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Buddhist Ninja

I like Sam Harris. He is a Buddhist ninja and values meditation and science.
Was watching a talk of his, calling for a secular spirituality and value the insight and clarity ...

His emphasis on meditation. Excellent. Very grounded.

What is your estimation?

PS. The word Muslim can be replaced with Hindu, Buddhist or [insert opposition of choice]

ShoshinsilverBuddhadragonpersonSocair

Comments

  • Here is some pro dervish/Islamic ranting from me ...
    https://tinyurl.com/y8aaud79

    And now back to the Sam Harris Wake Up call :p
    https://samharris.org

    Socair
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran
    edited February 28

    @Shoshin said:
    On a more serious note ...I quite like Sam's philosophy, and have found my self agreeing with much of what he has to say... however he does have his pet-hate rants about Muslims, which can at times be somewhat off putting ....

    ... probably because Muslims have been too obviously vocal and reactionary in their display of intolerance towards divergence or disagreement of opinion...

    And please: I don't want this to come across as a rant against Muslims.
    I am impartially describing a fact which these later years has been hard to ignore.

  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer

    @DhammaDragon said:

    @Shoshin said:
    On a more serious note ...I quite like Sam's philosophy, and have found my self agreeing with much of what he has to say... however he does have his pet-hate rants about Muslims, which can at times be somewhat off putting ....

    ... probably because Muslims have been too obviously vocal and reactionary in their display of intolerance towards divergence or disagreement of opinion...

    And please: I don't want this to come across as a rant against Muslims.
    I am impartially describing a fact which these later years has been hard to ignore.

    It's true that they have been overall very vocal as a group, or groups within Islam especially the extremists compared to some other religions. I guess they have also been/portrayed as a threat to modern values (western) because of imcompatible cultural values.
    Ofc calling them out as a group has their problems..

    person
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    If you look at another person and see "Muslim" then you believe the label "Muslim" is that person. If you are a Muslim and look in the mirror and you see "Muslim" then you believe you are the label Muslim. Both are wrong view and lead to suffering.

    Same goes with "Democrat," "Republican," "Donald Trump," "Hillary Clinton."

    lobsterpersonShoshinadamcrossley
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited February 28

    Sam Harris has a great podcast, Waking Up With Sam Harris, for those who like to listen to them. He has long discussions with intelligent people on topics like moral philosophy, AI, consciousness, politics, religion. He calls what he does as thinking out loud, in public. It always makes me happy when they appear in my feed and usually get listened to pretty quickly.

    I think I'm with @Shoshin on his anti Muslim sentiment. He makes some good points about not tolerating intolerance and the dangers of irrational decision making. It seems to me he dismisses the role of politics or economic hardships in understanding extremist Muslim attitudes and behavior. Though, he is smarter and more informed than me so maybe he is right.

    Shoshinlobster
  • I would characterize that quote as fighting words. Before launching into my own tirade, I looked him up and promptly encountered a string of divisive statements toward Buddhist views misaligning with his. "To turn the Buddha into a religious fetish is to miss the essence of what he taught."; "the wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism."; and "most Buddhists worldwide practice it as [a religion], in many of the naive, petitionary, and superstitious ways in which all religions are practiced." These kinds of statements are demeaning caricatures of sincere beliefs and practices not regarded as “religious” by adherents, reveal a hostility toward them, and exhibit the same kind of belligerent fanaticism they deride. Instead of cultivating respect for differences, they belittle, demonize and sow division.

    This extends from the religious to the political. The OP quote comes from an article Sam Harris wrote faulting Muslims -- while also managing to lump in religion in general and anyone who tolerates it -- for demonstrating their opposition to a troll-of-a-short film denigrating the prophet Muhammad. In the current climate in the U.S., singling out Muslims for something all groups do and have, i.e., a breaking point, perpetuates a societal suppression of the free speech of American Muslims. For example, an American Muslim who shares with me a disagreement of any U.S. policy hostile to a predominantly Muslim country should, unlike me, keep their mouth shut, unless they want to be branded a terrorist sympathizer or even a terrorist by their fellow citizens and placed on any number of watchlists maintained by one of the world’s strongest secular governments. I have a dry sense of humor, so when Sam Harris says “the freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost”, I find it odd that what I don’t hear are the ironic laughs of millions of American Muslims afraid to speak their minds.

