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  #51  
Old 07-26-2018, 05:10 AM
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It’s easy to be opinionated, being informed takes a little more effort. At times being only opinionated can announce how uninformed one is.
  #52  
Old 07-31-2018, 03:03 PM
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My ideas aren't misguided but rather show the flaws in their philosophy.
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Based on previous threads you've started, I suspect you don't understand Nihilism and I know you don't understand Buddhism.
My apologies if this is a side-track or hi-jack, but I don't follow the postings of MachinaForce closely enough to have discerned a pattern. Is this guy's habit that he tends to post critical reviews of various religions, that he likes to study and discuss the existentialist philosophies, or that he's repeatedly trying to say, "My faith is better than [whatever alternative] because..."

Or is there some other kind of game he plays around here?

Because I'm gleaning from various responses that some of you have tried to correct this guy's interpretations in previous threads (which I have not read) and some of you are rather tired of the seeming futility of trying. If MachinaForce is really trying to discuss and understand then it's worth trying to help him comprehend; if he's just Baiting the Believers and playing at being dumb, then there's really no sense in even pretending to try to educate him.

I ask only because I'd rather not waste the (virtual) ink on a response if his game is just to be antagonistic. Convincing True Believers that their devotion is undeserved is a fools errand and, while critics are quick to point out flaws and inconsistencies, they typically lack the ability to suggest compensatory ideas or corrections, much less alternative approaches. On the other hand, if he's really trying to learn and just happens to be way off-base, a response or two might be worthwhile.

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  #53  
Old 07-31-2018, 04:58 PM
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As I understand it, the central message of Buddhism is "every man for himself". I'm not sure how that's nihilistic.
  #54  
Old 08-02-2018, 01:10 PM
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Buddhists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
  #55  
Old 12-01-2018, 03:11 PM
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Compassion seems Incompatible with buddhism


It just seems to me that much of the buddhist teachings don't seem to follow to compassion as the end result or even involve it as a component of the teachings. I get that there is no separate, independent, and enduring self, that's obvious. The bit about suffering caused by desire is a bit iffy overall, but I can wrap my head around it.

But it doesn't really explain why one must stop suffering. If you want to see reality as it really is, empty of our perceptions, would that not mean losing compassion and being indifferent to suffering?
  #56  
Old 12-01-2018, 03:35 PM
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Buddha famously said "the root of all suffering is ignoring Asimovian".
  #57  
Old 12-01-2018, 04:42 PM
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This isn't really related to that, I think. It's more like the more I read about Buddhist faith the more it seems like compassion is just shoehorned into there. Other stuff I can reasonably consider, but I can't quite figure how they cram that in there.

I guess the question can be somewhat moral in that they to have compassion and loving kindness but don't accurately answer why. Not to mention that there seems to be too much value placed on personal experience.
  #58  
Old 12-01-2018, 06:16 PM
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Wanda to Otto: "The central message of Buddhism is NOT , 'every man for himself'!"
  #59  
Old 12-02-2018, 12:38 AM
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I was impressed by how much like a "church" the Buddhist temples in Japan were. You know -- pamphlets about the treatment of refugees, notices about blanket collections for welfare, bulletins about the donations to earthquake victims. That kind of thing. It didn't seem to be incompatible with compassion at all.
  #60  
Old 12-02-2018, 02:24 AM
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Buddhism has multiple major schools with different tenets, it's unfair to make a blanket statement such a "Compassion seems incompatible with Buddhism" without stating which school and tenets you're referring to.

Even saying you visited a Japanese Buddhist temple is too broad a stoke since Japanese Buddhism has several major schools of thought/belief.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-02-2018 at 02:29 AM.
  #61  
Old 12-02-2018, 04:29 AM
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Short answer to your question is no. I am incapable of providing a brief explanation as to why.
The book "Beyond Religion " by the present Dalai Lama gives an in depth answer to your question, if you're willing to take the time.
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  #62  
Old 12-02-2018, 10:15 AM
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I know Buddhism is not what I'm about to describe, but I can't help thinking that the tenet all suffering is caused by desire and to pursue detachment is simply practicing not giving a shit about anything. In my book, that's chronic depression, and certainly not worth pursuing.
  #63  
Old 12-02-2018, 10:20 AM
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Wanda to Otto: "The central message of Buddhism is NOT , 'every man for himself'!"
That's what I was going to say.

