead which elude to this; the buddhist view is as you say, the egyptians, whilst they often talk of the soul and spirit etc. they only speak of them as ‘we the dwellers therein’. we go from one ‘image’ or spiritual body type to the next on our journey, so interestingly when you get beneath the waffle there is a similar essential essence, we are after all only dwellers/vipaka in bodies.

    i see, that is probably quite true as the universe is truly massive, perhaps there are millions of worlds, and i don’t think that is mere speculation.
    regarding the end of the universe..

    that evokes an infinity paradox though!? i.e. one can have as many cycles or given multiples as we wish, however they always remain the same comparatively to the infinite. in other words; you cannot have an endless amount of cycles, as you cannot have an infinite ‘amount’.

    i am getting through many of the links you have provided by the way. what i am looking for would be suttas specific to that which lies between this world and the next - be it rebirth on earth or not. the intermediate zone to me seams like the egyptian underworld where the dweller goes through a series of transformations. but it is more the specific entity that partakes of the journey that i am looking for - which you have already eluded to erm well the lack of! :)

    ps. the reason i bring up the end of things and all things and my queries to how much karma actually belongs to us, is to put forwards the idea of the innocent rebirth/reincarnation. i think that karma is true but is not the all y’know; it appears to be an essence that would enter the new form as if like ingredients of the recipe, yet that may then evolve differently to its set karmic path. if all things came to an end, it would be of no consequence, as that essential karmic essence is the very same as it is in the original self and by which we are born to begin with. it is the eternal dweller.


     
  14. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the reply



    i'm not quite sure what you're getting at here.. could you elaborate a bit?



    herein is where our views differ. there is no basis, in my estimation, for support of a "continued entity" within the Buddha Dharma. this is one of the Four Noble Truths in Buddha Dharma which forms the core of the practice.



    what is the "we" you are speaking of here? what aspect of being are you identifying as "I" or me or mine?



    the Bardo Thodol does not indicate that there is an unchanging aspect of being which can be identified as "you" or "I" in any manner that i am aware of whilst it may be so for the Egyptian tradition, I am not a practiconer of that tradition and cannot say much about it.

    what is dwelling there now?

    it would not be correct to self identify with a beings Vipaka, either, from a Buddhist point of view. uprooting views of the self is not an easy task and is not something that all beings are capable of doing.



    that is simply a thought paradox and is based upon the faulty assumption of a bivalent universe. our universe is, however, multivalent and given this consideration the paradox does not apply. that said, this consideration is of little actual import in ones day to day practice.



    hmm.. i suspect that you will be quite disappointed here. the Suttas do not go into depth about the transitional process, per se. this material is covered in the Sutras found within the Mahayana and, in particular, the Vajrayana to a certain degree.. however, even this requires a certain mental view to be properly cognized.

    there aren't any 'intermediate' zones within the Buddhist system. the Suttas indicate that a being is reborn into the next arising the moment the current kamma energy is spent. the Vajrayana system, however, indicates that if a being has properly been trained, this process is actually able to be discerned in discrete steps and, further, that there is some manner by which a being can mitigate their karma even during this part of the process.

    this is one of the differences between Theradevan and Vajrayana Buddhism and Mahayana, for that matter.

    if you mean the various planes of existence wherein a being can take rebirth, that is convered in one of the links listed previously, the 31 Planes of Existence.

    yes, i am aware that this is your position :) thank you for clarifying it though.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  15. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    namaste vaj

    well i am saying that the ‘fruit of a beings karma’ is only partially theirs. much of what we are is environmental - and this would include the human form and all the functions of the brain. therein we may ask exactly what is left that passes from form to form? it would seam apparent that what is left is almost a blank sheet but with imprints upon it - kind of like the seed or essence of the non transient being that is ‘you’. actions, thoughts and all general transient natures then, are superficial translations of the eternal being. they would not transfer!
    the antithesis of this would be; ‘discontinued entities’! we either have one or the other if the karmic being ends it may not continue or else surely it is a continuing entity. what i am thinking is that our essence is not physical, both whilst occupying a vehicle [human being etc] and in between occupations. thence the continuance is in its non-relative state, in other words it is like infinity unbound, one form ends and it simply remains, then another form begins and it occupies because it is simply there. it may be so that this primal entity does not belong to anyone or anything, in this case there is not rebirth or reincarnation for us as individual entities.
    what i call ‘the guider’ and what the Egyptians referred to as ‘the dweller in images’, the ‘it’ by whatever name and meaning one wishes to apply. do we the being not have the capacity to ‘see’, perceive, to focus and to know - gnosis, not ordinary knowledge, the stuff of the akashik - and are these aspects part of the physical being? i think they are not, they and the seed [both collected and essential] are the essence of our entity.
    if all of this somehow ends; for instance if there is just an entity, and it becomes the seer etc when a child is born, then when the human form ends it may simply stop having those functions. if this is the case then there is no rebirth or reincarnation. this is what i was inferring about when discussing earlier the idea of a non self-centric perspective.
    either, ‘i’ or as above the ‘i’ as indistinct or not an ‘i’ [non self centrically viewed]. there is an ‘i’ in me now, yet this may dissipate at the demise of my human form.
    so essentially what buddhism is saying is that; we don’t exist but our karma does - even though it has nothing to wit it belongs? then that we are reborn, yet there is nothing that can be reborn?
    it is not a thought paradox, it has nothing to do with thought but is to do with the concept of the infinite. i don’t see how a bivalent or multivalent perspective of the universe makes a difference, this simply over complicates the matter in hand. what we have are cycles and limited aspects/components. thus my original statement remains so. sure it makes no difference in ones day to day practice, except that, living by dharma is living by the way in which we wish to expulse negative karma in order to ultimately be released. however it is clear that there is nothing that continues and karma only applies when there is an existence to move to. how that karma can affect us when we don’t even exist i cannot work out - it simply sounds self-contradictory.
    oh i see. in the Tibetan book of the dead there is an intermediate zone, and this is where we are reborn or not [by being unattached]. is this not a part of buddhism? ah i presume it is another school of... mahayana if i remember correctly.
    interesting, what is ‘the being’ here described?

