Why I ditched Buddhism

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby Vay » 08 Jun 2012, 16:21

Charlie Phillips wrote:So being reticent about consuming retroviral cocktails is some kind of post-modernist philosophical plot?


"Plot" would be a bit of an understatement. His policy caused the needless deaths of an estimated 300,000 South Africans. Seth Kalichman covers the story in

Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy.

You claim Mbeki is a post modernist philosopher or was somehow influenced by them?


Not exactly - admittedly I'm being loose with my definitions here. Mbeki was taken in by HIV deniers who, much like proponents of psi, alt med and other forms of science denial arm themselves with Post Modern-esque argument that "truth" is culturally determined, twist logic into pretzels through rhetoric that obfuscates rather than clarifies, and tend to villainize anything of modern Western origin in a typically Post Modern way.
"So given that we all agree that the world is warming, would it be unlikely to have heat waves outpace cold fronts by 3:1? Where's the Gotcha! in that?" - Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
Vay
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
 
Posts: 2152
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 01 Nov 2001, 17:01
Location: still in the Matrix
26 Recommends(s)
49 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby Vay » 11 Jun 2012, 23:49

PS - Charlie, I should add that I don't really mean Post Modernist philosophers were actively involved in the denial of AIDS, the propagation of anti-vaccine propaganda or anything so specific. But there is a sort of cultural trickle-down effect that happens... take for example the annoying cliche, "Science is just another faith-based religion". I have heard that from so many people and I find it incredibly hard to restrain myself from rolling my eyes and doing a face-palm every single time. The originator of that innane observation was Paul Feyerabend...

How to Defend Society Against Science

...who, to quote Scienceblogs:

"...was a positivist before he wasn't, then a Popper-esque rationalist before he wasn't, then a fan of Kuhn's monistic phase model before he wasn't - basically, he was an opportunist and if something gained acceptance he wanted to be edgy and cool and puncture it. Only post-modernism stuck because it changed so much he could never figure out what to be against."

Paul Feyerabend - "Science's Greatest Enemy" Attacks From The Grave

Promoters of every stripe of snake-oil (not to mention dictatorial and despotic regimes) just love this kind of double-speak, as it allows them to twist language into pretzels and justify any line of "reasoning" they like.
"So given that we all agree that the world is warming, would it be unlikely to have heat waves outpace cold fronts by 3:1? Where's the Gotcha! in that?" - Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
Vay
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
 
Posts: 2152
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 01 Nov 2001, 17:01
Location: still in the Matrix
26 Recommends(s)
49 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby MikeN » 12 Jun 2012, 21:34

finley wrote:
Well, without a functioning brain, consciousness is absent

Can you prove that experimentally?



Yes. Come over here and let me whack you in the head with a 12-pound sledge hammer, and we'll continue the discussion after that.
MikeN
Second Landlord (èr fáng dōng)
Second Landlord (èr fáng dōng)
 
Posts: 2441
Joined: 16 Nov 2003, 14:12
28 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby Vay » 13 Jun 2012, 01:10

MikeN wrote:
finley wrote:
Well, without a functioning brain, consciousness is absent

Can you prove that experimentally?



Yes. Come over here and let me whack you in the head with a 12-pound sledge hammer, and we'll continue the discussion after that.


Another interesting experience is having full-on anesthesia - not the more modern, gentle kind where you go down slow and wake up in a pleasant pink haze, but the kind where one minute the doctor is counting down and the next minute you're lying on a cot, no idea what the hell is going on, shivering your ass off and feel like you're gonna crap yourself or hurl (maybe both). I've had the latter experience, and the absolute absence of any sense of time having passed was pretty creepy to me. I was still religious at that time, but remember thinking, 'Hmm, if I have a soul and my consciousness is invested in it, how come I feel like I just got switched off and on like a TV?'
"So given that we all agree that the world is warming, would it be unlikely to have heat waves outpace cold fronts by 3:1? Where's the Gotcha! in that?" - Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
Vay
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
Mahjong Maniac (májiàng mí)
 
Posts: 2152
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 01 Nov 2001, 17:01
Location: still in the Matrix
26 Recommends(s)
49 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby SauLan » 13 Jun 2012, 07:38

Vay wrote:
MikeN wrote:
finley wrote:
Well, without a functioning brain, consciousness is absent

Can you prove that experimentally?



Yes. Come over here and let me whack you in the head with a 12-pound sledge hammer, and we'll continue the discussion after that.