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  #64  
Old 12-02-2018, 12:47 PM
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Siddhartha Gautama himself went around giving lectures, teaching disciples, etc., even though he was "enlightened", a super yoga master (including advanced meditation to the point of being able to eliminate all perception, feelings, and consciousness), in a state of nirvana, and anything else you can think of. All because he did not feel that the point of Buddhism was, as explained above, "every man for himself". This is even associated to the very concept of a bodhisattva.

Last edited by DPRK; 12-02-2018 at 12:48 PM.
  #65  
Old 12-02-2018, 01:13 PM
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I'm not a Buddhist, but keep a miniature copy of the bust of the Bodhisttva Kanon (Kwan Yin) erected in Kamakura, Japan because it reminds me of my years living there and as a symbol of someone giving all of themselves for the sake of others.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-02-2018 at 01:14 PM.
  #66  
Old 12-02-2018, 01:44 PM
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Buddhism has multiple major schools with different tenets, it's unfair to make a blanket statement such a "Compassion seems incompatible with Buddhism" without stating which school and tenets you're referring to.

Even saying you visited a Japanese Buddhist temple is too broad a stoke since Japanese Buddhism has several major schools of thought/belief.
I guess I am specifically referring to Mahayana which seems to advocate for both compassion and wisdom. To me it just doesn't seem like compassion fits. Sure everything is connected and we are not separate, independent individuals (or no man is an island), but that doesn't exactly mean that I should care about the suffering of others.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:48 PM
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Siddhartha Gautama himself went around giving lectures, teaching disciples, etc., even though he was "enlightened", a super yoga master (including advanced meditation to the point of being able to eliminate all perception, feelings, and consciousness), in a state of nirvana, and anything else you can think of. All because he did not feel that the point of Buddhism was, as explained above, "every man for himself". This is even associated to the very concept of a bodhisattva.
Those are all interesting claims, though there is no way to prove he did such things with meditation or that he was "enlightened".

I think the man might have been mistaken with what he was teaching. Because from where I sit he doesn't really say why one should care about others or their suffering. If everything is empty and value is something we create, by extension compassion doesn't have a place there nor loving-kindness. He sought to eliminate suffering, but to me that doesn't mean he found the truth of reality. If he says the goal is to eliminate suffering and he chose to do so then that is more of a man made goal, not something in the universe or a trait of reality. It somewhat contradicts the idea of emptiness.
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Old 12-02-2018, 01:50 PM
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Short answer to your question is no. I am incapable of providing a brief explanation as to why.
The book "Beyond Religion " by the present Dalai Lama gives an in depth answer to your question, if you're willing to take the time.
The Dali Lama is just a man, to me I don't think he actually answers any of the concerns behind Buddhism. Many of them seem to hide behind direct experience, which just seems like a cop out answer. What makes such an experience reliable and how do they know it isn't just the mind still influencing them?

Also it's hard to take seriously a man who preaches about "universal ethics".

Last edited by Machinaforce; 12-02-2018 at 01:52 PM.
  #69  
Old 12-02-2018, 02:00 PM
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Where do you get this notion that they are incompatible? The Five Precepts and the Eightfold Path seem to be filled with calls to compassion. Metta meditation seems to me to be the epitome of compassion.
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:49 PM
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I guess I am specifically referring to Mahayana which seems to advocate for both compassion and wisdom. To me it just doesn't seem like compassion fits. Sure everything is connected and we are not separate, independent individuals (or no man is an island), but that doesn't exactly mean that I should care about the suffering of others.
It seems you're using the tenets (as you understand/perceive them) of Mahayana Buddhism as an excuse for your lack of compassion for others. I'm a true believer in my religion, but don't feel the desire or need to actively bring others to accept my beliefs to save them, unlike some who do. Does that mean I lack compassion for others?

