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Religion, buddhism and ethics

KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest?Europe Veteran
edited December 2016 in Faith & Religion

I've been reading about the connection between religion and ethics, and I came across this quote by HHDL:

All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 10 September 2012

Now Buddhism is big on ethics, sila is a prominent part of the Noble Eightfold Path, but other religions put a less determined emphasis on it. What do you think a non-religious ethics should be like? How should it be folded into different religions?

lobster
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Comments

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    If anyone is interested Crash Course - Philosophy has been covering ethics recently and has gone over several different approaches. This is just the first of several.

    KeromeDhammaDragon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    What do you think a non-religious ethics should be like? How should it be folded into different religions?

    That is a big question and would require some sort of interreligious group that could not be so attached to their own religion. As HHDL says there are lots of commonalities between religions, but maybe a place to start would be to look at the science and see what types of behaviors and attitudes lead to more happiness and a prosocial life.

    KeromeAkashadhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Reading between the lines at other things he has said over his life, I think HHDL's point is that each of us needs to delve into ourselves and find our morality and ethics within. And that if we all did so earnestly everyone would be better off. And in doing so, when we find the moral code for us, we live it. We don't try to force anyone/everyone else to live it. Too many people think morals come from somewhere else. They all come from within us, and when we read religious texts they are nothing more than other people who figured out how to put their experience into words. The same capability lies within us all.

    Using religion just puts up more borders. We take what we perceive and experience and say it must apply to everyone. We cannot. Everyone has their path, including those who do bad things and have bad things done to them. In the end, we can only control ourselves and trying to control others with our moral compass only leads to problems.

    I would bet that the quote is from one of HHDLs books that centers on that vary topic. Such as "Beyond Religion." I have not been able to keep my attention on his writing, so I have not read it. But I would suspect he has ideas of how that can be achieved. I'd be curious what he has said, if others have read that book or others and can shine a light.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    @karasti said:
    Everyone has their path, including those who do bad things and have bad things done to them. In the end, we can only control ourselves and trying to control others with our moral compass only leads to problems.

    Perhaps, but often a religious moral compass is taught at a fairly young age. If you look at those who are taught by Islamic extremists they inherit certain violent attitudes towards women, infidels and heretics which they may not naturally ever have developed if they had just been taught the Golden Rule which seems to be the basis of much ethical thought.

    I don't think we can so easily get away from religion's formative influence on a large portion of the world population. Many westerners who end up with Buddhism as a preferred direction are already highly moral people, and have made their own choices in life and can be relied upon to walk their own paths, but I think that is true for only a small percentage of the world population.

    So would it not be useful if all religions accepted a change to their beliefs, to follow a stricter, more universalist and egalitarian moral code? Aside from HHDL's point that ethics needs to be more widely embraced and taught beyond religion as well.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    There are a lot of ideal things that would be more useful to humanity and the planet. But we have to be realistic about what we can actually accomplish. It doesn't do much good to spend a lot of time pondering what would happen if all the world religions made a decision to change their beliefs. Because it simply won't happen.

    Why do Islamic extremists exist on the level they do today? A lot of it is the result of aggression by other parts of the world insistent on foisting their beliefs on other countries. Now, I'm not saying I think we should stand by and do nothing while women are murdered by their husbands and children are married off to old men etc. But the way we have been going about trying to get them to cooperate is obviously not working and is only increasing their aggression and fanatacism. Sitting at home and daydreaming about what the world would be like if they decided to see things our way really does absolutely no good whatsoever. As the saying goes, do what you can, and let the rest go. There literally is no other option.

