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  #101  
Old 12-03-2018, 04:50 PM
Machinaforce is offline
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
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.
Buddhism lays a claim to the truth and wisdom of reality, but unfortunately gets off track when they throw in compassion and kindness.

Buddha was not a scientist since the only thing he had was personal experience. That's about it. All that could be said is that he did something and it yielded a result. To label such things as insight and understanding is jumping the gun. It can just be contextual. He might say not to follow dogmatically but that seems to be what happens since people believed him to be enlightened without actually knowing if he was or not. It doesn't take much to convince people of that.

The fact is that buddhism cannot claim no self, and emptiness and still spout compassion. The teachings say that value and good or bad only exist in the mind, they aren't "real" in that sense they can't view suffering as bad or something to be rid off and have compassion. He may have had the goal of eliminating suffering before, but afterword that goal doesn't square with the teachings. The bits about kindness and compassion simply don't fit with the whole of the teachings. That would mean assigning value (which they say is just a phantom in a sense) and having a goal and aim (which they also say to get rid off since it is desire).

We aren't talking about spiting the suffering of others, but they don't give a reason to do anything about it. Knowing that others suffer the same as we do doesn't really mean that we do anything about it. If existence is truly empty then I would say they wouldn't able to make a decision since neither option would have more value to warrant a choice. A philosophy that argues against values cannot go around and state that one thing is bad and must be dealt with. Removing desire and attachment leads to such things, without desire there is no action.

As I said again, compassion is just crammed in to avoid nihilism even though it doesn't fit with the overall scheme of it.
  #102  
Old 12-03-2018, 08:59 PM
jackdavinci is offline
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It appears you have performed a successful inception on me, because my subconscious keeps focusing on this, so here's another approach, hopefully it is useful.

Feel free to skip to the last paragraph for a brief summary.

Obviously, an academic analysis of nihilism is going to have more structure and and official terminology, and I invite you to explore that. But for the purposes of this specific examination I'm going to use my own terminology for the sake of focus and simplicity.

As a preface, consider the different forms of atheism. Hard atheism basically says, God is silly and can't exist. Softer atheism might say, god may or may not exist, either because of a lack of evidence, or something about the essential nature of God that is not subject to examination, or even just the impossibility of proving a negative. Agnosticism says, there's no point in having an opinion about it unless god shows up or explicitly disproven to me personally.

So too are there different ideas that call themselves nihilistic.

First there's nihilism as a world view versus nihilism as a tool for exploring the nature of reality and the self.

Then there's:

Inconsistent nihilism
1. Nothing has meaning
2. Meaning doesn't exist
3. There's no point to anything
4. There is no basis for doing anything, so do nothing
5. Gee life sucks now, maybe I should end it

Consistent nihilism
1. Nothing has meaning
2. Meaning doesn't exist
3. There's no inherently meaningful way to say that one thing is better than another
4. There shouldn't be a way of choosing one action over another
5. But! If nothing has meaning, there's also no good reason to stop doing what I enjoy
6. Just do what I want to do
7. Further, if the idea of meaninglessness feels depressing, that doesn't make sense, because true meaninglessness is neither positive or negative.
8. Ultimately, inherent meaninglessness is by definition meaningless. It can be useful for gaining perspective in the pursuit of goals, but it is neither pro nor con on the matter of which goals to pursue, or even the choice to engage in pursuits or not.

Buddhism isn't explicitly designed to address nihilism, but it's precepts do end up addressing some of the same territory, and so is sort of compatible with truly consistent nihilism, but it is broader and more nuanced, and so the conclusions are richer and in that sense, distinct. It is however both distinct and incompatible with the inconsistent sense of nihilism:

1. Nothing has an inherent meaning
2. However meaning does exist, but rather than an attribute of things or something essential to their nature, meaning is a relationship we have to things, a set of attributes we associate with external things in our own mind
3. So even though external meaning doesn't exist, internal meaning does and is a reasonable basis for action
4. Sure, even internal meaning has a sort of emptiness to its nature in that there is a sort of arbitrariness about it
5. Again, if we stop there, even if we assume there's no ultimate basis for choosing actions, there's also nothing about meaningless that really compels us to stop doing things we enjoy. Meaningfulness and meaninglessness are both compatible with the pursuit of happiness. Even if neither is the basis for action, neither does either preclude action. This sort of nihilism is goal agnostic.

The idea of meaning, inherent nature, are still intesting to explore, and the concept of nihilism can be useful as a tool in service towards digging through what our core drives are and what impulses are distractions or counter to those.

But the conclusion to nihilistic thinking is not that because there is no intrinsic meaning, we should destroy personal meaning. It is that we should realise all meaning is personal, and get in touch with the structure of our core drives as to not be self defeating. It shouldn't lead to apathy, because intrinsic sameness does not preclude personal distinctions and drives. In fact the opposite. Ceasing to overthink things tends to actually make them more enjoyable.

Buddhism assumes as it's premise, not that ending suffering is inherently meaningful, but rather that it is very likely to be both an extremely prevelent goal, and also that it tends to the best common goal on the path towards other nearly universal goals, and most importantly, that this is the goal that has the most meaning to you personally.

Buddhism does then use some pseudo nihilistic ideas to end suffering, however Buddhism isn't compatible, for obvious reasons, with the idea that nothing has personal meaning for you.

Now, suffering is related to mental striving, either attachment or aversion to phenomena. Basically, action based on expectation generally, and also usually with the specific expectation that permanence is achievable.

So here, there is another superficial similarity to nihilism. Not only do things not have an inherent meaning, they also have no permanence. Everything is always changing. Except for one thing, the pure awareness of the true but empty in the sense of having no form, self, which is called no-self to distinguish it from the impermanent and form changing sense of self we might call ego. But no-self or emptiness doesn't mean some existential void that is an awful abyss of nothingness.

Where we depart then, is, it is natural to confuse the emptiness and formlessness of pure awareness as being the same thing as non existent, but it still has a qualitative nature.

Taking away suffering, and acknowledging the subjective and personal nature of meaning, and the distinction between the self of form and the self of empty awareness, doesn't leave us with an emotionless or pessimistic void that has no drive, even though it is natural to wonder if that might result. Instead we are left with a blissful state of awareness which still enjoys activity, just for it's own enjoyment than for striving or expectation.

It is of course somewhat difficult to really explain in the same way that colors are, or emotions, qualitatively. What can be done, is to point the way with analogies and deconstruction of misunderstandings, to provide instructions for creating that experience, and interact with people who have achieved it.

I guess you could think people are just deluding themselves or lying, but that seems unlikely to me for the reasons that
1. It isn't dependent on a particular world view, so there is no advantage to self deception because it doesn't hinge on belief (except in the very weakest sense in which trying anything new requires a tiny bit of benefit of the doubt) - if you suddenly decide enlightenment is fake, you aren't faced with the prospect of not being let into heaven, and other Buddhists won't be throwing judgement in your direction and excommunication
2. It is goal and results oriented, so if you just accidentally stop suffering while trying Buddhism, does it matter? You've still succeeded in your goal and that was the point.
3. If there is a much more efficient method, whose model feels less deluded to you, go for it
4. If you really explore Buddhism, you will see that a huge component of the methodology involves the dismantling of self deception and illusions. It's not a faith based philosophy. It is inherently exploratory and encouraging of challenge.