Another interesting experience is having full-on anesthesia - not the more modern, gentle kind where you go down slow and wake up in a pleasant pink haze, but the kind where one minute the doctor is counting down and the next minute you're lying on a cot, no idea what the hell is going on, shivering your ass off and feel like you're gonna crap yourself or hurl (maybe both). I've had the latter experience, and the absolute absence of any sense of time having passed was pretty creepy to me. I was still religious at that time, but remember thinking, 'Hmm, if I have a soul and my consciousness is invested in it, how come I feel like I just got switched off and on like a TV?'


The seat for your consciousness definitely affects it - if your physical body (on a coarse level) is damaged, your consciousness will register pain; likewise if your physical body, including brain, is artificially rendered completely unconscious/inert, your consciousness (well, your experience of consciousness), as long as it is seated in your physical body, will be affected. If you were to die, though, during anesthesia, your consciousness would become unseated, and, just as it would no longer be affected by damage to the body, would no longer be affected by dulling drugs.

Another way of putting it is that anesthesia doesn't (generally) unseat your consciousness. Your consciousness can feel like it is "off" during anesthesia, but it's really no more "off" than it is "disturbed" by pain to the body. We think, when stepping on a nail, that our consciousness "feels" pain, but really our body feels pain, and our consciousness notes that. Similarly, we think that when conking out during anesthesia, our consciousness "turns off," but really our body turns off, and our consciousness notes that. When we become unseated from that body, eventually, we will remember that "off" moment as part of our life seated in that body. Our consciousness isn't really off; rather, our brain is off, and our brain has a limited ability to grant us an experience of our ultimate, full consciousness.

Well, maybe it would be better to say that the brain CAN have a limited ability to grant us an experience of ultimate consciousness; a realized practitioner can improve or ultimately overcome that limitation.
Forumosan avatar
SauLan
Mastered ordering "beer" in Chinese (jīngtōng le yòng Guóyǔ shuō "píjiǔ")
Mastered ordering "beer" in Chinese (jīngtōng le yòng Guóyǔ shuō "píjiǔ")
 
Posts: 116
Joined: 03 Feb 2012, 07:24
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
10 Recommends(s)
6 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby trubadour » 13 Jun 2012, 10:41

Hold up!

The funny thing is that pro- and contra- camps here are both accepting a fundamental logical fallacy. Amusingly its the mistaking of an effect for a cause.

There is something poetic to the truth of this thread when one poster accuses religion of trying to make people feel comfortable (!), that in contrast to 'science' or natural philosophy which has no regard for our 'feelings' and is concerned only with the truth of existence.

Apart from the fact that 'science' apparently does have emotional value or meaning for some as a 'world view', as a politics, as an 'ethics', if only as an estimation of it's superior value, religion (if I may be permitted an generalisation here - which I should not!), it seems to me, actually posits the utter inferiority of the ego-center/individual.

Doesn't Buddhism actually teach that the ego is an illusion? In reality, they say, there is no ego! No ego to chose which truth is preferable! No ego to 'like' science more than Buddhism.

Can't get more post-Copernican than that.

I think that many turn away from religion precisely because they feel diminished by it. 'Science' is empowering - you are at the top of the evolutionary cycle, in charge of creating knowledge; Religion puts you in your place - you are created of something you can not hardly begin to understand. This is the 'feeling' atheists don't like. They want God in their image or not at all. They chose the close-at-hand comforts of myopia. Sort of like big fish in a small pond.

Really the whole Religion vs Science thing is a kind of nightmare. Religion is so vastly superior literally several levels above natural science that even Philosophy has little to say on the matter. Acknowledging this obviously puts you on the 'Religion' side. That's the price of dealing in these discussions!

But, I digress. The fallacy? The functioning brain causes conciousness. This is absurd. Obviously, conciousness was here before any of us were. As we get older we learn to access or articulate conciousness through language and culture as far as we are each able. If we take a sedative or get an injury we commonly say our conciousness is lost when is impeded in some way. Thus, we deduce that conciousness is caused by the brain but it is a kind of linguistic simplification that covers the truth. In fact, it is the opposite. Conciousness hasn't changed - it remains the same whether you are able to access it or not. All that has changed is a given being's ability to access it, to be aware of it, to learn from it and to share it.

Conciousness is therefore a level of being: inert matter < living matter < animal conciousness < human conciousness < [universal conciousness?]. Would have thought a few 'scientists' and/or 'religionists' would have noticed this.