    this has been a most enlightening set of posts, concerning notions that have bothered me of late. thank you very much for bringing me nearer - haha, and please excuse my direct method and universal translation/comparison.:)

    metta
     
  16. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    "Buddhism has sometimes been called an atheistic teaching, either in an approving sense by freethinkers and rationalists, or in a derogatory sense by people of theistic persuasion. Only in one way can Buddhism be described as atheistic, namely, in so far as it denies the existence of an eternal, omnipotent God or godhead who is the creator and ordainer of the world. The word "atheism," however, like the word "godless," frequently carries a number of disparaging overtones or implications, which in no way apply to the Buddha's teaching.

    Those who use the word "atheism" often associate it with a materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world of the senses and the slight happiness it can bestow. Buddhism is nothing of that sort. In this respect it agrees with the teachings of other religions, that true lasting happiness cannot be found in this world; nor, the Buddha adds, can it be found on any higher plane of existence, conceived as a heavenly or divine world, since all planes of existence are impermanent and thus incapable of giving lasting bliss.

    Buddhism is not an enemy of religion as atheism is believed to be. Buddhism, indeed, is the enemy of none. A Buddhist will recognize and appreciate whatever ethical, spiritual and cultural values have been created by God-belief in its long and checkered history. We cannot, however, close our eyes to the fact that the God-concept has served too often as a cloak for man's will to power, and the reckless and cruel use of that power, thus adding considerably to the ample measure of misery in this world supposed to be an all-loving God's creation.

    The word "atheism" also carries the innuendo of an attitude countenancing moral laxity, or a belief that man-made ethics, having no divine sanction, rest on shaky foundations. For Buddhism, however, the basic moral law is inherent in life itself."




    s.
     
  17. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    one of my long posts..lol...

    yes, agnideva, I should have made a distinction between hinduism and vedism, I suppose, but I'm not that bright! glad to know we seem to be on the same page though, ish.... I also want to say, yeah, maybe hinduism as such came from a mix of brahmanism and buddhism, but Brahma wasn't always the top dog... lol... Indra gets my vote... lol...

    to try to reply to the rest of the posters I say-

    I have heard that...

    karma, translates as - that which makes (ka) and measures (ma), and that ultimately, this karma is a product of consciousness... there is no bad or good karma, only karma...

    vipaka, the "fruit" of karma, ripens only in the current continuum, or rather, the effects caused by ur judgements and ur ways of seeing the world, which is ur karma, only "fruits" or ripens when it is given favourable conditions, such as food and water and air, without those things the fruits wither... as a buddhist, the aim (that is not an aim) suggests that the cultivation of concentration and insight which buddhism advocates would then negate this karma by default, as the person became more awake to both themself and the world, surely, and there would be no fuel for the fruit left?

    ...to my way of looking at it, in buddhism the soul becomes the consciousness, not a god given thing but a product of twelve factors.... (the twelve membered dependent arising, of which karma is just one part) yet it appears that most buddhist schools ultimately supports the notion that the consciousness-stream of an individual can remain after death and some buddhists even believe that this consciousness, if maintained, can be deliberately reborn in another incarnation retaining most of the wisdom it has gained in the previous life-time, and not only does this belief manifest in the minds of peasants it is also the reason why there are still Tibetan tulkus, even today... often in Tibet the heads of monestaries would deliberately reincarnate, etc, yet today most intelligent people think this practise is a clever con trick...

    yes, this practise is definately spoken about in The Bardo Thodol, yet to manage this kind of feat practitioners not only have to be able to maintain the consciousness stream through death but also manage to maintain a kind of ego integrity in the face of horrific visions and demons which in themselves are no more than products of our consciousness, and resist the allure of the good gods and sweet smelling godesses and forget the light, all of which are ends, and result in the various migrations... depending on ur karma, depending how u see the world, depends how u will migrate... if u are greedy and think u will be reborn as a pig, chances are u might well be...