If the issue for you is that some branches explore mystical territory, these are not essential to the methodology, and there are plenty of competing world views, many of which are more oriented towards psychology and neurobiology. It ultimately doesn't matter, because like quantum mechanics, different explanatory models result in the same observations. So they are interesting, but not pragmatically important. It is perfectly reasonable to just choose whichever one is most compatible with your current culture or world view. The methodology and results are basically identical, regardless, and ultimately, models of reality is not what it is about, they are just conveniences for contextualizing the information.

Understanding of all this doesn't preclude the necessity to practice it. It can feel in the early stages like juggling while surfing. Even though the end state results in what feels like a more simple and essential way to be, the interim process does require a lot of focus.

The eightfold path and other precepts act as a good instruction manual for the specific goal of ending suffering, but the natural result of that path is to also fine tune our mental processing in a way that is ideally balanced, and feels intuitive and satisfying.

If on the other hand, your main goal is more specifically to achieve this ideal balance between action and in action so that it becomes inately intuitive, rather than as a side effect of ending suffering, I would suggest exploring the Taoist practice of Wu Wei, which explores in greater depth an understanding of the essential nature of action and non action. This might also address fear of apathy.

TLDR:

Nihilism that results in apathy isn't honest, because meaninglessness isn't anathema to action. Nihilism might imply things don't matter but it doesn't really imply things suck - that's just pessimism. Buddhism says that there is no external or intrinsic meaning, however it explicitly allows for personal meaning. It also says things suck, but not because of meaninglessness, but because of suffering. And unlike pessimism, it says you can do something about suffering. Finally, it emphasises a distinction between lack of desire and apathy. Even absent desire, there is still drive and enjoyment, though at that point we do have a more nuanced conception of them.

For the most efficient dismantling of nihilism, search "xkcd nihilism".

...

I think I've addressed how Buddhism is not nihilistic, and it has nothing to do with kindness and compassion. Buddhism doesn't attribute the cause of suffering to nihilism, therefore it doesn't set out to defeat nihilism. Rather, it defeats the idea of nihilism in the pessimistic or apathetic sense solely as a side effect of clarifying the nature of meaning. It has no need to shoe horn anything because it's intentions have nothing to do with the general negative misunderstanding of nihilism.

As far as explaining how compassion fits into Buddhism, there are two different answers.

One is that it already assumes compassion is your goal, either towards yourself as the reason you want to end your own suffering, or towards others as the reason you want to end general suffering. But I don't think this is the one you are focused on.

The second is that as you get deeper into the methodology, it turns out that compassion and dismantling suffering are highly compatible by nature. Pursuing either one will naturally tend to eventually incorporate or result in the other. On this particular point, I agree, we haven't given a great explanation for why that should be so. It suffices for me personally that the two experiences feel similar enough to me as to believe them compatible. I can understand why you might want a deeper explanation, but I can't see why you be convinced they are incompatible. I'll try to find a better explanation.

In general though, I find it odd that your instinct in not understanding something is to prefer the explanation that it is fundamentally flawed over the explanation that you have some misunderstanding about it due to not having examined it in more than a superficial way.

I suspect a great deal of your misunderstandings are the results of categorizing Buddhism as a religion.
  #103  
Old 12-03-2018, 09:46 PM
Machinaforce is offline
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Well that's not exactly correct. Meaninglessness is an anathema to action since much of what we do and enjoy is based entire on what we think or believe something to be. The meaning we assign to things is the reason why we do them, even if we choose not to admit to them. There is research to support this.

Buddhism is faith based in that you are taking it on faith that what the buddha says is true. What I know is that believing something to be truth has the same effect on a person as that actually being true.

"Taking away suffering, and acknowledging the subjective and personal nature of meaning, and the distinction between the self of form and the self of empty awareness, doesn't leave us with an emotionless or pessimistic void that has no drive, even though it is natural to wonder if that might result. Instead we are left with a blissful state of awareness which still enjoys activity, just for it's own enjoyment than for striving or expectation". This statement of yours is false. I didn't say anything about a pessimistic void, but there is no drive. There is no bliss either, or enjoyment. To have either of these things left over is shown that the "self" is still recognized. As I have said the pleasure we get from things is based on what we project onto that. They still project but claim not to.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/...ryId=128721732

Buddhism dismantle what they believe to be self deception and illusions.

"Nihilism that results in apathy isn't honest, because meaninglessness isn't anathema to action. Nihilism might imply things don't matter but it doesn't really imply things suck - that's just pessimism. Buddhism says that there is no external or intrinsic meaning, however it explicitly allows for personal meaning. It also says things suck, but not because of meaninglessness, but because of suffering. And unlike pessimism, it says you can do something about suffering. Finally, it emphasises a distinction between lack of desire and apathy. Even absent desire, there is still drive and enjoyment, though at that point we do have a more nuanced conception of them."

Again you are assuming pessimism. If nothing matters then that leads to inaction. Buddhism also doesn't allow for personal meaning since that is just another form of illusion and self deception, or not seeing things for how they are. Lack of desire is the same as apathy, in fact that is the conclusion of the Middle way which is indifference. Drive and enjoyment are part and parcel of desire. If you still have them then you still have desire, if you enjoy things you are not being equal.

https://www.quora.com/How-is-Buddhism-not-nihilism

It is quite literally nihilism. I'm saying that the end game of Buddhism is a colorless void. Not pessimism but not optimism. It's literally nothing. I think the mystics, monks, and possibly Buddha did some gymnastics to convince themselves that their teachings don't lead to paralysis. These aren't misunderstandings, these are the holes that they try to dodge with "mind" and "Ego".

"The second is that as you get deeper into the methodology, it turns out that compassion and dismantling suffering are highly compatible by nature. Pursuing either one will naturally tend to eventually incorporate or result in the other. On this particular point, I agree, we haven't given a great explanation for why that should be so. It suffices for me personally that the two experiences feel similar enough to me as to believe them compatible. I can understand why you might want a deeper explanation, but I can't see why you be convinced they are incompatible. I'll try to find a better explanation."

Compassion and ending suffering aren't compatible by nature, humans just conflate the two. While the case for ending your own could be made (even though buddhism makes one discard value), it does not by extension mean that one should do the same for others. That seems to be rooted in some level of biology (which still doesn't mean you should, it just compells you to) and culture.

I think Buddhism hides behind things (unintentionally) to avoid being exposed as nihilism. Nuance seems like an excuse to avoid commitment.
  #104  
Old 12-03-2018, 10:35 PM
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Ok, try looking at it this way.

Buddha wanted to end suffering. He tried various things, including asceticism, but kept hitting dead ends. Finally he decided to just sit under a tree and refused to leave until he figured it out. Eventually this period of contemplating led to a realization. We call this enlightenment, but while it does as a side effect incorporate a bunch of interesting understandings, we should make certain things clear:

General enlightenment can refer to a bunch of different things, and there are all sorts of realizations and inspirations we can have that may cover only partially or even separate territory from the particular realization Buddha had. His particular realization is considered particularly important and useful, so we sometimes use the term to refer specifically to his particular understanding.

However, it is a really difficult thing to explain what a particular state of mind is or is like. We can list components that seem distinctive or essential. We can describe what actions or trains of thought led to that state. Ultimately though, because we cannot directly share internal experiences the way we can physical objects, all we can do is share a recipe of ingredients and directions.