    The "Golden Rule" has its faults. For example, this is a good read
    https://philosophynow.org/issues/74/The_Golden_Rule_Not_So_Golden_Anymore
    Treating others the way we want to be treated is really a basis in us thinking our way is the best way. This does not work unless people are already living on a moral high ground and those that think they are, almost always have it wrong in some way or another.

    person
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    You said it yourself, @Kerome: the problem is that sometimes people cannot see beyond the morals of their dogma of choice.
    A person who has been brought up believing violence against women is natural, or that people who don't believe in gods go to hell, has a very uphill path rewiring the original indoctrination.
    It's not easy to persuade people who are very religious to accept that other religions might be acceptable too, or the ethics behind them have points in common with their own.
    If it were that easy, people would have ditched religions ages ago.

    dhammachickSteve_B
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Well, if we were to sit HHDL in a room with the Islamic Sheikhs, the Pope, some leading Talmudic scholars, and a few Hindu authorities and maybe TNH to mediate, who knows what could happen? One has to stay optimistic :)

    Although I suspect HHDL's point from the quote was more about moving the debate around spirituality and ethics beyond the bounds of religion altogether. I'm not sure if many people are ready for that discussion... perhaps Stephen Batchelor, Sam Harris and a few friends.

    The "Golden Rule" has its faults. For example, this is a good read

    The article was interesting, though I'd debate the author's understanding of the depth of the Golden Rule. In the form "do as you wish to be done by" it encourages the reader to do unto every other the very best that you can imagine for yourself. It's hard to conceive a higher standard than that.

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    But not everyone lives by the same high standards. Someone who grew up in Trump Land with servants and every whim met doesn't even likely have a clue what it means to give of themselves, truly, for someone else. It doesn't occur to them to do right by others because they don't know what it means. Likewise for extremists and terrorists. Their actions are doing the highest good, because their perception of the world is skewed. We could turn and ask them "Would you want someone else to blow up your family over their crazy views?" And they'd likely come back with "They already did."

    I always liked what Trungpa said about it. That everyone loves something, even if it's just curries or burritos. And that is something we can start with and work with. But right now, the world is in the state it is in because people don't know how to love themselves. We can hardly expect them to put their highest truth out to the world and humanity when they don't even know it for themselves.

    Kerome
  • @karasti said:
    Someone who grew up in Trump Land with servants and every whim met doesn't even likely have a clue what it means to give of themselves, truly, for someone else. It doesn't occur to them to do right by others because they don't know what it means.

    Isn't that how the Buddha started life?

    karastilobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Tiddlywinds Of course. But most of them are too comfortable in their lives to wonder about such things. Not all of them, of course. But most.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Exactly! Which is why we need to make every effort to ensure they have a nice cushy religious nest full of healthy ethics to chew on, before they wander off and cause havoc. o:)

  • @Kerome, given that we don't know who is on this blog (e.g. the exciting interaction between the leader and attendee of the Pentagon meditation group), who's to say that someone who was born in that world isn't a regular contributor of this blog.

    Given the interesting comments @lobster makes, maybe he's one of them? Or perhaps it's you Kerome? Would anyone else like to admit to such heresy on this blog?

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I've long suspected that @lobster is CIA-trained in disinformation techniques, but I can't say anything about my own connections, given that their nefarious plans for world domination are not yet ripe :o

    karastilobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    In the world of fantasy, I wonder what people would do it religion just disappeared. In time we'd just create more, of course. But would we really not know what to do without someone else to tell us? That's crazy to me, but seems to be what so many think. No one needs someone else to tell them how to behave.

    Steve_B
  • smarinosmarino florida Explorer
    edited December 2016

    Obviously the eight fold path is about as good as you are going to get, and is not in conflict w/ any existing religions.

    Ethics aren't the problem, it's all these god based religions that accept only THEIR god as authentic, and if your god is not that god, well then you're wrong. This has been the story behind every religious conflict since the beginning of time. Of course, Buddhist do something similar in their disagreements between lineages, but it's not at all the same. Someone that may be Pure Land can sit down and have a conversation w/ a Tibetan or a Zen person and everything should proceed just fine. But sit someone of the Judaic faith, a Muslim, a Babtist, and a Pentecostal in the same room and watch out.