Gautama Buddha didn't seek out followers nor did he shun them. By not shunning them and speaking about how HE attained enlightenment, he showed compassion for others. Remember, throughout history, there are countless other enlightened or seeking enlightenment people who we don't hear about, possibly because they actually shunned followers.
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:55 PM
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The Dali Lama is just a man, to me I don't think he actually answers any of the concerns behind Buddhism. Many of them seem to hide behind direct experience, which just seems like a cop out answer. What makes such an experience reliable and how do they know it isn't just the mind still influencing them?

Also it's hard to take seriously a man who preaches about "universal ethics".
So you don't think compassion "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" isn't a "universal ethic"? The only people I know that are completely incapable of any type of compassion are sociopaths. Even animals have compassion for others of their kind.
  #72  
Old 12-02-2018, 03:00 PM
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Where do you get this notion that they are incompatible?
I don't know if you've read many of the OP's other threads but it's clear that he doesn't understand Buddhism, as well as many of the other concepts he wishes to discuss.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:06 PM
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i don't know if you've read many of the op's other threads but it's clear that he doesn't understand buddhism, as well as many of the other concepts he wishes to discuss.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:15 PM
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I don't know if you've read many of the OP's other threads but it's clear that he doesn't understand Buddhism, as well as many of the other concepts he wishes to discuss.
+1

I came back to post because I realized that his/her statement, "I guess I am specifically referring to Mahayana..." makes it clear that he/she probably just read passages and said "I didn't read what I wanted to read, so it must not be there". Developing an opinion without fully reading or understanding the context is always dangerous as evidenced by people pulling select passages from the Koran to vilify all Muslims.

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  #75  
Old 12-02-2018, 03:30 PM
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In my study of Il Won Buddhism there are 2 'end game' things to strive for (and two minor goals that some people also strive for), the first is enlightenment, This 'can' involve limited compassion, but some appears to be needed to achieve enlightenment, though it can be receiving compassion. This can be the every man for himself, I'm out of here, bat out of hell sort of thing, but doesn't have to be. But the more noble goal is to commit, after being enlightened, to dedicate one's existence to help others achieve it, and actually to keep coming back (reincarnation), till everyone is enlightened. The other 2 'minor goals', one is a sense of inner peace and I forgot the other.

Last edited by kanicbird; 12-02-2018 at 03:30 PM.
  #76  
Old 12-02-2018, 03:32 PM
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So you don't think compassion "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" isn't a "universal ethic"? The only people I know that are completely incapable of any type of compassion are sociopaths. Even animals have compassion for others of their kind.
That doesn't make it universal. It's fine to preach that but to call it universal would be false. The case with animals is iffy, as you stated it's others of their kind, which is hardly universal. You could make the case about most people in first world countries as they only show it when disaster strikes but don't really mind the perpetual starvation. even the sociopaths show it still isn't a universal ethic.

Still doesn't answer the why though.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:33 PM
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It is obvious to anyone who looks at Buddhism that it does involve compassion and loving kindness, but I can understand the confusion as to why. To the lay person, lack of attachment sounds like aloofness. And certain branches which focus on technical practice like zen can seem emotionless. But that's just because of the incorrect idea that love is about control.

If you actually are in tune with the nature of suffering in yourself enough to resolve it than it becomes impossible to believe there is any reality to the idea that there is a distinction between suffering inside you and suffering outside you. In advanced stages, even the idea of self versus other stops making sense.

If you love yourself and don't see the self as distinct, compassion is just a natural consequence. Think of the absurdity of your index finger trying to injure your pinky. That only makes sense if you don't see your whole hand.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:35 PM
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It seems you're using the tenets (as you understand/perceive them) of Mahayana Buddhism as an excuse for your lack of compassion for others. I'm a true believer in my religion, but don't feel the desire or need to actively bring others to accept my beliefs to save them, unlike some who do. Does that mean I lack compassion for others?

Gautama Buddha didn't seek out followers nor did he shun them. By not shunning them and speaking about how HE attained enlightenment, he showed compassion for others. Remember, throughout history, there are countless other enlightened or seeking enlightenment people who we don't hear about, possibly because they actually shunned followers.
Well allegedly enlightenment. I don't really think it's compassion when you answer a question someone asks you.

I would think the one's who shunned followers might be closer to IT than the Buddha was.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:42 PM
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It is obvious to anyone who looks at Buddhism that it does involve compassion and loving kindness, but I can understand the confusion as to why. To the lay person, lack of attachment sounds like aloofness. And certain branches which focus on technical practice like zen can seem emotionless. But that's just because of the incorrect idea that love is about control.