    I’m sure there are many other insightful and humbling things I could learn from him, but when it comes to the pot calling the kettle black, I’m confident in saying, “I got that covered. Thanks.”

    PS: @lobster, I sense you’ll need to make some room for me in the “naughty corner”. :p

    lobsterDavid
  • PS: @lobster, I sense you’ll need to make some room for me in the “naughty corner”. :p

    LOL
    I am not against religion but what is it? Faith? Booh! Prefer Gnosis. Superstition? Double-Booh, no thank you Truth Seekers ...

    I am reasonably ethical, not fanatical. I try to be kind - obviously. Being unkind is illness/unsatisfactory/dukkha ...
    I don't need religion, including Buddhism for:

    • Fantasy
    • Company
    • Super Heroes

    But ... I can and hopefully do make skilful use of yidam practice, mantra, meditation etc ...

    Sam Harris is just an approach/viewpoint. I agree with most of what he says. Something useful. Good. If not ... move along ...

    Iz plan.

    Socair
  • SocairSocair Veteran
    edited February 28

    @lobster you are a breath of fresh air. 👍💚👍💚👍

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @lobster said:

    But ... I can and hopefully do make skilful use of yidam practice, mantra, meditation etc ...

    I think the fact that mantra practice, for example, depends on belief that the mantra is purifying negative karma, collecting merit, you need to believe in it to get the benefit of it. That said, the deep principle of the practice may be something like setting your intention. Like, sure as I chant Medicine Buddha mantra I will believe Medicine Buddha is purifying my negative karma and gaining good karma and helping me clear negative imprints from past lives. Whether Medicine Buddha is actually helping me or not is besides the point. My intention is to make this practice accomplish these things and believe it will accomplish these things, and I feel I have powerful meditations when I do it. And at the very least, I'm generating concentration and setting the intention to do virtuous things in my life, so it's win-win. I'll take the bliss generated from the practice and use it to meditate on Emptiness.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    If you've got a spare hour or so this talk by Luang Por Sumedho is good on views and opinions, mind you the title says it all really.

    https://www.amaravati.org/audio/awareness-transcends-views-and-opinions/

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @JaySon said:

    @lobster said:

    But ... I can and hopefully do make skilful use of yidam practice, mantra, meditation etc ...

    I think the fact that mantra practice, for example, depends on belief that the mantra is purifying negative karma, collecting merit, you need to believe in it to get the benefit of it. That said, the deep principle of the practice may be something like setting your intention. Like, sure as I chant Medicine Buddha mantra I will believe Medicine Buddha is purifying my negative karma and gaining good karma and helping me clear negative imprints from past lives. Whether Medicine Buddha is actually helping me or not is besides the point. My intention is to make this practice accomplish these things and believe it will accomplish these things, and I feel I have powerful meditations when I do it. And at the very least, I'm generating concentration and setting the intention to do virtuous things in my life, so it's win-win. I'll take the bliss generated from the practice and use it to meditate on Emptiness.

    Not to go too OT, but I have mixed feelings on mantra practice. Many people use it and claim great benefits. But from the mindfulness perspective, isn't repetition (of any word, for that matter) like putting the brain to sleep. Wouldn't this go against mindfulness?

  • 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
    edited March 1

    @techie said:

    @JaySon said:

    @lobster said:

    But ... I can and hopefully do make skilful use of yidam practice, mantra, meditation etc ...

    I think the fact that mantra practice, for example, depends on belief that the mantra is purifying negative karma, collecting merit, you need to believe in it to get the benefit of it. That said, the deep principle of the practice may be something like setting your intention. Like, sure as I chant Medicine Buddha mantra I will believe Medicine Buddha is purifying my negative karma and gaining good karma and helping me clear negative imprints from past lives. Whether Medicine Buddha is actually helping me or not is besides the point. My intention is to make this practice accomplish these things and believe it will accomplish these things, and I feel I have powerful meditations when I do it. And at the very least, I'm generating concentration and setting the intention to do virtuous things in my life, so it's win-win. I'll take the bliss generated from the practice and use it to meditate on Emptiness.

