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Is Buddhism unsuitable for Sheep?

Most people are motivated by self interest. Did you notice? Despite this they fail to enact the behaviours that will be actually beneficial, whilst being enthralled and captivated by the trivial and superficial. Is the shallow interest in a spiritual path an attempt to increase personal advantage and confirm our efforts and foibles as a worthwhile and noble pursuit?

Does false spirituality attract the gainful and useful; those who are content, able and willing to serve in a functional and beneficial way? Does it rather often perpetuate and even institutionalise the weak, impressionable, easily swayed and misguided? Do safeguards in genuine dharma paths dissuade and repel this tendency?

The perpetuation of useless activity in robotic and cultist practices and spiritual exercises is worth examination. The idea that a simple set of procedures or one procedure is right for all people at all times, in all circumstances, is usually an indication of a formulaic and degenerate system IMHO. It does not take in the genuine requirements. In other words no initial assessment or understanding may be available of the applicability and potential in a head count, accept all, environment.

What are the underlying motivations for perpetuating a system that colludes in a trivial and flawed diagnosis and inadequate provision to one and all. Are teachers themselves only transmitting what can be provided as text. Are teachers encouraging useful activity or are they useless, attracting useless and flawed individuals? Are students changing and improving through their association?

Becoming more passive, docile and accepting may be change but not necessarily beneficial. Unless of course one is providing sheep. Baaa ...

yagrrootsInvincible_summer

Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said: The perpetuation of useless activity in robotic and cultist practices and spiritual exercises is worth examination. The idea that a simple set of procedures or one procedure is right for all people at all times, in all circumstances, is usually an indication of a formulaic and degenerate system IMHO. It does not take in the genuine requirements.

    I agree, but could you give some specific examples of the robotic and cultist practices you are complaining about in a Buddhist context?

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    In one way or another, I imagine everyone, in whatever robotic or refreshing groove is chosen, is bound to rub up against the cultic potential of that groove. Inevitable, I imagine, no matter how wondrous and caring or well-defended that groove may be.

    I always thought the American humorist Will Rogers had it right when he said, "There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

    So ... keep your eyes skinned, grab your rabbit's foot, put one foot in front of the other, and keep on keepin' on.

    silverVastmindShoshinlobster
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    That was very well written, @lobster. I enjoyed it.

    ...and @SpinyNorman said "I agree, but could you give some specific examples of the robotic and cultist practices you are complaining about in a Buddhist context?"

    I say, aww, c'mon, spiny! Use yer imagination. ;)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    This seems to be one of Lobsters pet straw-men, that's why I asked for examples.

    silver
  • Herd mentality as used by sheep: o:)

    • We are not flocking we just following woolly thinking to the next grazing ...
    • A little is good, a lot must be better. Applied to grass, mantra, sutra and meditation ... and chocolate cake ...
    • I like it therefore it must be good. Applied in the same way
    • If the Buddha said it, by definition it must be true (note 'it's in the Bible', 'in the Koran' for similar herding mentality)
    • My teacher was my choice and therefore is useful because I am discerning and genuine.
    • All teachers are useful
    • All students wish to learn.
    • 'I feel very deeply. My strong opinion is. I am certain that [insert certainty]'

    etc etc Baa Baa Blaah

    Making a cup of tea can be an act of mindfulness. If watching the tea ceremony of Zen and misunderstanding or not understanding what is going on, one may conclude tea 'wakes one up', therefore drinking tea is the way to enlightenment ...
    Baa

    Does repeating words becomes a substitute for required action? Individuals repeat Christian prayers, Muslim prayers, mantras for years without any discernible dependent change but claiming all kinds of benefits. Engaging in these practices in the right way requires instruction and adjustment and understanding of techniques.
    Baa

    Another example is the mindful hunter or mindful soldier. By practicing mindfulness they may become more efficient at killing. So in this case an understanding and awareness of the implications of actions may be a requisite. Unless of course hunters are required for food and soldiers for protection in which case the lessons on morality are counter productive. Violence is always bad until one is invaded or dies of malnutrition.
    Baa - eat no sheep - Baa humbug ;)

    Until we start examining the assumptions behind our practices and herd mentality we might just remember to bleat ...

    ... and now back to the rounding up of the herd ...

    Shimsilver0student0Invincible_summer
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said: Until we start examining the assumptions behind our practices and herd mentality we might just remember to bleat ...

    It might be better to examine the assumptions behind the opinions we cling to.

    lobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Here's an example for the crustacean:

    I went to public school in the U.S. decades ago. I don't know if this specific example applies elsewhere, or in other countries, or even now in the U.S.

    We said The Pledge, the whole class in teacher-led unison, every single morning. I doubt there is any law requiring it. It certainly serves no intentional purpose (and unintentionally prepared me for future bureaucratic idiocy).

    What would happen if this useless ritual were summarily discontinued?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @lobster said:..therefore drinking tea is the way to enlightenment ...

    Oh yus, nuffink like a nice cup of Rosy Lee, that's why us cockneys are so bleedin' enlightened.