    It is not fixable as long as people are attached to their version of what god may or may not be. Spiritual disciplines are one thing, religions are another. I am not a fan of religions because they are inherently dogmatic and club like. Clubs exist mainly to keep certain people out, not keep people in. The very, very strange thing is, and it's almost inconceivable when you sit down and think about it, is that none of these god based religions can actually produce their god as proof of anything, it's all just stuff in books. No one can take you by the hand and say, see, there he/she/it is, say hi and have a little chat. It's all a big swindle in that regard. That's really the world of fantasy.

    Steve_B
  • Appearing to be ethical, moral, humane, decent, kind, well meaning is easy for psychopaths, trumpettes, salesmen, politicians, fraudsters, the drug addled, self deluded and generation-selfie.

    That is why we follow through choice, sangha, exemplars, role models, our personal ideals.

    My ideal is to be kind, decent and better than the below average billionaire tax avoider. One small leap for cructacean kind, one giant leap for a better world ...

    KeromeDhammaDragon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I don't think the answer is to try to change the religions, I think the better approach is to just come up with a different ethical approach along the philosophical lines presented in the videos I linked earlier.

    The attitudes of Christians have changed over the past few centuries not because people got them to change their doctrines but because philosophers came up with new ideas that took hold broadly within Christian societies.

    Certainly there will be push back from the morals and ethics only come from God crowd, but if an ethics outside of religion can back up its approach with empirical science I think that would have sufficient power to change minds.

    lobsterDhammaDragonKerome
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I did like the video, but I think there is a problem with finding an audience. Few people read philosophy or even watch it on short YouTube videos, and I'll admit I was shocked by the US election result, I think few people realise what it means - basically around half the population is sleepwalking or incapable of logical thought. So I think to really get people to take it in requires some more palatable delivery mechanism.

    It's a pity that Hollywood and TV have for years devolved into teaching that ethics = heroism, by showing all kinds of heroes who take one big decision to do what's right, while at the same time providing so many examples of people who can't be bothered to live an ethical life.

    At least changing what the religions teach would give the next generation of religious people a chance to get it right. And even that would be a tremendous achievement, what leader in history has ever managed to create a sea change in his people's thinking? More often leaders are moved by the thinking of their people, and the true thought leaders among the masses remain invisible.

  • @Kerome,

    It's a pity that Hollywood and TV have for years devolved into teaching that ethics = heroism, by showing all kinds of heroes who take one big decision to do what's right, while at the same time providing so many examples of people who can't be bothered to live an ethical life.

    What I notice reading American literature is that there's often a single person who wins against the odds and on his or her own. I'm guessing that Hollywood has taken a cultural norm and made it popular. Trump appears to personify this ideology.

    @smarino

    Of course, Buddhist do something similar in their disagreements between lineages, but it's not at all the same. Someone that may be Pure Land can sit down and have a conversation w/ a Tibetan or a Zen person and everything should proceed just fine. But sit someone of the Judaic faith, a Muslim, a Babtist, and a Pentecostal in the same room and watch out.

    They may be able to but the list of assassinations and power plays within Buddhist communities might show a different story. There are Theravadin monks terrorising the Muslims today. I've been to a couple of talks by well-researched scholars who question some of the notions of why Buddhism faded in Tibet a few times, eg, in the 7th Century there was a king who is said to be anti-Buddhist and so he killed off Buddhism with the help of the Bon people. Turns out that it's more likely to have been an assassination by other Buddhist factions. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I did like the video, but I think there is a problem with finding an audience. Few people read philosophy or even watch it on short YouTube videos, and I'll admit I was shocked by the US election result, I think few people realise what it means - basically around half the population is sleepwalking or incapable of logical thought. So I think to really get people to take it in requires some more palatable delivery mechanism.

    I'm not sure that's how it works. I don't imagine lots of people studying up on philosophy and changing their view. I imagine philosophical and religious thinkers coming up with a digestible ethical system that then maybe gets implemented in a few school programs, finds success and maybe more pick it up. Some talking heads or entertainment producers incorporate it into some of their stuff and it slowly gains traction. Then in a couple or more generations it has more widespread acceptance.