If you actually are in tune with the nature of suffering in yourself enough to resolve it than it becomes impossible to believe there is any reality to the idea that there is a distinction between suffering inside you and suffering outside you. In advanced stages, even the idea of self versus other stops making sense.

If you love yourself and don't see the self as distinct, compassion is just a natural consequence. Think of the absurdity of your index finger trying to injure your pinky. That only makes sense if you don't see your whole hand.
It's not obvious though, you are just told it's obvious.

Me resolving my own suffering does not, by extension mean I have to do anything about others. I can recognize their is no distinction between my suffering and others, that still doesn't explain why I have to do something about others suffering or even my own. If one is to "gaze at reality" as it is, then they would see that nothing matters. The value we assign to things is just a mental creation not something that exists outside our heads. It's just as absurd to injure yourself as it is to not do so. To see reality as it is they have to realize that suffering isn't bad or good, something to avoid or encourage. Those are values, which they claim don't really exist.

It can even be argued that you don't have to love yourself to be free of suffering. Plus their notion of self is something that is changing but not independent and permanent. If there were no self and other they wouldn't be working to help others.

If they want to preach compassion I can't stop them, but to say they see things as they are and still preach loving-kindness and compassion would be incorrect.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:44 PM
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I don't know if you've read many of the OP's other threads but it's clear that he doesn't understand Buddhism, as well as many of the other concepts he wishes to discuss.
I do, that's why I can't seriously follow it knowing their contradictions. Considering the one's who keep pointing out that I don't understand don't explicitly state how I can only assume they are the one's who don't understand and just believe what they want because Buddhism is the religion of kindness (very loosely).
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Old 12-02-2018, 04:35 PM
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It may not be obvious in principle, without understanding, but I would think even if it isn't obvious why it is true, it would at least be obvious that it is extremely prevalent if you actually spend a lot of time around Buddhist communities.

I'm not sure how to explain to you why, especially if you are determined not to believe, but there is a real distinction between Buddhism and nihilism, despite all the talk of emptiness and no self. Buddhism is partly the end product of the Buddha purposefully exploring asceticism as a means to end suffering and found that it wasn't fruitful. I suspect you might be miscontruing neutrality with negativity.

Also, enlightenment isn't a single thing. It is a series of awakenings or awarenesses that build on each other. While the central dogma about the cause and end of suffering is seemingly simple, the eightfold path shows that actually achieving that simple understanding behaviorally is a subtle and broad art and science.

Maybe we can look at it another way. Compassion is just the natural state of things and it is only suffering which causes that natural state to be out of balance. So saying there is no connection between ending suffering and being compassionate is sort of like saying there is no connection between removing a dam and the river flowing.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:00 PM
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It may not be obvious in principle, without understanding, but I would think even if it isn't obvious why it is true, it would at least be obvious that it is extremely prevalent if you actually spend a lot of time around Buddhist communities.

I'm not sure how to explain to you why, especially if you are determined not to believe, but there is a real distinction between Buddhism and nihilism, despite all the talk of emptiness and no self. Buddhism is partly the end product of the Buddha purposefully exploring asceticism as a means to end suffering and found that it wasn't fruitful. I suspect you might be miscontruing neutrality with negativity.

Also, enlightenment isn't a single thing. It is a series of awakenings or awarenesses that build on each other. While the central dogma about the cause and end of suffering is seemingly simple, the eightfold path shows that actually achieving that simple understanding behaviorally is a subtle and broad art and science.

Maybe we can look at it another way. Compassion is just the natural state of things and it is only suffering which causes that natural state to be out of balance. So saying there is no connection between ending suffering and being compassionate is sort of like saying there is no connection between removing a dam and the river flowing.
Except compassion isn't the natural state of things. Trying to end suffering and being compassionate are not really related to a river and a damn. Bear in mind that using the word "natural" is useless since everything is pretty much that way. Beavers make damns just like humans. Balance is more of a concept humans made to make sense of some vague notion of equilibrium. Suffering is also the natural state of things. You still don't answer why something should be done about it. If good and bad are just creations of the mind then compassion is out the window too.