    regardless,

    then, when a person has maintained the stream, came through the other side, made their way through the bardo states, which appear in three seperate phases and and each last a certain number of days, they have to find a body to enter, know how to get in, then close the womb door, then sit in meditation in the womb for nearly ten months and then be born, without experiencing ego dissolution, which is difficult enough, but even more difficult if u have been sitting on the hill for ten years trying to rid urself of all character flaws and convince urself that u do not exist while visualising a load of demons and bodhisattvas are helping u in ur quest, and being told that there is no soul, as such... etc...

    yes, the egyptians also spoke about this way of remaining after death, and ways to maintain the ka after death, interestingly enough, some jews also acknowledge the passing of their kin by being mindful of the death and reciting prayers over them for sometimes up to 49 days, which, incidentally, is supposedly the length of the bardo, also...

    if we take buddhism to it's logical conclusion then yes there is no soul, no given part, but yes, the consciousness stream of an individual may be maintained after death if a person is willful enough.

    if u can ignore the prospect of heaven, even though it is only a fingertip away, if u can be strong when confronted by visions of hell, if u can show no fear in the face of blood drinking demons, then maybe u'll come out the other side. then u have to find a new mum and dad, etc, etc.

    for most ppl it is not like that. The end comes, they think of God, perhaps, or they think of hell, or they think of their children and families. Some of the latter might actually make it back, maintain their consciousness stream by little else than sheer willpower, and sometimes people call these beings ghosts. Eventually most of these consciousness streams dissappear, and then they go onto, maybe, heaven...

    there's nothing subtle in convincing peasants that if they don't behave they'll go to hell, or be reborn as insects or ugly ppl....

    it's not very insightful to suggest that a blind man was punished for reading dirty books in his past life time, and no point sugesting to the mentally ill that they suffer because of past sins, yet this is what happens when we believe in this childish primitive doctrine of transmigration, when in truth, it's far more subtle and mysterious than that...

    or at least, tat's my take on it...
     
  18. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Z,

    thank you for the post.

    which would be a decidely non-Buddhist point of view as the definition of Kamma/Karma within the auspices of Buddha Dharma are clearly indicated within the Suttas.

    indeed, that is a very good question to ask.

    karma does not transfer, vipaka does. in a sense, it is the consequences which continue to have ramifications, not the actions, thoughts or words themselves.

    why must it be only these two options?

    i'm having a hard time following you since your use of the term Karma is not consistent with my understanding and thus i'm not entirely sure of what you are trying to communicate here.

    what essence?

    if i'm making the correct corellation, Buddha Dharma terms this "the master builder".

    i think that you are mistaking karma for vipaka. karma does not exist apart from sentient beings that can make intentional thoughts, actions and words and vipaka is the consequence of that kamma (intentional action, thought or word).

    Buddha Dharma does not teach that "we" are reborn.. it teaches that Vipaka conditions the next arising of the sentient being which has arisen in this present physical form.

    Kamma is operative for all sentient beings that have not crossed to the Other Shore as kamma is, in my view, fundamentally associated with the aspect of being which infers a permanent self. even Buddhas produce kamma, though it is of a special sort.

    i hope you will agree that "concept" is related to thought.

    a mulitvalent universe would necessitate more than the two options which you have provided and consideration of such does not overcomplicate the discussion, in my opinion.

    hmm.. this could be rather problematic though it could simply be the phraseology that you've used. the practice of the Dharma is not to expulse negative vipaka, per se, it is to generate positive vipaka... karma is neither negative nor positive, it is the vipaka which is. Kamma, in terms of its quality, is termed "skillful" or "unskillful".. skillful when it leads to positive vipaka and unskillful when it generated negative vipaka.

    karma doesn't effect beings.. vipaka does.

    if it sounds like i'm being pendantic i apologize. Vipaka and Karma are not interchangable terms, however, and i think that having misconceptions of these leads to greater confusion rather than clarifying the discussion.

    have you read the Buddhist Suttas concerning rebirth, what it is and why it happens?

    the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead is actually a section of a much larger collection of work called "The Natural Liberation of Through Contemplating the Buddhas Mild and Fierce." the section which is typically called "Tibetan Book of the Dead" is actually called "Book of Natural Liberation through Understanding in the Between." and was transmitted by Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche. this is not a destination where a being takes rebirth, this is the transitional phase, in Vajrayana systems, to the rebirth destination.

    relative and continually in flux. that said, it is a convention of language to refer to the currently arisen sentient being in this manner, nothing more.


    no worries :)

    metta,

    ~v
     
  19. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    thank you vaj

    i think i need a good think on all this :)
     
  20. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    The monk asked: "How can we realize Liberation?" The Master replied: "Since originally you have never been bound, there is no use in seeking to become unbound or liberated. If both function and action are clear and direct, then all things are equal."

    Entering The Tao of Sudden Enlightenment; The Tsung Ching Record


    Perhaps it's a matter of perspective, or approach, or words...

    s.
     

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