    I wouldn't hold your breath thinking there will be some sort of grand committee that will come out with a new document that shines white light and sprinkles stardust on everyone or a new prophet that the religions accept as delivering the new revelation.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2016

    I iz so bad at being good. My 'beginner mind' is so abnormal I even got banned from an online zen forum - not the first time. O.o

    ... and I was so kind to them. What are the objective standards for ethical behavour?

    Keromeupekka
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I know the administrator and moderators from that group very well, @lobster!!
    We are even friends on Facebook and Instagram.

    What on Earth have you done to get banned from there????

  • ^^. Probably asked a question they could not answer in a way that is not suitable for beginners. o:)

    I iz bad beginner! Maybe they have rules to keep out the mindless? Who knows ... Seems it was a while back and I just tried to join, only to find I was a heretic already ... ah well ...

    upekka
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    The problem with coming up with any kind of centralized moral system, even the truly very best one we could all imagine, is that then it gets a label. We can't create it, teach it, set it up in schools/work places, without naming it. As soon as something get a name, it's all downhill from there. Someone will misunderstand something. Someone else will get up set about it and defend the Named Moral System because of it. And fighting will ensue. Anytime something is systematically named, it is immediately set up to be defended.

    Religion is mostly really about looking for answers we can accept to unanswerable questions. Everyone has a spot within that vast spectrum of questions that they feel most comfortable, and that is where we set up shop. For every human to end up in the same spot on which they base their morals, we would have to have the same experiences in life. It'll never happen. It should be the other way around, but it's not. Most religions' focus is What happens when we die? And how can I control that for the best possible outcome? Buddhism isn't really any different. And in naming the set of beliefs surrounding that question, plenty of people have died defending it. They will continue to. And it is the same within any named belief set whether you call it a religion or not.

    Steve_B
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Religion, buddhism and ethics

    With the middle way (8FP) as ones guideline "If it feels 'right' then do it.. and if it does 'not' then don't"

    Either way it will all come out in the karmic wash....

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Deleted. Too much misunderstanding on threads atm, so better safe than sorry

    DhammaDragon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Shoshin I dislike that saying because it only works if a person is operating from their true nature/open heart/Buddhanature. Too many people new to Buddhism won't understand the difference and operating based on what feels right is nothing more than a Samsaric-driven pleasure trip in that case. It's why our society in the US is in the state it's in, because people think pleasure is how you know when something "feels right".

    dhammachick
  • @karasti, it's interesting what you say.

    I read in one of Pema Chodron's interviews that what she likes so much about Dzigar Kongtrul is that he could see straight through her smoozy trip and see how her ego was playing out. 'He's still messing with my mind' is the way she wrote it.

    Seems that it's about finding the line between a) how to gratify the ego and seeing that it's the ego that's playing tricks and b) finding a way that softens the ego's grip - it's so hard to see the difference sometimes as the ego is surely a tricky animal!

    For instance, it's good to give, but if the giving is about being seen to give, it's actually receiving (ego). Giving without seeking return is truly giving.
    I always thought I was giving but now I have the feeling a lot of it was about trying to make the other person like me. I would never have thought that about me before but the more I go into the dharma the more it seems that there's this streak being revealed.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I get it... the Dhamma-mirror doesn't always give a great reflection back, does it...?

    lobster
  • @federica. Yeah, it's a bit 'orrible sometimes. It's like having a giant notice above my head that everyone else can see but me!

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Ethical guidelines seems like it should be common sense. I mean that literally as in empathy.

    If one lacks morality, they need to learn empathy, not religious dogma.

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

    @David said:
    Ethical guidelines seems like it should be common sense. I mean that literally as in empathy.

    If one lacks morality, they need to learn empathy, not religious dogma.

    Yes, sometimes they seem to match up pretty well...sometimes not at all.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @karasti said:
    @Shoshin I dislike that saying because it only works if a person is operating from their true nature/open heart/Buddhanature. Too many people new to Buddhism won't understand the difference and operating based on what feels right is nothing more than a Samsaric-driven pleasure trip in that case. It's why our society in the US is in the state it's in, because people think pleasure is how you know when something "feels right".