    Not to go too OT, but I have mixed feelings on mantra practice. Many people use it and claim great benefits. But from the mindfulness perspective, isn't repetition (of any word, for that matter) like putting the brain to sleep. Wouldn't this go against mindfulness?

    No, because it's a meaningful point of focus. A concentration (an aspect of the 8Fold path), and as such a means of centering the Mind.
    The way I've always looked at it, is that the Buddhas mentioned in mantras (Tara, Avalokitesvara, Blue Medicine Buddha) are manifestations of positive intentions which, in recitation of their Mantras, we also invoke, ignite and cultivate within ourselves. We motivate ourselves to get better.

    lobsterSocairJaySon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 1

    Thanks everyone,

    Made the same comment on Zenspace ... be interesting if Sam Harris emerges as a convincing philosopher, pseudo egoic intellectual (much smarter than me) or a right wing apologist for fashionable anti-Islamic, religious anti-freeze etc ...
    https://tinyurl.com/ybtcsxdq

    Allah/Cod is Greater!
    Buddha for Breakfast!
    Religion for Robots, Now! :3

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @federica said:
    The way I've always looked at it, is that the Buddhas mentioned in mantras (Tara, Avalokitesvara, Blue Medicine Buddha) are manifestations of positive intentions

    That's the way I look at it. They represent particular Virtuous qualities that I want to cultivate.

    Socair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 2

    @lobster said:

    I like Sam Harris. He is a Buddhist ninja and values meditation and science.
    Was watching a talk of his, calling for a secular spirituality and value the insight and clarity ...

    His emphasis on meditation. Excellent. Very grounded.

    What is your estimation?

    Hmm.

    I am not a big fan even as I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says. Instead of limiting his points to the negative aspects of blind faith, he attacks the faithful person and that is where he loses me.

    It's one thing to offer food for thought and many are indeed swayed by logical discourse. Its quite another thing to just be a dick even as it may intimidate some into silence.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @lobster said:

    I like Sam Harris. He is a Buddhist ninja and values meditation and science.
    Was watching a talk of his, calling for a secular spirituality and value the insight and clarity ...

    His emphasis on meditation. Excellent. Very grounded.

    What is your estimation?

    Hmm.

    I am not a big fan even as I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says. Instead of limiting his points to the negative aspects of blind faith, he attacks the faithful person and that is where he loses me.

    It's one thing to offer food for thought and many are indeed swayed by logical discourse.

    As a regular listener to Sam, I would say that is a pretty spot on take when it comes to his stance on religion. I will say that most everything he says that offends people is made with many qualifiers that limit and narrow the target of his attacks. So when individual sentences are quoted outside of his larger statement he comes across as making a broader statement than he actually is. For example when he attacks religious thinking he pretty much always says that some religions are better than others, and he specifically goes after the scripture of the teachings rather than the practiced religion itself. I do think he has a specific bone to pick with any "belligerent and fanatical claims" religions and the religious may make and won't let go or moderate his stance on it, but he often does have guests on his show that make opposing arguments.

    Its quite another thing to just be a dick even as it may intimidate some into silence.

    I do have to disagree with this though. He always lets others make their points and lets them make edits and corrections to transcripts of his conversations before they get posted. He also has made a repeated stance against efforts to silence free speech, particularly as it occurs on college campuses these days.

    Basically, there is plenty to disagree with him on, and I do. But his ideas are complex and nuanced, so when they are taken in bite size pieces they lose a lot of his intent.

    Shoshinlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    As a regular listener to Sam, I would say that is a pretty spot on take when it comes to his stance on religion.

    Every time I come across Sam's talks, conversations, videos etc, I have much the same reaction as @person. The original post has sound bites to push a stance against Islam. Just as Richard Dawkins exposes the nonsense in Christian Church Dogma in his books and conversations, talks etc.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins

    Even though Sam Harris practices a Buddhist meditation, he is also critical of Buddhism. Overall I feel his approach is grounded in experience. Richard Dawkins is not able to answer the Gnostics, only the drivel of medieval and earlier doctrine. Faith is no excuse for ignorance.