    Walkersilverlobster
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited August 2015

    @Steve_B said "We said The Pledge, the whole class in teacher-led unison, every single morning. I doubt there is any law requiring it. It certainly serves no intentional purpose (and unintentionally prepared me for future bureaucratic idiocy).

    What would happen if this useless ritual were summarily discontinued?"

    How unpatriotic (un-sheep-like) of you, Steve! ;)

    Thing is, we all know that this kind of thing stirs up the emotions, and as recently as Yesterday was singing along to ancient Beatles songs on radio and/or cd, and I was rather proud (chuffed - heh) as I remembered most of the lyrics without stress or strain and I had the sentiment that what songs I sang along with to the vinyl discs* in our basement/rumpus room were our hymns- true story!

    *whoah.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Yeah, Beatles music does that to me too. So do Beethoven piano sonatas.

    But opening every SINGLE corporate meeting, including finance reviews, with a Safety Moment is as stupid as saying The Pledge.

    "And also with you" keeps me out of church, for the same reason.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I'm a sheep. I like to think of myself as the black sheep though.... ;) rebel with several causes....

    lobstersilverLionduck
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Dakini said: OP, I think anything can be subverted to cultish tendencies, attracting sheeple.

    Yes, and it's made worse by woolly thinking and going out on a lamb ( sorry, limb ).

    Invincible_summer
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran
    edited August 2015

    Gov'ments and bureaucracies as well as tyrants of all ilk, love sheep. "Baaaah,! Follow the goat, he knows the way!" They don't like fedrica style sheep though. Oh, they're fond of sheep dogs as well, so long as the dogs are theirs. That seems why the "raht wing" is so bent on preventing people from getting real educations. Keep 'em dumb (ignorant), feed 'em the same lies over and over and they will follow and follow right off the cliff.

    Walker
  • I did hear Buddhism is difficult for sheeple as they are so used to being following the dictates of others. Self-empowerment seems to scare them. :3 It's that transition that is so hard foe them, I'm told. >:) That said, some do make the transition and lead much better baalanced life. :)

    Peace to all

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Martin Luther King, Jr., allegedly said, "It's not what's wrong with the world that scares people. What really scares them is that everything is all right."

    0student0lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2015

    Thanks @roots for sharing that B)

    I feel there is a huge mass of indoctrinated, barely understood spirituality/dharma/religion always present.

    We are in a sense always behind a potential deeper unfolding. That unfolding comes about through as you suggest a deeper involvement, study, explanation and practice. Initially most of us, I know I was, are attracted or repulsed by completely irrelevant aspects and presentations.

    I remember coming back to Christian doctine after Buddhist study and realising there were jewels of wisdom present, almost completely ignored or glibly acknowledged without any focus and attention.

    ... and now back to the shepherding ...

    roots
  • @lobster said:

    I remember coming back to Christian doctine after Buddhist study and realising there were jewels of wisdom present, almost completely ignored or glibly acknowledged without any focus and attention.

    ... and now back to the shepherding ...

    Yeah, I think there's a lot of truth to be gleaned from Christianity. I can appreciate that now. Hopefully I can be an example in my own life to those who, in the past, presented the teachings to me in a literalist, fundamental fashion. But it's sure not easy being an apostate!

    Steve_Brootslobster
  • @Walker said:
    But it's sure not easy being an apostate!

    Lobster Tip:
    Get on cross. Hammer in first hand ... then ...
    'excuse me would you be kind enough to finish hammering me in' o:)

    WalkerInvincible_summer
  • Jesus and his follower can be two different people.

  • @lobster said:
    Get on cross. Hammer in first hand ... then ...
    'excuse me would you be kind enough to finish hammering me in' o:)

    You asked for this one: Would you kindly cross your ankles as we only have three nails. >:) [Yes, it was a sick and stale one, even back in Sunday School]

    Back to the thread, or not:

    All the major and a lot of the minor religions and philosophies have beautiful gems. But, as @roots brought out, albeit indirectly, they get missed by the sheeple. The sheeple may see them, even pick them up and appear to examine them, but they tend to toss the gems aside as mere rocks, blind to what they see... Even Buddhism, a religion of peace, can be twisted into something ugly and barely recognizable, if recognizable at all, by unscrupulous or sick individuals attempting turn everything into an Orwellian doublespeak or worse.
    That is one reason it is always important to question with an open mind and a clear escape route. Fanatic are known to be real testy. O.o

    Enough of this prattle! Where's my coffee?

  • OH! That's where I left it! Thanks. <3

    rootslobsterWalker
  • Cyber coffee.

    We haz caffeine! ;)

  • God sorry about that post. I wrote it on the bus. It reads like a sunday sermon.

    silverlobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Praise the Lord!

  • ...and pass the coffee!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    wot....no doughnutz....?!

  • @federica said:
    wot....no doughnutz....?!

    Of course! Or coffee cakes or cookies or...even Chocolate. B)
    All in moderation, of course. o:)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    All effective and tempting diets for the sheep who succumb to the advertising temptations of the big food giants who feed us fast-food rubbish and perpetuate the general trend towards obesity.

    Who ever heard of 'Moderation' in KFC/McDonald's....?