    I take your point ...However... One tends to learn from ones mistakes @karasti ... and if they don't, this too is also/eventually a lesson learnt....

    With the middle way (8FP) as ones guideline "If it feels 'right' then do it.. and if it does 'not' then don't"

    New to Buddhism or a long time practitioner... It matters not...it will all come out in the karmic wash...and this is where the lessons are learnt :) (bearing in mind one is following the 8FP )

    One does not learn by not doing things for fear of getting them wrong....

    Sadly I feel at times, people 'think' too much, (over intellectualise) and in doing so, can miss the opportunity to benefit those in need...(I'm only talking about when one debates whether or not to do something to help others, because they 'think' their ego is only doing it for ego sake-and even if this was the case then perhaps one can fake it until they make it this way those in need are helped regardless of whether the ego did it for ego's sake...Besides it is ones ego that give the aggregates a boost in the "right" direction-the amount of ego needed is just enough to stop one from walking in front of a bus :) )...

    A Buddhist friend once told me what her Dharma instructor said to her group...

    Beware of unhappy Buddhists...They are not really practising, they're just being intellectual

    And this I have found is often the case...

    The Dharma

    silverdhammachicklobster
  • @Tiddlywinds said:
    @federica. Yeah, it's a bit 'orrible sometimes. It's like having a giant notice above my head that everyone else can see but me!

    Tee hee!
    It is easier to see others faults and good qualities rather than our own. That is why we welcome those participating in friendly companionship and sharing.

    In seeing ourselves in and through others we gain insight.

    Iz plan!

    federicaKerome
  • @lobster said:

    Iz plan!

    don't you think it is time to stop 'Iz plan' but be Here n' Now :p

    Tiddlywinds
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I wouldn't necessarily agree... It wasn't actually raining when Noah built his ark....

    dhammachick
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @karasti said:
    In the world of fantasy, I wonder what people would do it religion just disappeared.

    Indeed.
    Imagine.

    federicakarasti
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    New to Buddhism or a long time practitioner... It matters not...it will all come out in the karmic wash...and this is where the lessons are learnt :) (bearing in mind one is following the 8FP )

    I'm not sure if karma does in fact teach ethical lessons... between lives you lose your memory after all. So a sequence of lives will create first one set of karmic deposits, then correct for those, and create another set of karmic deposits. What is it exactly that is learning?

    Ethics within one lifetime can be greatly satisfying, but I feel that it is mostly as an expression of the underlying love that we are all heir to. I think it's no mistake that babies smile such a lot, they are still close to that moment of coming into being where we feel that universal love. Ethics can be a way of cultivating that love, but it can also be a dry-as-dust ruleset.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Steve_B said:

    @karasti said:
    In the world of fantasy, I wonder what people would do it religion just disappeared.

    Indeed.
    Imagine.

    Got it, John.... ;)

    karasti
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited December 2016

    I'm not sure if karma does in fact teach ethical lessons... between lives you lose your memory after all. So a sequence of lives will create first one set of karmic deposits, then correct for those, and create another set of karmic deposits. What is it exactly that is learning?

    Karma & rebirth are happening moment to moment and not just life time to life time as in the conventional sense....

    Ethical lessons can be found in karmic patterns/sequence of events...

    Karma's not teaching a lesson @Kerome ...Karma is just action cause condition effect

    And we are nothing more than karmic bundles of energy flux ... aggregates in motion being reborn moment to moment ...(in our case "clinging aggregates")

    However it's ones gradual experiential understanding (a state of awareness) of karma's workings that teaches us ie, we are "self" taught so to speak...

    So in a sense you're right...Karma does not teach ethical lessons...But we (karmic bundles of energy flux) learn from karmic patterns of events, "skillful means" which arise through awareness and ongoing experience :)

    Well that's my theory and I'm 'clinging' to it....... for dear life :winky:

    federicalobsterDhammaDragon
  • Well said @Shoshin
    Not previous life fantasies or promises of future ethic based rewards but where are we, what do we do ...