Another thing to be clear about is that while people treat Buddha style enlightenment as a goal in itself, and it can be for some people, and while that state ends up nessecarily involves interesting information or understanding of other territory, ultimately, it's still about ending suffering.

So the basic idea is, the realization which results in the end of suffering has certain attributes. Once you have this realization, you also understand that there is no meaningful distinction between the idea that these attributes cause the realization, or that the realization causes the attributes. One of the attributes of enlightenment is compassion.

Where your conflict seems to come in is that there are potentially two different goals:

One is reaching enlightenment (to end suffering). If you just want to get this result as quickly and efficiently as possible, it makes sense to endevour to behave in a way that is compatible with the attributes universally present in enlightenment, one of which happens to be compassion. This does require some trust in the recipe described by the enlightened person. But this isn't a huge issue in this particular case, because the usual indicators of delusion or selfish intention are not present. The obvious red flags are not present, and are even mostly counter indicated. In any case, once you are enlightened, you will necessarily at this point understand how compassion is integral and it kind of become a moot point.

Let me just point out here that compassion is your own personal obsession. While it is an essential element of enlightenment, there are plenty of other integral elements. The shoehorn theory has more to do with whatever reason you have for focusing on that particular aspect than anything about the relationship between compassion and Buddhism.

The second potential goal is to try and understand what a particular attribute has to do with enlightenment without going through all the effort of understanding enlightenment itself. I think you can see how that goal is inherently impossible in a deep way. Still, maybe it is possible to get enough of a gist to at least consider it plausible.

If you are baking an enlightenment cake, and you know that the end result involves compassion, but you don't have any, it should be obvious why it makes sense to go shopping. It's like no yeast, you may end up with some sort of sweet pastry, but it won't be cake.

Hopefully you understand the thinking behind replicating a result by assembling it's components and putting them together in a similar way.

If so, the only remaining question is, why are compassion and enlightenment related? First let's remind ourselves that we are only referring to the specific enlightenment which results in the end of suffering by understanding it's nature in a deep way.

One of the main important elements is realizing that suffering is a more or less direct result of the idea that base reality has a nature of separateness. We suffer because we believe there is a self that is separate from the rest of existence, and only by acquiring or avoiding external things can we become something else. But in really looking close at those assumptions, one comes to realize that this a faulty model of reality. It is less that there is no self, and more that there is no self that is separate from everything else. The non separate self is already complete and doesn't need to strive for wholeness.

If you get to the point where there is no separateness of self and other, and you value ending suffering, compassion is just an obvious result. If there is no difference between self and other, and ending suffering is a priority, I'm not sure how you could think of something about compassion that is fundementally distinct.

You could have compassion and still not believe in no self, and you could believe in no self but not care about suffering and therefore be noncompassionate, but there is no way to care about suffering and believe in no-self and not be compassionate. It would be contradictory.

You can cultivate compassion as just a small part of the path towards enlightenment, or you can take some other route and end up with compassion as a result. But treating it as part of the means or part of the end are compatible, either way the results are the same.

Compassion is pretty much the definition of ending suffering, I'm not sure why that's not obvious to you. As far as compassion for others specifically, that does require understanding of no-self, which is tricky, but what it boils down to is that suffering is caused by a false idea of what the self is. Again, there is a much broader range of territory it covers, but the commonality between the concepts of suffering and self is pretty much where compassion naturally fits in or arises.
  #105  
Old 12-03-2018, 11:11 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.
I think it goes the other way around. Compassion and peace are the key concepts. No-self and emptiness are only useful in that they often help people achieve that.
  #106  
Old 12-04-2018, 03:14 AM
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First, maybe it would help if you would describe how you personally are defining nihilism in your own words, because there are several varieties, some of which are contradictory. While Buddhism does cover some of the same general territory, it's purpose isn't to address nihilism, so to discuss whether they agree or disagree, we have to be explicit about which sort of nihilism we are referring to.

"Well that's not exactly correct. Meaninglessness is an anathema to action since much of what we do and enjoy is based entire on what we think or believe something to be. The meaning we assign to things is the reason why we do them, even if we choose not to admit to them. There is research to support this."

The key here is the distinction between general meaning and personal meaning. You can say something has no intrinsic importance but still acknowledge that it is important to you. General meaninglessness is irrelevant to apathy. Personal meaning is sufficient for drive, but there are senses in which is is not necessary, at least not in the way we normally conceive of it.

The conventional model is, we desire something and then we consciously act to get it or avoid the opposite. But that model ignores a whole bunch of other modes of action. We breathe without needing to make it happen to prevent dying. Rivers flow without finding greater meaning in being downhill. One can act intuitively or just in accord with ones nature without bringing meaning or desire into it.

Action and non action are not a dichotomy, they are a continuum, and they necessarily incorporate each other. Non action can describe two different things, the disinclination to start or stop an action, or the inclination to stop an action. Even if one were to act purely passively, that wouldn't prevent natural behavior from preexisting drives. There is a crucial difference between acceptance, apathy, and opposition.

Another way to look at it: the conventional working model of reality is that by acquiring external things, we get happy, and this is what drives our behavior. But in fact, if one honestly contemplates what is really happening, you can't help but eventually notice that quite the opposite is true. The whole reason we aren't happy in the first place is *because* we believe that acquisition is the basis of happiness. If we notice that actually, this striving causes us to suffer, and that by stopping this impulse, we stop suffering, we are just naturally happy, because that is our default state. And we don't need to place special importance in external things to have drive, because happiness itself is a drive. Deep happiness inspires us to do things. We don't need to seek happiness to have drive.

Obviously, not meeting our basic material needs would be distracting, and for this reason Buddha rejected ascetism specifically, and extremes generally, hence "the middle way". Meeting material needs is not a contradiction though because it is not the action itself that matters as much as the way it is being done. Eating because you desire pleasure or fear starvation are different from eating simply because it is pragmatic and already being content let's one enjoy and take delight in things in a more satisfying way than filling a desire does.

"Buddhism is faith based in that you are taking it on faith that what the buddha says is true. What I know is that believing something to be truth has the same effect on a person as that actually being true."

That's just silly. Buddhism is faith based only in the weakest most technical way, that believing the sun will rise is. Sure, there are remotely conceivable ways that completely unexpected things could happen, but they are improbable. Faith based means, trusting that something is true without even a reasonable chance that there can be evidence or replicated results. Buddhism only requires the same amount of faith as it takes to consider it possible that going to college for a specific degree has a fairly good chance of resulting in a career in that field.

And while the placebo effect is real, it has limits and primarily only affects personal physiology. You can't stop the sun from rising by disbelief.

Could you conceivably stop suffering simply by adhering to a false belief? Possibly. But if that really was the only thing explaining why Buddhist methodology works, one would expect it to look a lot different. And it doesn't pass a basic bullshit test. If you compare it to any other form of snake oil, it's clearly in a different category. And it is fairly easy to test. The key reason we object to real faith based beliefs is because they aren't disprovable.

I will grant you, some branches of Buddhism do explore more mystical notions, but none of these are really relevant to the core of Buddhism, they are more like electives, and there isn't really a consensus on those parts anyway. They are more about reconciling whether particular cultural models of existence can be independently confirmed by the same experiential methods used to understand the nature of suffering. Objecting to that is sort of like saying we can't take academics seriously because colleges also teach art.