From what I see, enlightenment doesn't actually exist. The sensations that such Buddhists experience are merely a product of meditation but not the truth of reality. They have been replicated in the lab through the use of magnets and drugs. There isn't anything revelatory about them, only what people assign to them.

There is no awakening, there isn't really insight. The fact that you use the word believe makes me think Buddhism is more dogma than people want to admit. All that can be said about it is that the methods and teachings yield a reaction, not that the reaction is truth or wisdom.

The only way Buddhism skirts past nihilism is to shoehorn in compassion and kindness.

Last edited by Machinaforce; 12-02-2018 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:07 PM
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All that can be said about it is that the methods and teachings yield a reaction, not that the reaction is truth or wisdom. The end result is people believing such sensations or "revelations" to be wisdom rather than just products of a certain worldview. It's similar to cult indoctrination (but obviously not as extreme) in which belief is more powerful than whether it's true or not. After all, the only thing the people have is their own experience and that varies. People react differently and there is no standard to compare with, all they have is self reporting and the stories they tell to make sense of experience.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:52 PM
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It just seems to me that much of the buddhist teachings don't seem to follow to compassion as the end result or even involve it as a component of the teachings. I get that there is no separate, independent, and enduring self, that's obvious. The bit about suffering caused by desire is a bit iffy overall, but I can wrap my head around it.

But it doesn't really explain why one must stop suffering. If you want to see reality as it really is, empty of our perceptions, would that not mean losing compassion and being indifferent to suffering?
You've already got an open thread on Buddhism. This does not warrant a separate thread in light of the prior moderator instruction.

You're being issued a warning for failure to follow moderator instruction.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:54 PM
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I've merged the new thread into the previous thread.
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:04 PM
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You seem determined to dislike Buddhism for some reason. There are differing opinions within Buddhism itself as to how to interpret the experiences that result, as well as differing branches that emphasise different aspects of it as their focus. Sure, maybe everything involved is just training the brain to act more efficiently. How that is supposed to make it incompatible with compassion I can't imagine.

It could even be as simple as the fact that people that are consistently in a better mood tend to be more empathetic in general, and even people who are determinedly selfish can be convinced to do something nice just so sad people don't harsh their buzz. It also works in reverse, being compassionate leads to feeling good. Even if you don't buy that anything about Buddhism actively encourages compassion, there is nothing that makes them incompatible.

Certainly being the opposite of compassionate, being a jerk, should be obvious as being obstructive to maintaining a state of mind conducive to nonsuffering.

Enlightenment again, is not a single thing. It can refer to the particular insight the Buddha achieved, but it can refer to other component insights, and other peak states. Have you never had a "eureka" moment? Well someone had a eureka moment in which they realized in a deep sustainable way the cause of the experience of suffering and how to never experience it again, and a way to train other people how to have that understanding.

I find it weird that you believe that if you figured out a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make large numbers of people happy that you wouldn't want to share it.

Also, strictly speaking, certain Western ideas of Buddhism get mixed together with Zen, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, etc.

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Old 12-03-2018, 07:04 AM
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The Dali Lama is just a man, to me I don't think he actually answers any of the concerns behind Buddhism. Many of them seem to hide behind direct experience, which just seems like a cop out answer. What makes such an experience reliable and how do they know it isn't just the mind still influencing them?

Also it's hard to take seriously a man who preaches about "universal ethics".
To be clear: I'm an atheist with no dog in this fight. However, while neither defending or assailing the overall concepts of Buddhism, I do find them fascinating, and have found that reading (books) extensively about such has been... enlightening! I offered a reference to a quick read that would answer the specific question you posed in the OP. Unfortunately, this thread has decomposed into your overall indictment of Buddhism and the subsequent defense of the belief by others, and my reference does not address all of your preconceptions... it is not all-encompassing.