    Can we be kind now? Can we be mindful? Can we be wise (or at least less trivial)? Can we be helpful, responsible, honourable - (I am trying to work up to 'decent') ...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    But if you change what you do because of karma's action,

    "Karma" isn't an energy, it's a process. Karma does nothing. You 'do'. Karma is what you do, not what some outside force does.

    aren't you either avoiding future 'punishment' or working towards future 'reward'?

    No. You are working in the Present. That's why you are Mindful. Because it's what you do right now, that counts. You actually cannot guarantee from one moment to the next that there will be a future.

    There is no 'punishment' or 'reward'. As the saying goes, you are punished BY your sins, not FOR them. In other words, the resulting effect is immediate, pretty much most of the time.

    In a way absolute neutrality, being what you are, seems inevitable once you eliminate greed and aversion, two of the three poisons.

    I don't actually understand your point here, or why you've not referred to the Third Poison....?

    Similarly I have some trouble with bodhicitta, awakening the enlightenment mind that seeks for the enlightenment of all beings. That too seems driven by a intense desire, a life awakening passion,

    Correct. A benevolent, Compassionate Desire to support humanity with a balance of Metta and Wisdom...

    and many teachers say to drop your passions.

    Only if they hinder your progress. Usain Bolt would be dumb to drop his passion mid-race.... right?

    It seems to be a question of many rafts to cross many rivers, and it is important the sequence in which you do these things.

    No, it's a conglomerate of things. You 'multi-task. The Eightfold Path is depicted as a wheel. Why? because it has no starting point or end. Any one spoke, no matter which one it is, can be number one, number 4 number six or seven....

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    No, it's a conglomerate of things. You 'multi-task. The Eightfold Path is depicted as a wheel. Why? because it has no starting point or end. Any one spoke, no matter which one it is, can be number one, number 4 number six or seven....

    I freaking <3 this!!!!!

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    One of the things I keep coming back to, as far as how to overcome any of our issues related to religion, or otherwise is to focus on what we have in common and not how we are different. I think that is a big problem. If you think about any friends you have who maybe aren't like you, isn't that what you do? Focus on what you do have in common and not the rest of it? If all the major religion heads got together to try to solve world problems, it seems likely that is what they would do, too. As Chogyam Trungpa said, and I think about often, "Everyone loves something, even if it's burritos." That is what we can work with.

    Last week I got in a dust up with someone. We were both rude. She is a Trump supporter. I am not. While things did not devolve into name calling or anything else, it wasn't a very pleasant conversation. It was still poking me like a thorn days later. So I apologized. I sent her a message and we chatted for a long time. She apologized as well. Mending fences. Always better than building walls. We will not see eye to eye in our politics, religion, or other things. But we have many things in common that we can work from to remain good neighbors. I've had that happen many times, where I am at odd with someone and then we realized what we have in common and those odds no longer seem so important. We have to start somewhere. Burritos it is.

    lobsterdhammachickperson
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    @federica said:

    But if you change what you do because of karma's action,

    "Karma" isn't an energy, it's a process. Karma does nothing. You 'do'. Karma is what you do, not what some outside force does.
    There is no 'punishment' or 'reward'. As the saying goes, you are punished BY your sins, not FOR them. In other words, the resulting effect is immediate, pretty much most of the time.

    That depends on which Buddhist school you listen to. The Tibetans hold that karma manifests as a form of deposit, as far as I have heard so far. Anyway the entire mechanism of karma definitely has an action, if you see it on a grand scale.

    In a way absolute neutrality, being what you are, seems inevitable once you eliminate greed and aversion, two of the three poisons.

    I don't actually understand your point here, or why you've not referred to the Third Poison....?

    Because greed and aversion are the push-and-pull which distort the choices we might make in true neutrality. Fixing Ignorance is merely an extension of our field of knowledge.

    It seems to be a question of many rafts to cross many rivers, and it is important the sequence in which you do these things.