We are 'happier' without being reminded of the implications of the squared brackets. God knows why. Ignorance is bliss?
trubadour
Betelnut Beauty (bīnglang Xī Shī)
Betelnut Beauty (bīnglang Xī Shī)
 
Posts: 1544
Joined: 16 Jan 2008, 12:51
114 Recommends(s)
12 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby Huseng » 21 Aug 2012, 23:59

urodacus wrote:All philosophy is so much mind wankery that it's pretty irrelevant anyway. Philosophy never harvested a crop or cooked a meal or raised a roof, after all.


Philosophy is the underpinning of the intellectual elites and the direction whole nations, empires and cultures take.

Aristotle had a profound impact on western civilization, particular in the post-Roman age. His ideas formed part of the foundation for western thought which built the modern world we live in now.
Forumosan avatar
Huseng
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
Ink Still Wet in Passport (shífēn xīnshǒu)
 
Posts: 23
Joined: 27 Feb 2012, 22:53
Location: Taipei

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby Homey » 22 Aug 2012, 00:57

Emptiness should not be taught and spoken about so openly it just leads to silliness like we see here. It is by far the most misunderstood thing about the Buddha's teachings. As the article and comments show, if you are clueless about this point, then of course Buddhism can a harmful and dangerous path. Sadly, most all students of Buddhism just want to discuss and talk about emptiness, few want to actually practice, keep precepts and apply the teachings in their lives. Intellectually you can study logic and the proofs for emptiness, but this will never take you there.

It's exactly the same as the Dao as stated in the most famous verse from the Dao de ching; The Dao that can be spoken of is not the true Dao.

Believing in separate inherent existence is one extreme, Nihilism is the other extreme, neither are the middle way of Buddhism.

Any true teacher will guide students away from such mental masturbation and on to basic simple practice. In fact it is said that one can become jaded and lose the capacity for compassion, love, generosity, joy etc.. if they do not practice and constantly get stuck in intellectual study of Buddhism. It can actually be harmful.

Buddhism isn't a religion. The Buddha cared only about helping people become awake, to understand suffering and it's causes as well as liberation and the causes. A Christian, Muslim, an Atheist, or anyone else can benefit from applying and practicing the teaching of the Buddha. In fact it will make them better Christians, Muslims, etc.... The Buddha never created a religion, this was all done after his death and is an addon, not the teachings themselves.

Practicing under an authentic lineage absolutely increases awareness, compassion, love, generosity, joy, equanimity etc...
Why not???

If you are what you eat, then I guess that makes me "fast, cheap, and easy"!
Forumosan avatar
Homey
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
High School Triad Member (gāozhōng liúmáng)
 
Posts: 525
Joined: 20 Jan 2008, 00:27
2 Recommends(s)
17 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby hansioux » 22 Aug 2012, 00:59

I am not a buddhist myself (though my parents are), but I don't see any correct statement from the original two quotations.

The idea of empty self/selflessness is not the same as "perceiving yourself as in some sense unreal", that is a misinterpretation of the most fundamental of maha yana Buddhism's belief. Empty self or selflessness is not about denying your own existence, but to acknowledge what you perceive as self is not constant and is constantly changing. So holding on to the notion that certain thing defines you or is you or is yours and furthermore believing is what makes you happy is going to bring suffering as none of those things are true. So being able to see through these notions is the goal of "empty self/selflessness".

In no way is the Buddhist universe created just for people or "for our benefit". In fact, being human is one of the 3 suffering existence out of 6 options. It just so happens to truly be enlightened, it is easier to do so as a human being, because humans are suffering while having enough intelligence, so we have a chance of acknowledging there is a way out from the sufferings, and want to escape the cycle of reincarnation.

I am not saying Buddhism is all logical (the further away you get from the original teachings recorded in Aganas, the less consistent it gets), but for the most part it is a very philosophical religion and in its original form encourages people to think for themselves and was largely a social movement wrapped in a religion.

But I am a science guy myself, and I tend to see religion a creation of men for social/political purposes, so I am not a huge believer. But misinterpreting Buddhism and claiming those as its faults seems wrong.
Don't confuse me with your reasonableness.
Forumosan avatar
hansioux
KTV Is My Life (jiùshì ài chàng KTV)
KTV Is My Life (jiùshì ài chàng KTV)
 
Posts: 2793
Joined: 28 Jul 2012, 14:41
348 Recommends(s)
396 Recognized(s)

6000

Re: Why I ditched Buddhism

Postby bob » 22 Aug 2012, 03:07

Confuzius wrote: This still goes in line with an anti-religious agenda; show the FUNCTIONAL benefits thereof in order to downplay the rest of it and treat it as ignorant superstition.