Your comment above indicates a strong bias on your part, whereas your lack of interest in what the Dali Lama (for christ-sakes!) has to say on the subject, because he is just a man! (This begs the question: Why waste time on SD?) It's as if you are looking for "word of God proof" found in other (perhaps your) beliefs to assign some degree of legitimacy in your mind. Believe what you choose, but I don't think you will find answers that you seek concerning Buddhism unless you are willing to read and understand the words of man.
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Last edited by gogogophers; 12-03-2018 at 07:06 AM.
  #88  
Old 12-03-2018, 12:58 PM
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To be clear: I'm an atheist with no dog in this fight. However, while neither defending or assailing the overall concepts of Buddhism, I do find them fascinating, and have found that reading (books) extensively about such has been... enlightening! I offered a reference to a quick read that would answer the specific question you posed in the OP. Unfortunately, this thread has decomposed into your overall indictment of Buddhism and the subsequent defense of the belief by others, and my reference does not address all of your preconceptions... it is not all-encompassing.

Your comment above indicates a strong bias on your part, whereas your lack of interest in what the Dali Lama (for christ-sakes!) has to say on the subject, because he is just a man! (This begs the question: Why waste time on SD?) It's as if you are looking for "word of God proof" found in other (perhaps your) beliefs to assign some degree of legitimacy in your mind. Believe what you choose, but I don't think you will find answers that you seek concerning Buddhism unless you are willing to read and understand the words of man.
I have read books by him before. But that was before I began to think about the why behind his words which he doesnít answer. I donít like how Buddhism hides behind ego and mind as a defense when they get questioned. I used to think universal ethics was a thing until I realized ethics is just a human concept. That there isnít anything universal about it. His words sound like wisdom if you just accept them, which I used to do. He doesnít really answer questions so much as tell you what things are without much explaination.
  #89  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:05 PM
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You seem determined to dislike Buddhism for some reason. There are differing opinions within Buddhism itself as to how to interpret the experiences that result, as well as differing branches that emphasise different aspects of it as their focus. Sure, maybe everything involved is just training the brain to act more efficiently. How that is supposed to make it incompatible with compassion I can't imagine.

It could even be as simple as the fact that people that are consistently in a better mood tend to be more empathetic in general, and even people who are determinedly selfish can be convinced to do something nice just so sad people don't harsh their buzz. It also works in reverse, being compassionate leads to feeling good. Even if you don't buy that anything about Buddhism actively encourages compassion, there is nothing that makes them incompatible.

Certainly being the opposite of compassionate, being a jerk, should be obvious as being obstructive to maintaining a state of mind conducive to nonsuffering.

Enlightenment again, is not a single thing. It can refer to the particular insight the Buddha achieved, but it can refer to other component insights, and other peak states. Have you never had a "eureka" moment? Well someone had a eureka moment in which they realized in a deep sustainable way the cause of the experience of suffering and how to never experience it again, and a way to train other people how to have that understanding.

I find it weird that you believe that if you figured out a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make large numbers of people happy that you wouldn't want to share it.

Also, strictly speaking, certain Western ideas of Buddhism get mixed together with Zen, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, etc.

If natural state bothers you, try unecumbered by poor health.
Thing is it doesnít answer why you would want to make others happy. It could be argued that some religions make many happy but only through believing something, Buddhism is the same. As I said it skirts the nihilistic conclusions by trying to horn in compassion.

I have had eureka moments, but they have been wrong in the past. People never consider if the Buddha was wrong.
  #90  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:11 PM
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I do, that's why I can't seriously follow it knowing their contradictions. Considering the one's who keep pointing out that I don't understand don't explicitly state how I can only assume they are the one's who don't understand and just believe what they want because Buddhism is the religion of kindness (very loosely).
Then don't follow it. No one, I assume, is forcing you to become a follower.

There are a lot of things I don't understand. I am comfortable thinking about other things instead.
  #91  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:16 PM
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Then don't follow it. No one, I assume, is forcing you to become a follower.

There are a lot of things I don't understand. I am comfortable thinking about other things instead.
I guess Iím just bothered that it gets a free ride for a religion .
  #92  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:31 PM
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I guess Iím just bothered that it gets a free ride for a religion .
Start looking at other religions. They all get a "free ride."
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  #93  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:38 PM
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I do, that's why I can't seriously follow it knowing their contradictions. Considering the one's who keep pointing out that I don't understand don't explicitly state how I can only assume they are the one's who don't understand and just believe what they want because Buddhism is the religion of kindness (very loosely).
Then don't follow it. No one, I assume, is forcing you to become a follower.

