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The Truth of the Path

SilouanSilouan Veteran
edited September 2012 in Faith & Religion
In the spirit of @MaryAnne 's call to a higher standard, and for the benefit of all.

There has been many a discussion on this forum when validation of one's belief is required, but we have been rather quick to point out the reasons for invalidating the beliefs of others to support our own beliefs.

Without using the invalidation of another religion please explain why you believe in the respective teachings of your chosen path. Is there some kind of evidence or personal experiences that validate what you believe, or is it something else?
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Comments

  • Also, I think it would be insightful to identify what particular religious tradition forms the basis of your beliefs.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    I believe them because they don't require proof. Their truth is self-evident.
    No 'Belief' is necessary, in Buddhism per se, because the teachings are verifiable through practice. There is nothing "unseen" to believe. if you can't take it in - it's no big deal. Matters such as Rebirth and the workings of Kamma are not obligatory to live by, if you get my drift.
    Sabrejessie70FullCircle
  • @federica
    Could you say then that the practice provides validation of the teachings, and also one must experience in their life the results or fruits of the practice?
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    No. The teachings are already validated. That's why I practice them. because they're self evident. The 4 Noble Truths, the 8Fold path, the 5 precepts.
    nothing more is required.
    RebeccaS
  • So they would just be accepted as truth, and not require personal or individual validation by the practitioner?
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    I'm sorry - have you studied Buddhism at all?
    The reason they are called the 4 Noble Truths - is because their fundamental Truth is indisputable.

    I think, as you're on a Buddhist website, it might pay you to do a fair bit of research....
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited September 2012
    I'm not touching this thread with a 10 ft pole. Good Luck, Federica... ;)

  • Yes actually. I was a Buddhist for twenty years, and I'm not attempting to refute Buddhism.
  • The purpose of this thread is not to invalidate Buddhism, but to hopefully bring to light the commonality we all share in seeking a spiritual path and why we follow it. That's all. :)
    FullCircle
  • Silouan said:

    The purpose of this thread is not to invalidate Buddhism, but to hopefully bring to light the commonality we all share in seeking a spiritual path and why we follow it. That's all. :)


    Yeah, I'm not buying that so easily.... There is always an air of challenge; always an air of superiority when you compare your Eastern Orthodox Christianity to Buddhism and other religions.
    And you always do compare them, time and time again, in all sorts of ways in all sorts of topic threads. I honestly don't get what other purpose you have for being here in this (Buddhist) forum most of the time. But eh.... I'll stay out of it.
    RebeccaSzsc
  • I don't really believe in Buddhism, because as soon as I really understand one of the important aspects of Buddhism, it sort of peels away like a scab.
    tmottes
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited September 2012
    In a lot of religions one needs to fully accept things as the core of the religion. Like embracing a God/Allah/Krishna. Or the quote I often heard: "accept Jesus". You probably have to try really hard to find a Christian who doubts Jesus.

    In Buddhism, we have no need for such an acceptance of something. It's easy to find Buddhists who disagree with certain things. That's because (hopefully) we are taught to rely upon our own investigation of life as it is happening in and around us. So we can investigate the noble truths, and begin to see their truth. They don't have to be fully accepted before we can use them. The more we practice, the more they unfold; it's a learning curve. While we learn we can apply what we learned to our lives.

    Therefore I would never use the word 'belief' to describe Buddhism, at least not as I practice it. I've always used my own investigation as the basis of my view on life and along with me many other Buddhists. It's applied science, really.

    Now as the practice unfolds and what we experience starts to accord with what the Buddha taught, naturally a lot of people place faith in his words and take on ideas they haven't yet verified. I think that can be useful, but it may also be a dangerous territory, for it may stop investigation. So when in contrast people doubt some teachings, that's perfectly fine in Buddhism and the Buddha wouldn't disapprove of that I think. And that's part of the beauty of Buddhism and again why it's comparable to a science.

    But even things like rebirth can be verified, although it seems a bit rare for people to do so. So those things can also come from investigation rather than belief.

    Personally I could never come from a ground of belief, I'm way too skeptic for that and have always been. So things I say is because I really think that's the truth of things, the truth I find in my heart. Not to glorify myself - surely not - but if all people on earth would do that, I think that would be good for the world. Too much people just repeat what they hear elsewhere, beit a religion or media like television. Be really still and listen to your heart, that's where the answers are.

    Metta!
    Sabre
    PatrSile
  • @MaryAnne,

    I respect what you say, but that is not the intention.