" There is no bliss either, or enjoyment. To have either of these things left over is shown that the "self" is still recognized. As I have said the pleasure we get from things is based on what we project onto that. They still project but claim not to."

Are you claiming that happiness can only exist when we achieve specific goals? This seems contradictory. How do we know what to pursue unless we already have learned that we like it by experiencing it unintentionally first? Conventional happiness can be the result of discovery, not just intention. Also, part of the point of Buddhism is the discovery that real happiness is sort of just the default state. If you understand what causes suffering, you will remove the only obstacle to bliss.

There does seem to be some conflict between the two ideas of happiness being an extra thing, or it being what is left when you remove what it unnessecary. All I can say here is that there is ample evidence out there that more people who identify as deeply happy associate it with internal cultivation than external acquisition. There is certainly no shortage of misery and disfunction among materialists.

Bliss is not incompatible with no self for two reasons.

First, again, no self isn't the total non existence of self (at least at all levels besides the abstract absolute) rather it is more about there not being a real distinction between subject and object. There is of course a sense in which talking about a branch is a useful conceit, but that's all it is, if you look at the actual branch, you see that there is no meaningful place where the branch stops being the branch and starts being the tree, or vice versa.

Second, if you remove all distinctions between subject and object and experience what results, whatever that is, happens to phenomenonalogically be extremely similar to the sensation of bliss. However, strictly speaking, the sort of bliss we experience in the world view of subject object, and the sort we experience in no self, are not exactly the same, but they are related in a way similar to the branch and the treee. It is mostly a matter of degree of the extent of awareness.

"Again you are assuming pessimism."

Maybe you can think of a better term. All I mean is that the "indifferent" aspect of nihilism is something that you claim is incompatible with happiness. And a little bit of a nod to the fact that some people seem to think nihilism leads to depression.

"If nothing matters then that leads to inaction."

Again, distinction between inherent meaning and assigned meaning.

"Buddhism also doesn't allow for personal meaning since that is just another form of illusion and self deception, or not seeing things for how they are."

This might sort of approach being true, in an abstract ideal absolute sense, but Buddhism is explicitly pragmatic and moderate in its approach. Nearly all of the intervening territory is acknowledged as progressive. There are inspired moments of realization, and there are more or less some explicit landmarks, but mostly it is a way of being which while heading in a particular direction, is more about the quality and authenticity of the journey than an ultimate destination.

Also, the point is not to extinguish personal meaning. It is to recognize that "personal" is a conceit and not a meaningful distinction. It still exists, it just operates differently when we correct our conception about it. The same is true for existence. The point is not that the self doesn't exist, just that it isn't separate from what we think of "different than self". There is still an underlying structure, it just isn't a collection of permanently distinct pieces.

"Lack of desire is the same as apathy, in fact that is the conclusion of the Middle way which is indifference."

Acceptance is not quite the same as indifference. I can see why that would be confusing though, they do see superficially similar. Acceptance doesn't require action but it allows it. Indifference refuses to act. The important thing here though is the idea that contentment doesn't prevent action, it just makes those actions that are based entirely on expectation or striving obsolete. There are still other natural drives which exist and will continue to occur.

"If you still have them then you still have desire, if you enjoy things you are not being equal."

You're saying two different things here...

First that happiness is by definition the satisfying of a desire. Really though, happiness is our natural state, and desire is a distraction from happiness. Without desire, we would still be happy, all that would change is that we wouldn't transition from unhappy to happy. We associated happiness with fulfilling desire because we notice when we fulfill a desire, we stop being unhappy and temporarily seem happy. What most people fail to notice is that if we understand how to stop desires from happening in the first place, we would just be happy all the time. It's not satisfying the desire that makes us happy, it's that we give ourselves a reason to stop the desire.

Second, is the idea that there are different degrees of happiness. And that this violates nonseperateness. I assume this is what you mean by not equal. There are still gradients. There are still locations. What there aren't is borders. And sure, perhaps if you continue things to their extreme limit, you may conceive of being able to associate with such a pure abstraction of reality that levels of enjoyment become irrelevant, but were one to actually reach such a state, enjoyment in any sense still meaningful would already be maximal anyway. In any case, while such abstraction can be projected, remember Buddhism is pragmatic. It's only really concerned with ending suffering, which naturally results in bliss, but bliss isn't the explicit aim.

" I'm saying that the end game of Buddhism is a colorless void. "

Not really. The end game is ending suffering. This requires a certain level of understanding of the nature of non separateness. But there are many levels to understanding, from a basic intellectual conception, to a deep experiential direct awareness. The level of understanding necessary to satisfy merely the goal of ending suffering is somewhere is the middle. You could choose to explore past this point, and conjecture about what the natural projection of these ideas might result in at their extreme limits, and that might eventually superficially resemble a colorless void, but that's not really what Buddhism is about, and those people who have tried to explore closer to that supposed void tend to end up reporting a more interesting and enjoyable experience.

Regardless of what you might think you should expect, using the same reasoning, one would expect athiests and anyone who is aware of the extent of the universe which is effectively irrelevant to our day to day existence to also be apathetic, and that is clearly not the case. There is a good reason for the absurdum part of reductio.

"Not pessimism but not optimism. It's literally nothing. I think the mystics, monks, and possibly Buddha did some gymnastics to convince themselves that their teachings don't lead to paralysis. These aren't misunderstandings, these are the holes that they try to dodge with "mind" and "Ego"."

Again, it is not nothing. It is non separateness.

And you have things completely backwards. Doing what Buddha did naturally results in certain experiences and understandings. If the results weren't replicable independently, no one would bother. If you followed a recipe, and one person got cake, another got meatballs, and another got rotting phlegm, the recipe would be quickly forgotten or ridiculed. There wouldn't be a group of fan boys trying to convince people their meatballs are really cake.

Anyway, it is clear that neither the Buddha nor followers experienced paralysis as a result of the teachings. So I guess you are saying a large group of skeptical thoughtful explorers with extensive direct experiences from which to enrichen their conceptual frameworks, all somehow managed to delude themselves into the same exact self contradictory error, which they all failed to recognize, but which is also absurdly obvious to you, having made only a cursory examination? Does that really seem reasonable? Use Ocaam's razor.

Which is really more likely, that that sort of apparent error is the result a fundamental flaw, or that you have a misunderstanding?

"Compassion and ending suffering aren't compatible by nature, humans just conflate the two. "

You could maybe say they aren't directly equivalent, but that in no way implies incompatibility for this, or even as a general principle. In what way do you conceive of them as largely distinct, let alone incompatible?

"even though buddhism makes one discard value"

It discards intrinsic external value, and certain aspects of the separation between external and internal, but it does not discard the existence of value. In fact it explicitly assumes that ending suffering is valuable.

"it does not by extension mean that one should do the same for others"

It's not an extension, it is a natural result of combining non suffering with non separation.

"That seems to be rooted in some level of biology (which still doesn't mean you should, it just compells you to) and culture."

Ok, then you agree with the idea that there exist drives which aren't related to meaning. All we disagree about then is their range and extent.