There are a lot of things I don't understand. I am comfortable thinking about other things instead.
A few years back, there was a UK drama series called Skins that focused on the lives of a close-knit group of teenagers. One kid, Maxxie, was gay, and wanted to know whether his friend Maxxie's father (a devout Muslim Pakistani man) would object or shun him or whatever. So Maxxie told Mr Kharral directly. The father responded, "It's a fucking stupid, messed up world. I've got my God; he speaks to me every day. Some things I just can't work out, so I leave them be. Okay? Even if I think they're wrong. Because I know, one day he'll make me understand. I've got that trust; it's called belief. I'm a lucky man." I think that's a good way to think of things, no matter what your beliefs are.
  #94  
Old 12-03-2018, 01:51 PM
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The best thing to remember about Buddhism is that what is practiced in the West as Buddhism is largely unidentifiable to what is practiced in the East. The West's version has become infused with Western sensibilities and a fair helping of 60s New Age thought. Western Buddhism is like if someone decided to read the Bible and make a religion out of it while ignoring 3000 years of history, practice, exegesis and tradition so didn't know what they were on about. Ask an atheist to give you their rundown of what Christianity is and pretty much you get the same gobbledy-gook as if you ask a Western Buddhist what Buddhism is - although instead of villifying it in the former case, they lionize and romanticize it in the latter. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, we all have our path to trod, but it's best to make the differentiation about the two before making broad pronouncements.
  #95  
Old 12-03-2018, 03:57 PM
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This isn't really related to that, I think. It's more like the more I read about Buddhist faith the more it seems like compassion is just shoehorned into there. Other stuff I can reasonably consider, but I can't quite figure how they cram that in there.

I guess the question can be somewhat moral in that they to have compassion and loving kindness but don't accurately answer why. Not to mention that there seems to be too much value placed on personal experience.
The reason Buddhism exists is because the Buddha decided to care about other people. He became Enlightened, was going to head off to Nirvana, and then decided "you know what, I'm going to hang around for a whlie and teach others so that they can also maybe learn not to suffer". So the story says, anyway. Compassion is a central tenet of the religion because without it, Buddhism never happened.

You have had threads before about if everything is empty, how can you make any decisions. Compassion is an answer there (i.e., you make decisions based on compassion). Maybe that is a practical reason why it is included.
  #96  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:01 PM
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Thing is it doesnít answer why you would want to make others happy. It could be argued that some religions make many happy but only through believing something, Buddhism is the same. As I said it skirts the nihilistic conclusions by trying to horn in compassion.

I have had eureka moments, but they have been wrong in the past. People never consider if the Buddha was wrong.
I'm sure there are better answers out there, if your goal is really to understand and not simply to refute.

A simple search for Buddhism and nihilism will show you that it's a common question, and people have tried to explain it in different ways, but the overwhelming consensus is that thinking Buddhism is nihilistic is based in a misunderstanding of different usages of the terms nihilism and self and so forth.I haven't found strong support anywhere from those who have seriously explored both who still consider Buddhism to be nihilistic in the same sense as nihilism proper conceives of it.

I think the basic misunderstanding comes from the ideas of no self and emptiness - they aren't about annihilation of the self and replacing it with a depressing meaningless nothingness. They are just about recognising that the self as most people conceive of it is more like a mask we wear under which is the true self, which is a sort of neutral but blissful witness.

Buddhism is anti nihilistic in several senses - there is a specific goal that is considered meaningful, the end result still has what we might considered positive qualities, and so forth. Also, there is an important distinction between removing desire and attachment, and not caring about anything because nothing matters.

Buddhism is kind of like an onion, there is the core precept, which is the nature and ceasing of suffering, then there are layers of the eightfold path which is basically a how to, then there additional learnings that deepen understanding of how our mind and self operate, then on top of that are the various traditions which may go into further details, mix in other philosophical systems, or focus on a particular aspect.

The core aspect is the ending of suffering. And not just the suffering of the self, the suffering of others, and more generally, the complete eradication of suffering even conceptually. That's not just a result, it's the primary goal. The whole premise is that this rich pampered prince who had everything he could ever want for the rest of his life snuck out and discovered other people have shitty lives, and found that he could not feel right with himself unless he conquered this problem at it's very roots.