    No, it's a conglomerate of things. You 'multi-task. The Eightfold Path is depicted as a wheel. Why? because it has no starting point or end. Any one spoke, no matter which one it is, can be number one, number 4 number six or seven....

    I wasn't referring to the N8FP, I was referring to many of the other sayings that you come across when perusing the works of Buddhist teachers, such as dropping passions. Some of them are appropriate at some stages, while others are not.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @federica said:

    But if you change what you do because of karma's action,

    "Karma" isn't an energy, it's a process. Karma does nothing. You 'do'. Karma is what you do, not what some outside force does.
    There is no 'punishment' or 'reward'. As the saying goes, you are punished BY your sins, not FOR them. In other words, the resulting effect is immediate, pretty much most of the time.

    That depends on which Buddhist school you listen to. The Tibetans hold that karma manifests as a form of deposit, as far as I have heard so far. Anyway the entire mechanism of karma definitely has an action, if you see it on a grand scale.

    Karma is Kamma, Kamma is Karma. Whichever school you adhere to, your action usually engenders immediate results. Your actions follow one after the other, and each action has a reaction, or result. So in a sense your Karma accumulates. Don't look at Karma on a 'Grand Scale'. All too often we can have no direct influence on it. The only karma that matters is your own. The only responsibility you have is to have actions that are both Mindful and skillful.
    What you do, matters to you.

    In a way absolute neutrality, being what you are, seems inevitable once you eliminate greed and aversion, two of the three poisons.

    I don't actually understand your point here, or why you've not referred to the Third Poison....?

    Because greed and aversion are the push-and-pull which distort the choices we might make in true neutrality. Fixing Ignorance is merely an extension of our field of knowledge.

    No, it isn't. If it was that simple, all schoolchildren would be geniuses. There are varying types of ignorance; ignorance because we don't know, and ignorance because we refuse to know, or see. Each type needs to be tackled differently. The first might well be fixable. The second is harder to tackle. THAT'S the one referred to as a 'Poison'.

    It seems to be a question of many rafts to cross many rivers, and it is important the sequence in which you do these things.

    No, it's a conglomerate of things. You 'multi-task. The Eightfold Path is depicted as a wheel. Why? because it has no starting point or end. Any one spoke, no matter which one it is, can be number one, number 4 number six or seven....

    I wasn't referring to the N8FP, I was referring to many of the other sayings that you come across when perusing the works of Buddhist teachers, such as dropping passions. Some of them are appropriate at some stages, while others are not.

    The fundamental basis of teachings in MOST Buddhist established traditions, IS the 8Fold Path. That is the root instruction.
    Buddhist teachers are merely expanding on different factors of the 8Fold Path. Every sutta discusses aspects and angles - of the 8Fold path.
    The 8Fold path is the foundation of all teachings.

    Dropping passions is attachment, which is the 3nd Noble Truth. The 4th Noble Truth - is the 8Fold Path.

    karasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    What @federica said. All of the foundation of Buddhism (4NT, N8FP) is wound within all the teachings. If you always keep that in mind, you can almost always find them. The teachings are ways of expanding on them, and explaining them in different ways so many different people can understand them. That is part of why so many sutras start with explaining where Buddha was and who he was addressing. My teacher is a Tibetan Vajrayana teacher, and it's rare we talk about either of those things in so many words. But they are very much present in everything we practice. There is just an understanding that you get that if you are going to work with that kind of teacher.

    I've never been taught, or heard (from several different Tibetan teachers) that karma works as a bank at all. You can't deposit a ton of good karma and then remove it if you misbehave. That isn't at all how they believe it works. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant about a deposit. Karma is simply the effect/consequence of our actions and thoughts, and that that is what stays with your stream of consciousness when you are reborn.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:

    @federica said:

    But if you change what you do because of karma's action,

    "Karma" isn't an energy, it's a process. Karma does nothing. You 'do'. Karma is what you do, not what some outside force does.
    There is no 'punishment' or 'reward'. As the saying goes, you are punished BY your sins, not FOR them. In other words, the resulting effect is immediate, pretty much most of the time.