Buddhism doesn't say you *should* be compassionate. Buddhism doesn't say anything about should. It says if you want to end suffering, you need to understand separateness. Being compassionate is one technique towards achieving that understanding, and obviously broad compassion is more powerful than isolated compassion. But it is a moot point, because even if you explicitly ignore compassion and use only other techniques, ending suffering and understanding non separateness successfully will almost always tend to have the side effect of compassion. And even those ideas are contextualized by an explicit admonition not to take things on faith but instead to try them, because they seem to work well for most people, but to ultimately decide based on your own results and experiences.

"Buddhism hides behind things (unintentionally) to avoid being exposed as nihilism. Nuance seems like an excuse to avoid commitment."

Buddhism is not exactly a single self contained thing.

Basic Buddhism, with the goal of ending suffering, whatever nuances or conceptions it might meander through related to meaning and self, explicitly is based on the assumption that there is at least one goal which has some sort of meaning or value. There is just no way to call that nihilistic.

Extended Buddhism, basically, ok, we stopped suffering, yay! What else can we do? Hmm, these understandings of non separateness and impermanence and so forth, might have further interesting implications, let us explore that. Also, how do these ideas relate to other philosophies, and to our cultural background? What happens if we extend certain understandings or practices past the minimum degree needed solely to end suffering? Also, at which level are these phenomena acting - base reality, in the brain, chemically, consciously, something deeper?

There are certain directions you go in with some aspects of extended Buddhism, that do superficially seem like they might head towards some abstract notion similar in a very shallow way to something like nothingness. But at these extreme limits, there isn't a consensus, we start to stray pretty far from the core of what Buddhism is for, and what we conceive of as nothingness stops making sense when you try to translate it into a far removed context with vastly different rules and nature.

Saying nonseperateness is equivalent to nothingness is similar to claiming that once a pond stops rippling, that it ceases to exist. The form changes, but it doesn't get erased.

There are certain realizations which can lead temporarily to a dissociative state which can be paralysing, but these are qualitatively different than the sorts of realizations typically associated with Buddhism.

It is easy to make armchair predictions about how things should work, but when every experiment other people do has a different result, maybe it's worth investigating one's assumptions and starting to perform experiments to test them.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:01 PM
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Ok, try looking at it this way.

Buddha wanted to end suffering. He tried various things, including asceticism, but kept hitting dead ends. Finally he decided to just sit under a tree and refused to leave until he figured it out. Eventually this period of contemplating led to a realization. We call this enlightenment, but while it does as a side effect incorporate a bunch of interesting understandings, we should make certain things clear:

General enlightenment can refer to a bunch of different things, and there are all sorts of realizations and inspirations we can have that may cover only partially or even separate territory from the particular realization Buddha had. His particular realization is considered particularly important and useful, so we sometimes use the term to refer specifically to his particular understanding.

However, it is a really difficult thing to explain what a particular state of mind is or is like. We can list components that seem distinctive or essential. We can describe what actions or trains of thought led to that state. Ultimately though, because we cannot directly share internal experiences the way we can physical objects, all we can do is share a recipe of ingredients and directions.

Another thing to be clear about is that while people treat Buddha style enlightenment as a goal in itself, and it can be for some people, and while that state ends up nessecarily involves interesting information or understanding of other territory, ultimately, it's still about ending suffering.

So the basic idea is, the realization which results in the end of suffering has certain attributes. Once you have this realization, you also understand that there is no meaningful distinction between the idea that these attributes cause the realization, or that the realization causes the attributes. One of the attributes of enlightenment is compassion.

Where your conflict seems to come in is that there are potentially two different goals:

One is reaching enlightenment (to end suffering). If you just want to get this result as quickly and efficiently as possible, it makes sense to endevour to behave in a way that is compatible with the attributes universally present in enlightenment, one of which happens to be compassion. This does require some trust in the recipe described by the enlightened person. But this isn't a huge issue in this particular case, because the usual indicators of delusion or selfish intention are not present. The obvious red flags are not present, and are even mostly counter indicated. In any case, once you are enlightened, you will necessarily at this point understand how compassion is integral and it kind of become a moot point.

Let me just point out here that compassion is your own personal obsession. While it is an essential element of enlightenment, there are plenty of other integral elements. The shoehorn theory has more to do with whatever reason you have for focusing on that particular aspect than anything about the relationship between compassion and Buddhism.

The second potential goal is to try and understand what a particular attribute has to do with enlightenment without going through all the effort of understanding enlightenment itself. I think you can see how that goal is inherently impossible in a deep way. Still, maybe it is possible to get enough of a gist to at least consider it plausible.

If you are baking an enlightenment cake, and you know that the end result involves compassion, but you don't have any, it should be obvious why it makes sense to go shopping. It's like no yeast, you may end up with some sort of sweet pastry, but it won't be cake.

Hopefully you understand the thinking behind replicating a result by assembling it's components and putting them together in a similar way.

If so, the only remaining question is, why are compassion and enlightenment related? First let's remind ourselves that we are only referring to the specific enlightenment which results in the end of suffering by understanding it's nature in a deep way.

One of the main important elements is realizing that suffering is a more or less direct result of the idea that base reality has a nature of separateness. We suffer because we believe there is a self that is separate from the rest of existence, and only by acquiring or avoiding external things can we become something else. But in really looking close at those assumptions, one comes to realize that this a faulty model of reality. It is less that there is no self, and more that there is no self that is separate from everything else. The non separate self is already complete and doesn't need to strive for wholeness.

If you get to the point where there is no separateness of self and other, and you value ending suffering, compassion is just an obvious result. If there is no difference between self and other, and ending suffering is a priority, I'm not sure how you could think of something about compassion that is fundementally distinct.

You could have compassion and still not believe in no self, and you could believe in no self but not care about suffering and therefore be noncompassionate, but there is no way to care about suffering and believe in no-self and not be compassionate. It would be contradictory.

You can cultivate compassion as just a small part of the path towards enlightenment, or you can take some other route and end up with compassion as a result. But treating it as part of the means or part of the end are compatible, either way the results are the same.

Compassion is pretty much the definition of ending suffering, I'm not sure why that's not obvious to you. As far as compassion for others specifically, that does require understanding of no-self, which is tricky, but what it boils down to is that suffering is caused by a false idea of what the self is. Again, there is a much broader range of territory it covers, but the commonality between the concepts of suffering and self is pretty much where compassion naturally fits in or arises.
Except none of that is true.

Compassion is not an end result of enlightenment, as others who have reached that state can attest. There are accounts that claim that Buddhism is wrong to add compassion to the end result. The notion of sufferingís cause is debatable too.

It is possible to care about suffering and believe in no self but still not be compassionate.

If we assume that the teachings of Buddha are based on his personal experience with enlightenment then the case that compassion is an end result of it all doesnít hold water. What he lays out simply doesnít lead to that. This isnít like baking a cake, this is more like preaching a section that doesnít belong. We can only take Buddha as one alleged case of this, there are others who argue that he had it until compassion. Ultimately it seems like heís just one of many, that those who experience the same as him likely feel compassion only because he said so.

Everything else is pretty much nihilistic. From saying that our senses and mind rob us from ultimate reality to the Middle Way literally equating to indifference. My guess is that concern for others was something he couldnít let go of.

Action and non action are a dichotomy. You either do something or you donít. What you donít understand is that acting on oneís ďnatureĒ is still desire. As it shows what we enjoy and what motivates is what we believe something to be, which is personal meaning (which Buddhism is against since it isnít reality). Oneís ďnatureĒ is the same.

Happiness is not the default state of humanity. The default appears to be some colorless void that is neither empty nor full. Happiness is not a drive or a motivator either. Rather when one is happy they arenít really motivated to do anything. Itís need that creates motion. When we need it moves us to do something. When one is happy or ďcontentĒ as Buddhists use they donít have motivation to do anything since they already have. Happiness isnít drive but death in some sense. But as I said, Buddhism places value on the middle way, which doesnít include happiness or sadness.

You also forget that enjoyment and pleasure in something is based on why we bring to it. Buddhism asks to discard what you bring to something hence there is no enjoyment.

Your claims about Buddhism donít match with the reality. Those that claim happiness is likely the armchair variants of western Buddhism. Also Buddhism isnít really a religion that ďworksĒ. It has varied results, you just donít hear about the negatives. Some even claim there isnít bliss. All we have are personal accounts which we canít really compare since you canít measure feelings.

If one was to seriously follow the teachings of it all it would lead to inaction. The drives inside of us are based on desires (excluding unconscious automatic ones like heartbeat). To live is to choose life over death. The middle path is like a balanced scale in which no motion occurs.

And yes it does discard the notion of value as something that doesnít exist. It argues that value is just a imagination that disappears when one is realized. You can really only pursue Buddhism if you havenít reach the end of it since the end would result in indifference according to the middle way (which isnít moderation). Buddhism doesnít allow for personal meaning. It says all meaning is non existent.

Buddhism is about seeing reality as it is. Which means essentially throwing everything away in the process that one takes to be real. Sure you lose suffer but also joy, happiness, anger, and much else in the colorless void that ends. Sure it argues there is no inherent meaning but it also argues against constructed meaning as a delusion of the mind or grasping of the ego. Itís pretty nihilistic at the end of it all.

We canít use the majority of practitioners as an example since most donít commit fully to it all. Even the western variants get it wrong when they believe the middle path to be moderation, it isnít. You get the feel good parts without the serious but because otherwise no one would listen. The Heart Sutra is famously nihilistic in its teachings.

My guess is that the reason why people claim to feel peace, happy or joy from all this is because they donít realize such things are rooted in projections by the mind.

If most people knew how much Buddhism asked you to give up it would not be nearly so widespread.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:10 PM
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I’d also add that no self and passing form teachings don’t foster compassionate people. It would lead to us removing medicine and doctors since according to Buddhism that would be grasping to save a life, on top of there being no One to save and viewing them as passing form.

I can say having practiced for years that compassion doesn’t form, rather I lost a lot. Buddhism led me to a colorless void which is the end result.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:54 PM
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Buddhism does require faith as in faith in the Buddha’s enlightenment and that he actually is free of suffering and that he speaks the truth and that he’s not lying. There’s others but much of it is faith based. The methods they speak of also have various results based on the person. They then blame the person for having the “wrong” result. Buddhism is far from science. It’s essentially saying that what worked for one person would work the same for all, it doesn’t.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:02 AM
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It is possible to care about suffering [...] but still not be compassionate.
No, that is literally impossible.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:03 AM
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I can say having practiced for years that compassion doesnít form, rather I lost a lot. Buddhism led me to a colorless void which is the end result.
Are you now claiming to have been a practicing Buddhist for "years"?
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:43 AM
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Are you now claiming to have been a practicing Buddhist for "years"?
I was. Never really recovered from it,
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:44 PM
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By upbringing? Which tradition?
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:34 PM
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Mahayana was the one i was introduced to do I had a sprinkling of a few other ones as well.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:19 PM
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In a sense I left Buddhism with a sense that I had to follow their entire teachings or I was wrong and living a lie. That if I disagreed or didn't want to live that way that I was automatically wrong and foolish for choosing suffering. When truth be told my life wasn't as bad as they made it seem. most things just rolled off me, I only felt upset because apparently that was the correct reaction.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:25 PM
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Mahayana was the one i was introduced to do I had a sprinkling of a few other ones as well.
"Mahayana" is a branch of Buddhism, it isn't a tradition.

Please, do continue telling us how you were in Buddhist practice for years...
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:06 AM
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First, I'd like to thank several posters in this thread for giving me a nice overview of Buddhism, or Buddhism as it is practiced in the US today, anyway. I studied Mahayana Buddhism in college, but it was a long time ago, and mostly focused on Tibet and the historical development of the religion.

Second, Machinaforce, I think you are missing the point of the necklace, and your example of the sociopath doesn't work. It doesn't matter that HE doesn't realize he has been diminished by harming others, he is a lesser person for it anyway. And we all recognize that, when we make up names like "sociopath" to describe people like him.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:29 PM
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First, I'd like to thank several posters in this thread for giving me a nice overview of Buddhism, or Buddhism as it is practiced in the US today, anyway. I studied Mahayana Buddhism in college, but it was a long time ago, and mostly focused on Tibet and the historical development of the religion.

Second, Machinaforce, I think you are missing the point of the necklace, and your example of the sociopath doesn't work. It doesn't matter that HE doesn't realize he has been diminished by harming others, he is a lesser person for it anyway. And we all recognize that, when we make up names like "sociopath" to describe people like him.
Necklace? That's not the point being talked about. But your point about the sociopath doesn't stand. He isn't lesser for harming another person, he doesn't really care either way. It's doesn't matter that you BELIEVE him to be lesser for it. He's not, regardless of what you think. No word will change that.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:43 PM
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Sorry, not necklace, the net of Indra. And my point about the sociopath certainly stands. In the real, objective world, the sociopath is a lesser human being for harming others. Even if the sociopath doesn't know it. It's not whether I believe it, or you believe it, or the sociopath believes it. That's just truth.

And if you don't like the idea of unprovable metaphysical truths, you probably should stay away from the whole "religion" thing.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:05 PM
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Sorry, not necklace, the net of Indra. And my point about the sociopath certainly stands. In the real, objective world, the sociopath is a lesser human being for harming others. Even if the sociopath doesn't know it. It's not whether I believe it, or you believe it, or the sociopath believes it. That's just truth.

And if you don't like the idea of unprovable metaphysical truths, you probably should stay away from the whole "religion" thing.
THat's actually not the truth. In the real objective world there is no lesser or greater, that's just value judgments which buddhism says is just an invention of our minds. Objectively the sociopath is not lesser for harming others. Subjectively we tell ourselves that so that we feel justified in condemning such actions. But outside of human values he would not be lesser, that is the truth. He is not lesser for harming others, that's just want you believe and want to be true.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:21 PM
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https://www.lionsroar.com/reality-isnt-what-you-think/

I mean with articles like this how can anyone not find it to be nihilistic
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:25 PM
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Stop obsessing.
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:58 PM
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Those who don't read Poe's The Raven are doomed to repeat it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:56 PM
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Stop obsessing.
It's hard not to when much of what they say has a truth that I cannot argue against and that no one I talk to seems to be able to either so they just hand wave it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:47 PM
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It's hard not to when much of what they say has a truth that I cannot argue against and that no one I talk to seems to be able to either so they just hand wave it.
It's hard to argue against gibberish that seems to actively reject rational thought, but you can't say I haven't been trying.

And by "trying" I mean I've blown everything you tossed at me to shreds, but you just keep finding more crap to throw at me, for that to be blown to shreds, in an unending cycle.
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Old 08-08-2019, 05:49 PM
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https://www.lionsroar.com/reality-isnt-what-you-think/

I mean with articles like this how can anyone not find it to be nihilistic
Iím curious about your take on a line in that: ďThese projections are handy when we want to ask for some cinnamon on our cappuccino, but to realize ultimate reality we need to distinguish appearances from our own projections.Ē

What do you make of that?

Do you figure he still wants stuff, per that quote? Do you figure that, upon saying the cinnamon and the cappuccino are appearances as distinguished from ultimate reality, he then shrugs and puts one on the other and apparently drinks?
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Old 08-08-2019, 06:24 PM
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It's hard not to when much of what they say has a truth that I cannot argue against and that no one I talk to seems to be able to either so they just hand wave it.
It's actually very easy. Do what most people do if they want to avoid bullshit that will only serve to fuck up their life. Don't click on the link. Don't spend any time reading or thinking about it. Problem solved.

Be honest now. If you didn't spend your entire days endlessly obsessing about all this bullshit, you'd be a happier person and you'd have more time to enjoy life instead of irritating people on a message board with having them talk you down from your latest needless existential crisis.

I mean, on a slow day, sure, it's slightly amusing to check out how you've wrapped yourself around the same axle, again. But mostly it's pretty much the same shtick though. Aren't you tired of it by now?
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  #128  
Old 08-08-2019, 06:41 PM
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Honestly this junk isn't too hard to debunk.

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You can ask yourself such questions as, Is this body one thing or many things? It must be one or the other, or else it does not truly exist. When you see the body is made of parts, you understand it is not one thing. And since the parts can also be broken down endlessly, at that point you can realize that its nature is emptiness.
So this guy looks down at his arm and says, "Oh my! This is an arm! And it's also part of my body! This quandary is SOOOO confusing. My mind can't wrap itself around the idea of things that are made up of parts. It certainly can't understand the idea that the whole could be greater than the sum of its parts - if a mechanical clock's gears don't individually know the time, then a clock made of them couldn't possibly tell the time either!"

"So clearly, when we realize that we're all just made of billions of atoms, there is no person there, because no clock that contains gears can possibly function. And also for a topper, I'm going to declare that the next step after recognizing you have billions of atoms is to say that's the same thing as having NO atoms, being nothing at all, because when it comes to being a completely incorrect dumbfuck, go big or go home!"
  #129  
Old 08-08-2019, 07:16 PM
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And by "trying" I mean I've blown everything you tossed at me to shreds, but you just keep finding more crap to throw at me, for that to be blown to shreds, in an unending cycle.
So you are the famous fan!
  #130  
Old 08-08-2019, 07:25 PM
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"So clearly, when we realize that we're all just made of billions of atoms, there is no person there, because no clock that contains gears can possibly function. And also for a topper, I'm going to declare that the next step after recognizing you have billions of atoms is to say that's the same thing as having NO atoms, being nothing at all, because when it comes to being a completely incorrect dumbfuck, go big or go home!"
That reminds me of the ontological argument for cheeseburgers God, which is just as idioticly silly but millions of people for hundreds of years have thought a deep and meaningful argument.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:10 PM
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It's actually very easy. Do what most people do if they want to avoid bullshit that will only serve to fuck up their life. Don't click on the link. Don't spend any time reading or thinking about it. Problem solved.

Be honest now. If you didn't spend your entire days endlessly obsessing about all this bullshit, you'd be a happier person and you'd have more time to enjoy life instead of irritating people on a message board with having them talk you down from your latest needless existential crisis.

I mean, on a slow day, sure, it's slightly amusing to check out how you've wrapped yourself around the same axle, again. But mostly it's pretty much the same shtick though. Aren't you tired of it by now?
Except I cannot resist it because the pain of not knowing is worse than that of knowing. I'm tired of it yes, but I can't deny there is some sort of truth to what they say, as much as I wish it was not so.
  #132  
Old 08-08-2019, 11:14 PM
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Honestly this junk isn't too hard to debunk.

So this guy looks down at his arm and says, "Oh my! This is an arm! And it's also part of my body! This quandary is SOOOO confusing. My mind can't wrap itself around the idea of things that are made up of parts. It certainly can't understand the idea that the whole could be greater than the sum of its parts - if a mechanical clock's gears don't individually know the time, then a clock made of them couldn't possibly tell the time either!"

"So clearly, when we realize that we're all just made of billions of atoms, there is no person there, because no clock that contains gears can possibly function. And also for a topper, I'm going to declare that the next step after recognizing you have billions of atoms is to say that's the same thing as having NO atoms, being nothing at all, because when it comes to being a completely incorrect dumbfuck, go big or go home!"
I think by that it means that there is no independently existing entity of a body, that the existence of a body is dependent on other parts which depend on other parts, thus it lacks any true essence. Though personally there is something iffy about that, and if I understand some basic level of quantum physics there are interactions that occur independent of each other.
  #133  
Old 08-09-2019, 07:32 AM
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Like Schrodinger, lock Buddhism in a box. As long as it’s in a box, it is both true and not true. If you try and look at it, you’ll get confused. Don’t look at it. Keep it in the box. Dig a hole in your backyard. Put the box on the hole. Fill in the hole. Forget where the hole was. Then join the French Foreign Legion.

Last edited by Isosleepy; 08-09-2019 at 07:32 AM.
  #134  
Old 08-09-2019, 08:46 AM
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Except I cannot resist it because the pain of not knowing is worse than that of knowing. I'm tired of it yes, but I can't deny there is some sort of truth to what they say, as much as I wish it was not so.
Lack of "knowledge" is not your problem. Obsessive thought leading to obsessive actions and lack of control over those is your problem. Are you seeking and getting the professional help you need? Because that is the only truth & knowledge you need to face and accept. If not, you won't find "knowledge" even if it bites you on the ass.
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  #135  
Old 08-09-2019, 12:35 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.
As propounded by that British political movement, the London Underground.
  #136  
Old 08-09-2019, 05:01 PM
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So you are the famous fan!
I'm not sure what you're specifically referring to (I haven't read every post in this thread), but I've been exchanging semi-infrequent PMs with him for months now. I think he decided to start the exchange because I've been pretty consistent about not insulting him over his fixation on this stuff, and because I'm happy to debate darn near anything with darn near anybody for darn near ever.

And because I'm I'm happy to debate darn near anything with darn near anybody for darn near ever, I don't mind the exchanges at all. Even though I don't really expect them to go anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
I think by that it means that there is no independently existing entity of a body, that the existence of a body is dependent on other parts which depend on other parts, thus it lacks any true essence. Though personally there is something iffy about that, and if I understand some basic level of quantum physics there are interactions that occur independent of each other.
Naah. He's pretty clear that he's trying to play dumb definitional games to refute the existence of everything - he does it several different times and ways in that article. It's like if you refrain from assigning a name to a color, the color doesn't exist; if you irrationally insist that you can't clearly define your body, you don't have any body at all.

It's all very obviously fallacious as shit, but the logic doesn't matter to him: he has a conclusion they want to reach, and he's willing to accept the shittiest logic on earth if it supports his desired conclusion. And that conclusion, the Buddhist conclusion, is that reality is fundamentally unimportant - or rather that it should be viewed as fundamentally unimportant. Viewing reality this way will, apparently, give you mental superpowers, through the mechanism of going insane, probably.
  #137  
Old 08-09-2019, 06:09 PM
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I think by that it means that there is no independently existing entity of a body, that the existence of a body is dependent on other parts which depend on other parts, thus it lacks any true essence.
Who?