  • Oh yes, some people (or sheeple) do consider KFC/McDonalds, etc., as food.

    Home cooking is the best, even for (especially for) the omnivores and carnivores.
    But the latter still have a tough time with moderation. [Sorry, but cutting back to two 36oz steaks and a twelve-pack is not "moderation".]

    With the crew at this house, dining can be quite eclectic. Try tofu, seaweed, rice, scallions, and teriyaki chicken with a spicy hot bean, veggie & glass noodle soup. The only thing missing was the kimche.

    Peace to all

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I LOVE Kimchi! Natch, I always make my own.....! (And I vary the recipes slightly... I'm no sheep I donn' follow da trendz....)

  • There is a McDonalds Kimchi burger as well but I couldn't find a credible English resource.

    Invincible_summer
  • @federica said:
    All effective and tempting diets for the sheep who succumb to the advertising temptations of the big food giants who feed us fast-food rubbish and perpetuate the general trend towards obesity.

    Who ever heard of 'Moderation' in KFC/McDonald's....?

    Indeed.
    Just watched 'That Sugar Film' a documentary about sugar. I am aware of the info but a useful reminder.

    Many of us may be addled sugar candy flossed sheeple. What a dramatic effect going onto real food can have on our weight, well being and mentation.

    Do beginner Buddhists have problem meditating because they are addicted to a sweet lifestyle? No pain - ever?

    Invincible_summer
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    To address the topic in general, I do think that Buddhists should be held to a slightly higher level of scrutiny when it comes to sheep-ing.

    Why? Well, Buddha's teachings and Buddhist meditation practices are all about discernment, effort, and thus doing/saying the right thing and the right time to the right people. There is a vein of critical thinking and adaptability that runs very deep in the Buddhadharma.

    I don't think idly or literally following whatever your teacher or tradition says is part of the spirit of Buddhism.

    Unfortunately, this more secular, rationalist view can come across as "Western rational cultural imperialism," especially when most of the "irrational" or "sheep-like" practices and groups tend to be non-Western. People who literally believe in the Pure Lands, or those who examine dead monks for crystals, or those who only do things for "merit," for instance.

    However, I think the more secular, rationalist, critical view is one that Buddhism promotes throughout its practices and teachings. Even the "core" of the 4NT, 8FP, and paramitas are all about changing qualities in the here and now, and critically evaluating things based on these teachings. They are all testable and verifiable.

    The sheeple, cultish, illogical practices tend not to be.

    @Walker said:
    Yeah, I think there's a lot of truth to be gleaned from Christianity.

    I don't think there's any teaching that is unique to Christianity that is useful to modern human life.

    @lobster said:
    Do beginner Buddhists have problem meditating because they are addicted to a sweet lifestyle? No pain - ever?

    I do tend to agree with you. Perhaps it's not so much that they have "no pain" (as we know, dukkha is everywhere), but that beginners aren't so used to the idea of confronting the pain as it is, versus ruminating on it or trying to solve it. Of course, experienced practitioners fall prey to the same thing now and again, but it's definitely something that I can say from experience that beginners fall into.

    lobster
  • @Invincible_summer said:

    Why? Well, Buddha's teachings and Buddhist meditation practices are all about discernment, effort, and thus doing/saying the right thing and the right time to the right people. There is a vein of critical thinking and adaptability that runs very deep in the Buddhadharma.

    <3

    I think so too.

    For me developing those critically independent faculties allows us not to be swept into social conformity. We can by being aware of the inclination to herd, also make use of the tendency, for example by using a social meditation app ...

    https://insighttimer.com

    or by joining a sangha or other beneficial inspiring group.

    Invincible_summer
  • A Great part of Buddhism is About thinking for yourself. Jezus, Buddha, mohammed, etc. They all say the same thing: be kind and stop being a fool.

    Why they all the same thing but with different words?

    For there is only one truth. The truth that arrises in silence, when meditating, praying, chanting etc.

    Some call it god, others dharma, others Allah, Shiva etc. But that's mainly an effect of demographics and cultural conditioning.

    ITS easy to become a sheep if you follow someone. We All follow at least someone , so i'm of grazing.

  • ZendoLord84ZendoLord84 Veteran
    edited November 2015

    A Great part of Buddhism is About thinking for yourself. Jezus, Buddha, mohammed, etc. They all say the same thing: be kind and stop being a fool.

    Why they all say the same thing but with different words?

    For there is only one truth. The truth that arrises in silence, when meditating, praying, chanting etc.

    Some call it god, others dharma, others Allah, Shiva etc. But that's mainly an effect of demographics and cultural conditioning.

    ITS easy to become a sheep if you follow someone. We All follow at least someone , so i'm of grazing.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2015

    Wrong thread? Too late for halloween?

    @iamthezenmaster almost said:
    so I'm off grazing.

    <3 Thanks guys. Fellow lambs,

    In a context of social grazing, my dharma is better than yours, bow to lama etc I feel it is important to be a lamb in sheeps clothing and not a lone wolf.

    As others have said there is great benefit in solidarity. In a sense we gather here for skilful reinforcement of our better wool. o:)

    This is a safe dharma grazing zone.

    Lionduck
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