    There is much ignorance in this world, and this site is not impervious to it. There is much bashing of other religious traditions, and in particular Christianity, but it is a much more difficult thing to do when someone has an opposing voice, and there are others on this site that do feel the same way and voice their opposition and are railed against as well, and some of them have faith in Christ too.

    I have asked a question in a way that I hoped would be free from focusing on the need to use invalidation of someone elses religion to validate their own , and if I ask of someone more questions it is to clarify the response.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    federica said:

    I'm sorry - have you studied Buddhism at all?
    The reason they are called the 4 Noble Truths - is because their fundamental Truth is indisputable.

    I think, as you're on a Buddhist website, it might pay you to do a fair bit of research....

    You were doing great...but now you went a tad too far. There are certain aspects of some interpretations of the Four Noble Truths that some people would dispute.

  • @Sabre
    In a lot of religions one needs to fully accept things as the core of the religion. Like embracing a God/Allah/Krishna. Or the quote I often heard: "accept Jesus". You probably have to try really hard to find a Christian who doubts Jesus.
    These are the comments I'm hoping we avoid in this discussion. :)
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Sabre said:

    ...You probably have to try really hard to find a Christian who doubts Jesus....

    That depends on what you mean by doubting Jesus. I have no doubt that he existed. I have no doubt that he was a wise teacher. About the many aspects of the magic aspect of Jesus...I have doubts.

  • The Eastern Orthodox tradition seems very close to Buddhism or Taoism.
  • @PrairieGhost
    I believe you are correct in that assessment, but that would be the topic of another discussion.
  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    It's difficult to have a discussion based on the O.P., because it asks loaded questions.

    Ok, what is belief? I cannot see touch taste smell or hear it. It does not brush my shin like a cat, it does not bind my clothes or my bones, I do not need to infer it to produce spacecraft. It confuses me entirely.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan said:

    @Sabre

    In a lot of religions one needs to fully accept things as the core of the religion. Like embracing a God/Allah/Krishna. Or the quote I often heard: "accept Jesus". You probably have to try really hard to find a Christian who doubts Jesus.
    These are the comments I'm hoping we avoid in this discussion. :)
    Hi @Silouan,

    You asked me not to invalidate another religion, I think I didn't. Instead I've argued that validation is a personal thing. I didn't say accepting a God was wrong or right, good or bad, but to my personal experience it is what sets off Buddhism compared to a lot of other religions - without any judgement involved. It's just like saying, some people go left, others go right. That's not invalidating any particular direction, that's just stating how I see things. After that I spend a lot of more lines explained how I see Buddhism - perhaps you could respond on that since that's what you asked for. :)
    MaryAnne
  • @PrairieGhost
    I honestly thought it was a simple question. I didn't see it as you say, but if that's how its perceived what can I do? I tried.
  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    But can you explain belief? I'm not being clever. Consider that I might not see things as others see them; consider that you are talking to an alien who does not know the things you take for granted.

    Again, this isn't a thought experiment. I really don't perceive any substance to the word belief. In fact, I perceive its lack of substance.
  • @Sabre
    Thank you for clarifying. In attempting to be the "discussion police" I totally missed your other commentary. It was a nice explanation. :)
  • faith is good for anyone who believe in any religion

    faith strenthen the mind and give support to bear the unpleaseant experience one has to bear

    so no matter what religion you believe have in faith in it but open to other religions too

    that will help us to develop
  • But we keep throwing these terms around as if we already know what they mean. Faith, belief...

    C.S. Lewis said that for most people, God is the corner of their bedroom ceiling. Is belief a quickening of the pulse, firm set of the jaw and starry eyes raised to an empty sky? Because that's all I ever saw in myself when I watched myself believe in things.

    But I wanted my life to be wonderful, so to give up the notion that there was such a thing as belief in heaven or nirvana, or a self to believe in these things, seemed beside the point to me.



  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan
    I didn't see it as you say, but if that's how its perceived what can I do? I tried.
    It's loaded in the sense that it assumes that a. we chose a path and b. belief is an important aspect of that choice.

    Both these ideas are taken for granted but are fundamentally different to my experience of life. What you call choice appears to me as furrowing the brow and looking at the floor for a moment.
  • @PrairieGhost
    Perhaps the use of the word belief is the wrong word to use because it can be understood to mean something entirely different amongst various groups. Maybe what you accept as being true might be better. Any suggestions?
  • Silouan said:

    @Sabre
    Thank you for clarifying. In attempting to be the "discussion police" I totally missed your other commentary. It was a nice explanation. :)

    Cool!