Thatís the question I keep coming back to: Who?

Who told you this? Those last six words in your post: where do they come from? The rest of the sentence marches from A to B to C, and then all of a sudden thereís this claim that just sort of ó shows up. Who came up with it?

Letís say I meet a guy who tells me heís got, uh, Ďa true essenceí. Letís say I figure, well, maybe thatís true; but maybe it isnít. And as Iím trying to decide if heís telling the truth, I see him drink some water. Curious about hoo-mans, I ask him about this. ďOh, yeah,Ē he says; ďIím dependent on water; if I donít drink it, Iíll die.Ē

So . . . is that what you think makes all the difference? Before he brazenly drank the water in front of me, it was possible that he had Ďa true essenceí; but once he told me why he drinks the stuff, then and only then could I say heís wrong?

If so, then, again, in all seriousness: Who Told You That? Who told you that, if a guy says he has Ďa true essenceí, you should ask if he depends on other stuff?

Was it a submarine commander? A rookie cop? My wife? Who?
  #138  
Old 08-09-2019, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I'm not sure what you're specifically referring to
I'm referring to the quoted text in my reply:
Quote:
And by "trying" I mean I've blown everything you tossed at me to shreds, but you just keep finding more crap to throw at me, for that to be blown to shreds, in an unending cycle.
You are the fan that the shit is hitting.
  #139  
Old 08-09-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
I'm referring to the quoted text in my reply:

You are the fan that the shit is hitting.
Ah. I parsed you as saying that he had said that somebody was a "fan" of his ideas.

The English language sucks.
  #140  
Old 08-10-2019, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
Who?

Thatís the question I keep coming back to: Who?

Who told you this? Those last six words in your post: where do they come from? The rest of the sentence marches from A to B to C, and then all of a sudden thereís this claim that just sort of ó shows up. Who came up with it?

Letís say I meet a guy who tells me heís got, uh, Ďa true essenceí. Letís say I figure, well, maybe thatís true; but maybe it isnít. And as Iím trying to decide if heís telling the truth, I see him drink some water. Curious about hoo-mans, I ask him about this. ďOh, yeah,Ē he says; ďIím dependent on water; if I donít drink it, Iíll die.Ē

So . . . is that what you think makes all the difference? Before he brazenly drank the water in front of me, it was possible that he had Ďa true essenceí; but once he told me why he drinks the stuff, then and only then could I say heís wrong?

If so, then, again, in all seriousness: Who Told You That? Who told you that, if a guy says he has Ďa true essenceí, you should ask if he depends on other stuff?

Was it a submarine commander? A rookie cop? My wife? Who?
It was the man in the article that I read it from. The thing is that I lack the knowledge to reject this because there is some truth to it, which makes it harder to reject. I can throw out Christianity because it's utter nonsense. BUddhism just seems a little more thoughtful than that though and he does explain what he means in the article.
  #141  
Old 08-10-2019, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
It was the man in the article that I read it from. The thing is that I lack the knowledge to reject this because there is some truth to it, which makes it harder to reject. I can throw out Christianity because it's utter nonsense. BUddhism just seems a little more thoughtful than that though and he does explain what he means in the article.
The article you just linked to?

Your point in this thread is that Buddhism is little more than nihilism. You seem to be making this argument: if a guy had ďtrue essenceĒ, he could avoid nihilism; but if he doesnít, he canít; and he can have ďtrue essenceĒ if he isnít dependent on other stuff, but he canít if he is; thus, nihilism.

I donít see where The Man In The Article says that having ďtrue essenceĒ would let one avoid nihilism. I also donít see where he says that you can have ďtrue essenceĒ if you pass the depend-on-other-stuff test. (As it happens, I donít see him using the phrase ďtrue essenceĒ; I just see you stating it.) But letís say youíre right about him saying that, and letís also say youíre right not to reject what heís saying.

The Man In The Article also says that his approach ďis invigorating and endlessly rewarding.Ē If you sign on for the rest of what heís saying, do you stop short of that line or do you keep nodding right there? ďThese projections are handy when we want to ask for some cinnamon on our cappuccino,Ē says The Man In The Article; do you believe that, too? That some things are, as he puts it, handy? That he still, for some reason, drinks stuff; and, for some reason, prefers some drinks over other drinks? That he still acts like a guy who sure does want stuff?

Do you believe The Man In The Article is right about that?
  #142  
Old 08-10-2019, 09:42 AM
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I'm starting with the man in the article--I'm asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer: if you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change.
  #143  
Old 08-11-2019, 12:04 PM
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Because for me there is this compulsive addiction to Buddhism. It’s like I can’t say no. No matter what the article says I feel compelled to read it, even one like this: https://www.lionsroar.com/booooring-september-2012/
  #144  
Old 08-11-2019, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Machinaforce View Post
Because for me there is this compulsive addiction to Buddhism. It’s like I can’t say no. No matter what the article says I feel compelled to read it, even one like this: https://www.lionsroar.com/booooring-september-2012/
Seek professional help to break the obsessive cycle.
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  #145  
Old 08-11-2019, 01:43 PM
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Seek professional help to break the obsessive cycle.
Doesnít work because the problem is the content of the articles.
  #146  
Old 08-11-2019, 03:04 PM
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Doesnít work because the problem is the content of the articles.
I'm gonna break my rule and respond to you directly just this once

Doesn't it bother you that you are literally the only person in the world who responds to the articles like this? Some people find Buddhism compelling and rewarding and they go on about their lives. Some people do not so they ignore it and go on about their lives. You are the only person on this planet who obsesses like this. The problem is NOT the content of the articles. The problem is YOU, and your broken brain, and no one on this board can fix that. All the people on this board can do--and sadly are doing--is enable your disorder by pretending you are engaged in serious debate.

Please seek professional help. There are medicines and behavioral therapies that can help you. This board cannot.
  #147  
Old 08-11-2019, 03:25 PM
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Like in the one about boredom where it makes it sound like being bored is a bad thing as so is wanting new experiences
  #148  
Old 08-11-2019, 04:18 PM
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I'm gonna break my rule and respond to you directly just this once

Doesn't it bother you that you are literally the only person in the world who responds to the articles like this? Some people find Buddhism compelling and rewarding and they go on about their lives. Some people do not so they ignore it and go on about their lives. You are the only person on this planet who obsesses like this. The problem is NOT the content of the articles. The problem is YOU, and your broken brain, and no one on this board can fix that. All the people on this board can do--and sadly are doing--is enable your disorder by pretending you are engaged in serious debate.

Please seek professional help. There are medicines and behavioral therapies that can help you. This board cannot.
The problem is the content because itís saying Iím living my life wrong, especially when I say I am bored.

Itís the content that causes me issues but people donít address it and so it stays in my head as a reminder of what Iím doing wrong
  #149  
Old 08-11-2019, 04:30 PM
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Dude, that is textbook obsessive behavior.

You are living your life wrong, because you are not getting treated for that.
  #150  
Old 08-11-2019, 06:26 PM
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Dude, that is textbook obsessive behavior.

You are living your life wrong, because you are not getting treated for that.
There is no treatment for the content of the articles besides a good counterpoint, which I don't have.
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