    I feel that Sam Harris is a higher order of fish.

    Carameltailperson
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer

    @lobster said:

    In the back of my mind that comparison of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris did come to mind because of their approach. Richard Dawkins is limited in a couple of ways though and is some what more removed and more in the science rationalist type mindset probably as he is into chasing Charles Darwin type work. He does have some great theories though such as the mind virus, but they are limited by his approach. I think that Sam Harris makes a more strengthened critique of religion in that respect at least and makes good attempts to liberate Buddhism from the dogma of infalibility (I'm not sure i'm using the right language here or not welp).
    Though I don't really watch or follow specific critiques on religion these days other than islam being in the news.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 3

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @lobster said:

    I like Sam Harris. He is a Buddhist ninja and values meditation and science.
    Was watching a talk of his, calling for a secular spirituality and value the insight and clarity ...

    His emphasis on meditation. Excellent. Very grounded.

    What is your estimation?

    Hmm.

    I am not a big fan even as I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says. Instead of limiting his points to the negative aspects of blind faith, he attacks the faithful person and that is where he loses me.

    It's one thing to offer food for thought and many are indeed swayed by logical discourse.

    As a regular listener to Sam, I would say that is a pretty spot on take when it comes to his stance on religion. I will say that most everything he says that offends people is made with many qualifiers that limit and narrow the target of his attacks. So when individual sentences are quoted outside of his larger statement he comes across as making a broader statement than he actually is. For example when he attacks religious thinking he pretty much always says that some religions are better than others, and he specifically goes after the scripture of the teachings rather than the practiced religion itself. I do think he has a specific bone to pick with any "belligerent and fanatical claims" religions and the religious may make and won't let go or moderate his stance on it, but he often does have guests on his show that make opposing arguments.

    Its quite another thing to just be a dick even as it may intimidate some into silence.

    I do have to disagree with this though. He always lets others make their points and lets them make edits and corrections to transcripts of his conversations before they get posted. He also has made a repeated stance against efforts to silence free speech, particularly as it occurs on college campuses these days.

    Basically, there is plenty to disagree with him on, and I do. But his ideas are complex and nuanced, so when they are taken in bite size pieces they lose a lot of his intent.

    I guess that's cool except I'm going by the very first thing you see on his site and what I've taken in from the bites other people quote him with. He could avoid that by being more diplomatic.

    Also I dont hear him pointing out any follies of atheism and there are plenty. When I say atheism I mean the staunch Atheists that don't just disbelieve but outright claim to know that there are no deities for a fact.

    To each their own of course.

    person
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 3

    @lobster said:

    PS. The word Muslim can be replaced with Hindu, Buddhist or [insert opposition of choice]

    Do you think Sam Harris would agree that you could also replace the word with "Atheist"? There are plenty that would like nothing more than to see religion in any form banned.

  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer
    edited March 3

    @David
    It is true the staunch atheists/rationalists/humanists do deserve a critique of their own. Or the ones who just disregard everything there and then.

    person
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 3

    There are certainly born again atheists, who promote it with zealous and puritanical hatred for all forms of delusion or fanaticism, apart from their own ...

    However most calmed atheists, are not concerned with non dangerous, quaint or supportive systems. It is the delusional, promoting creationism as a valid science topic, jihad as a form of religious devotion and buddhism as a cure for mental illness, karmic misery, non perfection etc. in a future emergence ... That is where many feel it is right to oppose religion.

    Believing something that is detrimental to ourselves, others or society is ignorance.

    Have I been brainwashed again?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @David said:

    Do you think Sam Harris would agree that you could also replace the word with "Atheist"? There are plenty that would like nothing more than to see religion in any form banned.

    Perhaps this would be a suitable replacement....

    "Humans must learn that if they make belligerent and fanatical claims upon the tolerance of free societies, they will meet the limits of that tolerance"

    lobsterSocair
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I can dig it @Shoshin

    ShoshinSocair
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