    :rockon:
    Silouan
  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan:
    Maybe what you accept as being true might be better. Any suggestions?
    I think I'm asking you to examine belief.

    Pontius Pilate asked 'What is truth?'. I used to think that was a great question for Jesus, but actually it's a terrible question. Because if you're asking it, it means you're lying to yourself about what you already know.

    The question 'what is belief', might be a better question, or at least a safer one to begin with. If you could settle that, you wouldn't need to ask the other question.
  • I'm not seeking to validate my own spirituality, but Jesus was silent when asked that question. If Pilate would have asked who is truth the answer would have been entirely different.

    Now the response I have given can spark this whole discussion into an entirely different direction. One outside the faith would assume it means blind faith, but it requires living a way of life wherein the truth is revealed and validated by one's personal experience, and I will leave it at that.
  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan
    I will leave it at that.
    Sigh. Life will never let us leave it at that.

    One outside the faith... no, I wouldn't assume blind faith. I wouldn't assume faith at all, because I don't think there is such a thing. I think we live in our memories and as we look back we use ideas like faith or belief to explain why we do things. But I could dismantle memory and who would bat an eyelid?

    Who is truth? Inside, outside. A clam or a womb and mannequin or a trick with mirrors. Who? Walking, talking, speaking, resting. He is to himself the mirror inside yet to my eyes he appears, says 'I am, I feel, I think'. I watch him preach through a thicket. A waterclock. Perfect in contrast or perfect absolute?

    With such questions, I confine my soul to a threshing machine. All for me. Not for God or Jesus or the human race. All for me. Damned as deep as can be and unafraid and never was or could be and saved.





  • PrairieGhostPrairieGhost Veteran
    edited September 2012
    Silouan. I think you are right. There is no 'what', only 'who'. But no Him and no me and no you. :)
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    vinlyn said:

    federica said:

    I'm sorry - have you studied Buddhism at all?
    The reason they are called the 4 Noble Truths - is because their fundamental Truth is indisputable.

    I think, as you're on a Buddhist website, it might pay you to do a fair bit of research....

    You were doing great...but now you went a tad too far. There are certain aspects of some interpretations of the Four Noble Truths that some people would dispute.

    @vinlyn,
    Interpretation is one thing. What they state, is another. The fundamental statements of the 4NT are indisputable.
    That's for a different thread.
    I would be more interested to know why, when so many find better fulfilment in Buddhism and turn away from Christianity, Silouan has actually done the reverse.
    But that's another thread too.
    If any thread were ever indeed to materialise, and I'm not suggesting it should, or that anyone has a right to create publicly.

    Patr
  • Buddhism is beyond acceptance and rejection, hope or fear.

    In a way it is seeing how beliefs construct reality directly.

    And in a broader way it is the end beliefs. End of fabrication, construction.

    All beliefs start with the "thing". Or the assumption of a reference point, source, center. Be it self or other.

    And sure its possible to replace this lack of construction with a new construction but then suffering follows.

    So have it your way and a med coke with that.
  • Invalidating certain things isn't hard to do. Which is why I take the faith pedlars with several dashes of salt as the type of faith they deal in requires no evidence for existence and thus is misplaced.
  • BeejBeej Human Being Veteran
    Setting up a discussion topic with suffocating parameters to follow is why I don't like almost ALL religions. All structured religions do that, too. My mind is infinite. Buddhism seems to be the one that recognizes and encourages that, yet offers the raft for me when that infinity gets too deep. For me, Buddhism is all in the experience. Otherwise it just becomes some silly topic on a discussion forum or a statue on your mantle.
  • BeejBeej Human Being Veteran
    edited September 2012
    federica said:

    vinlyn said:

    federica said:

    I'm sorry - have you studied Buddhism at all?
    The reason they are called the 4 Noble Truths - is because their fundamental Truth is indisputable.

    I think, as you're on a Buddhist website, it might pay you to do a fair bit of research....

    You were doing great...but now you went a tad too far. There are certain aspects of some interpretations of the Four Noble Truths that some people would dispute.

    @vinlyn,
    Interpretation is one thing. What they state, is another. The fundamental statements of the 4NT are indisputable.
    That's for a different thread.
    I would be more interested to know why, when so many find better fulfilment in Buddhism and turn away from Christianity, Silouan has actually done the reverse.
    But that's another thread too.
    If any thread were ever indeed to materialise, and I'm not suggesting it should, or that anyone has a right to create publicly.