So compassion for others, while there are reasons and explanations, the best of which is simply ending suffering even just in oneself is simply not compatible with non compassion - even without explanations it doesn't matter because it's the primary goal, or assumption. Buddhism assumes you want to end suffering, its goal is not to convince people suffering sucks. It seems self evident to me, but if for some reason you aren't opposed to suffering, then Buddhism simply isn't for you.

Now there's a fork in the road. The Buddha basically tried to end his own suffering as a sort of guinea pig experiment in order to succeed the ultimate goal of ending all suffering. If that's your goal, then following a successful example is a pretty clear path. On the other hand, it is true, some people explore Buddhism with the smaller goal of only ending their own suffering. But even though this wasn't Buddha's primary goal, it was obviously an import sub goal, so following his example is still useful.

I suppose you could, hypothetically, end your own suffering but then completely ignore other people's suffering. That would be sort of like hitchhiking with someone who is going to California but getting out in Texas. And some people and some branches do settle there and focus on personal Nirvana for an extended period. But there is a strong sense in which it is very difficult to truly understand the concept of no self, commit to the cessation of personal suffering, and still determinedly spite the suffering of others. It's like swimming upstream. You could do it, but there's not much point to it. It's just being defiant for the sake of proving you can overrule your intentions. Cutting off your nose to spite your face. Like starting an environmental non-profit and then ordering all your members to pollute.

Of course the Buddha could be wrong. It's not really a religion the way other religions are. While there a sort of general consensus as to what's more or less canonical, it is in fact more of a scientific philosophy and art. Buddha was a scientist. He tried a bunch of things, and fine tuned his theories until they worked consistently, and then shared them. There's an expression, "if you meet the Buddha in the road, kill him". Buddha was adamant that people not simply follow him dogmatically but instead experiment for themselves and come to their own conclusions and paths. The reason Buddhism is so popular is not because people are frightened into accepting dogma. It's because they perform the experiments for themselves and get similar results.

As far as eureka moments, can you give personal examples? Otherwise it is hard to comment.

I suspect it was less faulty than just as unhelpful as a poorly worded Google search, but it is hard to say without specifics.

There is also a phenomen where truths are dependant on current world view. If your world view changes, old insights will obviously be less relevant, but that doesn't make them false, just contextual.

Also, while Buddhism does sort of get branded as a path towards understanding, in a much stronger sense it is just a set of DIY instructions, with a preface that says, do what works is the primary goal, and whatever evolution of understanding results in entirely in service to that.
  #97  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:09 PM
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On the other hand, while Buddhism isn't really compatible with nihilism, overcoming nihilism isn't really near to its core purpose. So if your main goal is to overcome your own personal fight with nihilism, Buddhism is not the quick and easy path towards that specific goal. I would look into other branches of philosophy to focus on that goal.
  #98  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:34 PM
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On the other hand, while Buddhism isn't really compatible with nihilism, overcoming nihilism isn't really near to its core purpose. So if your main goal is to overcome your own personal fight with nihilism, Buddhism is not the quick and easy path towards that specific goal. I would look into other branches of philosophy to focus on that goal.
From my experience nothing overcomes nihilism, you just learn to try and ignore it.
  #99  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:35 PM
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The reason Buddhism exists is because the Buddha decided to care about other people. He became Enlightened, was going to head off to Nirvana, and then decided "you know what, I'm going to hang around for a whlie and teach others so that they can also maybe learn not to suffer". So the story says, anyway. Compassion is a central tenet of the religion because without it, Buddhism never happened.

You have had threads before about if everything is empty, how can you make any decisions. Compassion is an answer there (i.e., you make decisions based on compassion). Maybe that is a practical reason why it is included.
It was likely included because otherwise the conclusion to it is nihilism. Wanting to liberate others doesn't really square with the no self and emptiness teachings.
  #100  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:43 PM
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It was likely included because otherwise the conclusion to it is nihilism. Wanting to liberate others doesn't really square with the no self and emptiness teachings.
Unless you have some original version that doesn't have all the stuff you think was added later, then all your speculation is without merit. We can only look at the religion as it is presented to us.
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