    That depends on which Buddhist school you listen to. The Tibetans hold that karma manifests as a form of deposit, as far as I have heard so far. Anyway the entire mechanism of karma definitely has an action, if you see it on a grand scale.

    Karma is Kamma, Kamma is Karma. Whichever school you adhere to, your action usually engenders immediate results. Your actions follow one after the other, and each action has a reaction, or result. So in a sense your Karma accumulates. Don't look at Karma on a 'Grand Scale'. All too often we can have no direct influence on it. The only karma that matters is your own. The only responsibility you have is to have actions that are both Mindful and skillful.
    What you do, matters to you.

    I don't agree on the immediacy of things. Many actions have effects that reverberate for a long time, and continue to affect what you do for months and years. Yes it is true that you are punished by your sins - that much was obvious.

    In any case, I have found it useful to look at karma on a larger scale. It is interesting how people's actions affect them. In a way you need to take this view if you want to test some of the teachings.

    In a way absolute neutrality, being what you are, seems inevitable once you eliminate greed and aversion, two of the three poisons.

    I don't actually understand your point here, or why you've not referred to the Third Poison....?

    Because greed and aversion are the push-and-pull which distort the choices we might make in true neutrality. Fixing Ignorance is merely an extension of our field of knowledge.

    No, it isn't. If it was that simple, all schoolchildren would be geniuses. There are varying types of ignorance; ignorance because we don't know, and ignorance because we refuse to know, or see. Each type needs to be tackled differently. The first might well be fixable. The second is harder to tackle. THAT'S the one referred to as a 'Poison'.

    Interesting. Have you got a Sutra to illustrate your view, perhaps?

    It seems to be a question of many rafts to cross many rivers, and it is important the sequence in which you do these things.

    No, it's a conglomerate of things. You 'multi-task. The Eightfold Path is depicted as a wheel. Why? because it has no starting point or end. Any one spoke, no matter which one it is, can be number one, number 4 number six or seven....

    I wasn't referring to the N8FP, I was referring to many of the other sayings that you come across when perusing the works of Buddhist teachers, such as dropping passions. Some of them are appropriate at some stages, while others are not.

    The fundamental basis of teachings in MOST Buddhist established traditions, IS the 8Fold Path. That is the root instruction.
    Buddhist teachers are merely expanding on different factors of the 8Fold Path. Every sutta discusses aspects and angles - of the 8Fold path.
    The 8Fold path is the foundation of all teachings.

    Dropping passions is attachment, which is the 3nd Noble Truth. The 4th Noble Truth - is the 8Fold Path.

    Thanks, I was aware of the link between the 4NT and the 8FP. But I disagree that teachers are just expanding on these particular teachings. If you look for example at the teachings as manifestations of the Three Dharma Seals, impermanence, nonself and nirvana, there are huge aspects of these which are discussed in many other sutra's, and do not manifest in the 4NT or N8FP. It is an oversimplification to say that the 8FP is foundation of all.

    Dropping passions is not the same as dropping attachment. Passion can be fired up in a person without a form of attachment - think for example of enthusiasm, which can result from a sudden internal revelation. That is a form of passion.

    The third noble truth, in my understanding, talks more about clinging as a form of attachment than passion.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Kerome but you are dragging modern language translation into historic texts. We might mean "passions" in the way you say, but that is not how it is translated everywhere. The same as some people think passion is only a sexual thing. Just because we adopt one definition doesn't mean it carries through everyone and everything else. In such teachings, passion IS clinging, largely because of translation.

    dhammachicklobster
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited December 2016

    Then surely that is the translation's problem? The language is the language, and the English dictionary has not changed that much in a hundred years. Language is important.

    But I have seen plenty of translations where the mistake is avoided. So when I see an admonishment in a text to "drop the passions", I assume at least the translator had a proper understanding of the language and choose not to say "drop the sensual passions". At which point the question arises, when should one let go of ones passions? Apparently the desire for enlightenment needs to be kept or even fostered... suddenly it is not so clear cut anymore, is it?

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