    Turned away but hasn't ceased looking back, as evidenced by still being here on this website. If Christianity were enough, this topic wouldn't even be a discussion, IMO.
    MaryAnne
  • After being sent out, several apostles ran to Jesus, their tone angry; there is another who is expelling demons, curing the ill, and preaching in your name; but he is not one of us! Jesus smiled in joy; Brothers, if he is not against us, then he is with us."

    I know I didn't get the whole statment right; but I wanted to say, that didn't Jesus tolerate those who were not of his company, but yet preached in his name?
    RebeccaS
  • SileSile Veteran
    edited September 2012
    We all have faith, every day. Faith is very connected to time, especially the future.

    In a sense, it is ones personal prediction of a particular outcome. Whether that faith seems "blind" to others is a matter of explaining to them what leads you to believe in your own prediction--whereupon they decided whether or not your faith is blind ;) But "blind" is a misnomer; what they're really arguing about is whether your faith is reasoned, according to reasons they also agree with.

    Many, many social factors go into faith. If I, raised by a wonderful father, tell a kid raised by a terrible, abusive, lying father that "My dad's going to buy me a bike today," that abused kid may well think my faith is blind. It doesn't matter to the abused kid that I personally have seen my father's promises come true over and over--and therefore I have reasoned faith, not blind faith, in these promises--to the abused kid, such promises are never kept. So, to him, my faith is blind.

    So faith is not simply a matter of "blind expectation" with zero factors. It's almost not possible to have truly blind faith--even our "blind" faith in a complete stranger is conditioned by our childhood, by whether we have a general sense that people are good, or that they're bad. The blindest possible follower of the most ridiculously unqualified leader is, nonetheless, partly basing his/her faith in that leader on the fact that people in his/her past have been trustworthy.

    No being (well, almost none) will purposely throw themselves into a situation they think will kill them or hurt them, so any "blind" faith is really, before it even happens, at least "slightly-reasoned" faith (unless the person just has zero sense of judgement or is otherwise impaired).

    Imho, then, it's not really a question of blind faith; it's a question of how your faith is reasoned. This might range from "barely-reasoned" to "thoroughly, to the best of ones ability, reasoned." But even so, much reason lies within the reasoner--someone may not accept your process of reasoning as valid, no matter how thorough you feel it has been.

  • Imho, faith is a personal matter, that cannot be defined, or rendered to any word. I'ts a personal journey that only the one who travels can define to him/herself. :D
    MaryAnne
  • I've never used invalidation of christianity or any other religion as validation for my beliefs...it's not required. Where is a specific instance by the way, where someone has made an attempt to validate Buddhism through an invalidation of the christian faith...and just out of curiosity, you claim you "were" Buddhist for 20 years...which means after 20 years (with an introduction to the nature of mind by a master?) of studying the Buddha dharma and practicing meditation, you have found the dogma of christianity to make more sense to you?
  • The difference between non-Buddhist teachings and Buddhist teachings is that non-Buddhist teachers have not extinguished all faults as their view is of a permanent, single independent self.
    caz
  • @pineblossom, Not all Buddhist teachers have eliminated that fault/delusion either, just the truly enlightened ones.
  • @pineblossom
    The statement that "non-Buddhist teachers have not extinguished all faults as their view is of permanent, single independent self " is very narrow, and really would depend upon how you are defining permanent, single independent self and what non-Buddhist teachers and their respective traditions you are applying it to. You are assuming only Buddhism provides insight into interdependency and the emptying of the self.

    Also, there are those who practice Buddhism in many cultures who probably have never heard of, or don't have the academic knowledge to offer exquisite explanations with regards to emptiness, dependent origination, and no-self etc... They may practice any number of the myriad forms of Buddhism that don't require such knowledge, but this doesn't exclude them from developing humility, kindness, and compassion.
    PrairieGhost
  • Silouan said:

    In the spirit of @MaryAnne 's call to a higher standard, and for the benefit of all.

    There has been many a discussion on this forum when validation of one's belief is required, but we have been rather quick to point out the reasons for invalidating the beliefs of others to support our own beliefs.

    Without using the invalidation of another religion please explain why you believe in the respective teachings of your chosen path. Is there some kind of evidence or personal experiences that validate what you believe, or is it something else?

    I interpret this OP to mean... when we speak about our "knowledge" of things on this forum, others who have a different "knowledge" often times challenge us and demand "proof" of this "knowledge". Our knowledge is based on who we were raised by (culturally and parentally), our experiences in life, etc. Since most-if not all-of this knowledge is experiential and subjective, there is no way to provide proof. Consequently our "knowledge" is deemed inferior or false.

    So the OP is asking for subjective information. He is asking for it to be understood or interpreted as though you were the originator of that information (the collective of your experience), rather than using your perspective as a comparison. It is my perspective that the OP is asking about what cannot be transmitted by communication.

    I follow buddhism (no particular sect) because I have found that it stabilizes and enhances my life; it makes the most sense to me; it claims no authority; and I have had experiences which are undeniable to me, but can never be transmitted as convincing proof to anyone. This is purely subjective for everybody reading this. On a conventional level it is objective for me. Nobody on this forum will ever have access to my mind; and that is required to understand why it is objective for me. You may have similar experiences and we can relate on a number of levels (superficial to deep), but it isn't evidence or proof of anything. On a non-conventional level, even my objective experiences are only based on my experience of my own nervous system, and thus subjective.

    I hope this makes sense. I think this is a great question, but destined to fail (my interpretation of) its intended goal, simply due to the limitations of biology and speech.
    SilouanMaryAnneJeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    I was raised Christian. I rejected Christianity almost immediately because it didn't fit me. I went a long time with no real belief in anything but it was evident it was lacking in my life. I tried out various Pagan religions because of my great connection with nature, but I could never make it work and aspects of it just did not work for me. I actually tested out Buddhism in college and I didn't have the time to figure it out, it seemed very complex at the time but later found that is just how our particular text taught it. I re-found Buddhism through my teenage son, and it immediately clicked. Within a couple months someone in my tiny town hosted a retreat, and again, immediate clickage. That group formed a small Sangha, and they are like family to me after only a few months together. It just works. The people, the teachings, the teachers I've met so far, everything works. For me, it IS the truth of how to live my life and raise my family, and when you take just the kernel of almost all religions, they are all the same. Just some get more caught up in dogma than others, and for me Buddhism lacks some of that Dogma that caused me issues in other religions. Buddhism just works for everything in my life. I can raise my family in a Buddhist manner, without them having to be Buddhist. It fits in nicely with my love of the natural world. I have grown leaps and bounds in the past year, and while I occasionally run into snags that I have to figure out, I always do. Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are all I need to live my life in the manner I feel is right to live.
    tmottesSilouanPatrMaryAnne
  • @tmottes
    Actually, you provided the response that matched the intent of the question. :)
  • Silouan said:

    @pineblossom
    The statement that "non-Buddhist teachers have not extinguished all faults as their view is of permanent, single independent self " is very narrow, and really would depend upon how you are defining permanent, single independent self and what non-Buddhist teachers and their respective traditions you are applying it to. You are assuming only Buddhism provides insight into interdependency and the emptying of the self.

    Also, there are those who practice Buddhism in many cultures who probably have never heard of, or don't have the academic knowledge to offer exquisite explanations with regards to emptiness, dependent origination, and no-self etc... They may practice any number of the myriad forms of Buddhism that don't require such knowledge, but this doesn't exclude them from developing humility, kindness, and compassion.

    It is not a matter of 'assumptions' - it is a matter of argument.

    Unless you can indicate some other non-Buddhist teaching that does not fall into the extremes of Nihlism or Eternalism - into extreme asceticism or indulgence - then your statement flounders for want of support.

    Buddhism is not humanism by another name. There are any number who practice compassion and one rejoices in such activity but practicing compassion does not extinguish all faults.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2012

    The difference between non-Buddhist teachings and Buddhist teachings is that non-Buddhist teachers have not extinguished all faults as their view is of a permanent, single independent self.

    And Buddhist teachers have extinguished all faults?
    Silouan said:


    Also, there are those who practice Buddhism in many cultures who probably have never heard of, or don't have the academic knowledge to offer exquisite explanations with regards to emptiness, dependent origination, and no-self etc... They may practice any number of the myriad forms of Buddhism that don't require such knowledge, but this doesn't exclude them from developing humility, kindness, and compassion.

    This is true. And there are those who have learned a lot of the theory, but they don't put it into practice. People, including teachers, are just as prone to foibles within Buddhism as people outside Buddhism. Some people practice compassion and humility simply because it's their nature, and Buddhism is a good fit for them. Others feel Christianity is a good fit for practicing compassion. I suspect that if Jesus' teachings were studied carefully, they would be found to include teachings similar to non-self in some form.

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