That's putting it a bit simplistically. The ignorant superstition bits often ARE the functional bits. Many people, apparently, seem to function more productively and comfortably in a state of delusion about a whole range of things. Reality is hard to accept. Many people, for example, find it difficult to accept that consciousness resides in the brain and is the result of activities that go on there. Failure to accept that leads to nonsense like this...

The search for the Dalai Lama has usually been limited historically to Tibet, although the third tulku was born in Mongolia. Tenzin Gyatso, though, has stated that he will not be reborn in the People's Republic of China.[30] In his autobiography, Freedom In Exile, he states that if Tibet is not free, he will reincarnate elsewhere."


The Dalai Lama isn't going to re-incarnate anywhere, and I suspect he knows it, but doesn't feel that he is a position to say so. Here's some stuff on how he was found....

Lhamo Latso ... [is] a brilliant azure jewel set in a ring of grey mountains. The elevation and the surrounding peaks combine to give it a highly changeable climate, and the continuous passage of cloud and wind creates a constantly moving pattern on the surface of the waters. On that surface visions appear to those who seek them in the right frame of mind.[33]


Stoned, psychotic?

It was here that during 1935, the Regent, Reting Rinpoche, received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.[34][35][36]


On how they are found generally...

High Lamas may also have a vision by a dream or if the Dalai Lama was cremated, they will often monitor the direction of the smoke as an indication of the direction of the rebirth.[30]


Hmmm, interesting..

Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.


If things get complicated, leave it to chance (or some back room politicking) ....

If there is only one boy found, the High Lamas will invite Living Buddhas of the three great monasteries together with secular clergy and monk officials, to confirm their findings and will then report to the Central Government through the Minister of Tibet. Later a group consisting of the three major servants of Dalai Lama, eminent officials and troops will collect the boy and his family and travel to Lhasa, where the boy would be taken, usually to Drepung Monastery to study the Buddhist sutra in preparation for assuming the role of spiritual leader of Tibet.[30]

However, if there are several possibilities of the reincarnation, in the past regents and eminent officials and monks at the Jokhang in Lhasa, and the Minister to Tibet would decide on the individual by putting the boys' names inside an urn and drawing one lot in public if it was too difficult to judge the reincarnation initially.[37]


That is just mumbo jumbo nonsense like the supernatural aspects of any religion. I think that you stated that buddhist belief doesn't entail a soul in the sense that we normally think of them. But here it seems like some remembering self does pass along......

Another poster here also seems to think that some consciousness is somehow separate from brain functioning..

Another way of putting it is that anesthesia doesn't (generally) unseat your consciousness. Your consciousness can feel like it is "off" during anesthesia, but it's really no more "off" than it is "disturbed" by pain to the body. We think, when stepping on a nail, that our consciousness "feels" pain, but really our body feels pain, and our consciousness notes that. Similarly, we think that when conking out during anesthesia, our consciousness "turns off," but really our body turns off, and our consciousness notes that. When we become unseated from that body, eventually, we will remember that "off" moment as part of our life seated in that body. Our consciousness isn't really off; rather, our brain is off, and our brain has a limited ability to grant us an experience of our ultimate, full consciousness.


I thought this bit from huseng was funny....

Realizing the emptiness of "self" (ātman), that is to say one's mistaken perception of self-identity, consequently results in notions of both "self" and "other" essentially melting away, resulting in unconditional compassion as no barrier between the illusory "I" and "other" remain. Even at the most basic level this becomes possible in short increments as notions of an inherent "me" wear away.


Here we find a buddhist who seems to think that the self IS illusory. It isn't. It's origins are just a lot more complicated than we can even imagine. Anyway, the "me" "you" thing pops back up again pretty clearly whenever questions like, say, "who pays the bill?" come up.

There are all kinds of things that people label as spiritual: the love of their fellows, the love of art and nature, feelings of belonging and purpose and this stuff gets "claimed" by religions and mixed in with a big healthy dollop of pure delusion. That extra dollop is all we are complaining about, because what it does is cater to the psychotic in us, with all the usual implications in some instances, and in the process it creates divisions between people where in actuality none exist. The tensions that arise from the artificial divisions though, well, those are real.
bob
Golden Lotus (huángjīn liánhuā)
Golden Lotus (huángjīn liánhuā)
 
Posts: 8625
Joined: 14 May 2004, 14:11
Location: sunk
21 Recognized(s)

6000

PreviousNext




 
 
 x

Return to Religion & Spirituality



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: No Forumosans and 3 visitors

There are but three events in a man's life: birth, life, and death. He is not conscious of being born, he dies in pain, and he forgets to live -- JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE