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Pop Buddhism

As we know some dharmaists can be sticklers for form. Others value a few choice cherries, others just blossom ...

Some find wisdom in parts of the dharma wood, others just blossom ...

What is pop Buddhism? Is it helpful or just 'Buddhism Lite'? New Age Dharma perhaps ... ?
https://www.lionsroar.com/yes-buddhism-is-a-religion/

SocairpersonVastmindDavid

Comments

  • 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 5

    Good article. Serves to confirm my thoughts on the matter, very eloquently. It also gives me further "ammunition" to discuss aspects of Buddhism I have hitherto stumbled over, or have been at a loss to expand on. (I don't mean 'ammunition' in the sense of getting into a fight with someone over details, but in the sense of being better equipped with data to present in discussion.)

    Socair
  • SocairSocair Veteran

    Thank you for sharing @lobster . This article helps greatly with my inspiration and agnostic threads. Much appreciated. Very good article.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 5

    Very enjoyable article, thanks @lobster...

    I would add that association with 1960’s counterculture is no bad thing to some people. The hippy and new age movements are beautiful things, which lend a much needed counterweight to the hyped-up materialism that is so prevalent today. I wish we would see more of it.

    21st century counterculture has much more to do with conspiracy theories. The likes of George Carlin telling a dark vision of “owners” and big business, the fact that money talks and that in fact the voice of the people is fractured and divided, almost ineffective.

    lobsterVastmindSnakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 6

    I like very much like @JaySon post

    Pop Buddism is I feel very much influenced by our blossom, rather than rigid woods ...
    http://sweepingzen.com/zen-women-and-the-pussy-koan/
    http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/daughters-emptiness/selections

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 6

    @JaySon said:
    I guess this is on a related wavelength... It's weird to me that modern psychology doesn't base any of their conclusions on the nature of ultimate reality, the absence of the self, Impermanence, and other truths. In my opinion the Dharma Seals are beyond religion. They are the indisputable truth and can't rationally be refuted. Yet modern psychology has at its base delusions of reality. It filters everything through the delusion of self and permanence. It aims to sculpt the ego. We Buddhists aim to destroy the ego, which is really only a hallucination to begin with.

    I always seem to be the odd one out here. You had me up until the last line because that shows an aversion to self awareness.

    If you destroy your ego, how will you tie your shoes?

    There is a Middle Way via the 8fold path. We work diligently to live according to the dharma. Just another way of sculpting the self really. Any discipline is through personal effort.

    Q-- How much ego do we need?

    Shunryu Suzuki-- Just enough that we don't get hit by a bus.

    CarameltailVastmindSocair
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran
    edited March 6

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    I guess this is on a related wavelength... It's weird to me that modern psychology doesn't base any of their conclusions on the nature of ultimate reality, the absence of the self, Impermanence, and other truths. In my opinion the Dharma Seals are beyond religion. They are the indisputable truth and can't rationally be refuted. Yet modern psychology has at its base delusions of reality. It filters everything through the delusion of self and permanence. It aims to sculpt the ego. We Buddhists aim to destroy the ego, which is really only a hallucination to begin with.

    I always seem to be the odd one out here. You had me up until the last line because that shows an aversion to self awareness.

    If you destroy your ego, how will you tie your shoes?

    There is a Middle Way via the 8fold path. We work diligently to live according to the dharma. Just another way of sculpting the self really. Any discipline is through personal effort.

    Q-- How much ego do we need?

    Shunryu Suzuki-- Just enough that we don't get hit by a bus.

    The ego isn't your consciousness. The ego is just something that feels like self that arises in your aggregates when you are angry or afraid, tricking you into believing you have a self. You don't need it to function. It's just a delusion that causes attachment and aversion. It (the delusion of ego) has no use, is the cause of all our problems, and therefore must be obliterated. The mind/body construct still exists. The ego never truly existed except for in thought, in concept, and cannot actually be found anywhere within the mind/body complex.

    Snakeskinperson
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Explorer

    @JaySon said:

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    I guess this is on a related wavelength... It's weird to me that modern psychology doesn't base any of their conclusions on the nature of ultimate reality, the absence of the self, Impermanence, and other truths. In my opinion the Dharma Seals are beyond religion. They are the indisputable truth and can't rationally be refuted. Yet modern psychology has at its base delusions of reality. It filters everything through the delusion of self and permanence. It aims to sculpt the ego. We Buddhists aim to destroy the ego, which is really only a hallucination to begin with.

    I always seem to be the odd one out here. You had me up until the last line because that shows an aversion to self awareness.

    If you destroy your ego, how will you tie your shoes?

    There is a Middle Way via the 8fold path. We work diligently to live according to the dharma. Just another way of sculpting the self really. Any discipline is through personal effort.

    Q-- How much ego do we need?

    Shunryu Suzuki-- Just enough that we don't get hit by a bus.

    The ego isn't your consciousness. The ego is just something that feels like self that arises in your aggregates when you are angry or afraid, tricking you into believing you have a self. You don't need it to function. It's just a delusion that causes attachment and aversion. It (the delusion of ego) has no use, is the cause of all our problems, and therefore must be obliterated. The mind/body construct still exists. The ego never truly existed except for in thought, in concept, and cannot actually be found anywhere within the mind/body complex.

    It isn't the 'cause' of all our problems, what is, is not being able to see for ourselves that we are not separate from reality (there not being an independent self), attachment to illusions and the acceptance of other deceptions as reality.
    It isn't about destroying it but about discovering who we are ourselves and then letting the illusion go as a result. 'Destroying' it is counter productive. The focus is to realise truth for yourself.

    DavidKerome
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited March 7

    @JaySon because flawed people are the same ones helping other flawed people. Blind leading the blind, so to speak. Many people end up in psychology and related fields in order to attempt to get answers for themselves, but rather than delve deeper into their own selves, they stop at a slightly deeper level of the same surface. They don't find answers, they just find terms and definitions and labels that they adopt and live out.

    Few people like to look deeply into themselves. They are afraid of their ability to cope with what they will find. So instead, they make a choice to live in fear but to seek a little help so they maintain some semblance of control. They are DOING something so they must be ok, at least more ok than most. But that's not true. Therapy can be amazing...if you are willing to do that work. Many aren't willing, and many therapists are less effective because they haven't done their own work.

    One of the biggest downfalls of so many religions, in my eyes, is how much they ask people never to question anything, to put it all in God's trusting hands and let him handle it. It takes all of the accountability off them and onto someone else, which sadly is what many people want because that is the kind of lives people tend to live. No depth. That is what a lot of the pop articles on Buddhism and mindfulness etc are about. But there is the chance that one out of a hundred people will take it further. And that is still progress.

    There are, however, therapists who are Buddhist or at least have a Buddhist bent on the way they manage their patient care. My sister saw one for many years.

    lobsterpersonCarameltailSnakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Accountability/karma.
    Great post from @karasti
    We work not exactly to 'destroy the delusions' (the wrathful path) or to polish the perfect attributes (the gradual deepening) but to open the Emptiness ...

    To put it another way. The Middle Way iz Plan.

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    I agree with the logic of what @JaySon is saying, but point out that while the psychoanalytical concept of ego overlaps with some Buddhist concepts, like self-views, conceit and other sankharas, they're apples and oranges... to put it mildly. Really, they're radically different lenses. To abandon self-views and to uproot the underlying conceit, 'I am', are Buddhist aims, at least from one perspective. Through the lens of ego it could look destructive. I think that reflects one of the article's points. Buddhism has its own, time-tested lenses. In that light, @lobster, pop Buddhism is a wippersnapper. :p

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    :)

    Who has been through the realisation of no-self offered by liberation unleashed?
    http://www.liberationunleashed.com

    I went through it, a little unconventionally for sure o:) but then my smashing ego goes both ways :p I iz naughty :3

    Anyway I recommend the process highly. It deserves to pop a few more delusions about popping ...

  • 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 7

    Jeesh, bit hardcore, aren't they....?! "Liberation SAS-style - who dares, wins!"

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 7

    @JaySon said:

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    I guess this is on a related wavelength... It's weird to me that modern psychology doesn't base any of their conclusions on the nature of ultimate reality, the absence of the self, Impermanence, and other truths. In my opinion the Dharma Seals are beyond religion. They are the indisputable truth and can't rationally be refuted. Yet modern psychology has at its base delusions of reality. It filters everything through the delusion of self and permanence. It aims to sculpt the ego. We Buddhists aim to destroy the ego, which is really only a hallucination to begin with.

    I always seem to be the odd one out here. You had me up until the last line because that shows an aversion to self awareness.

    If you destroy your ego, how will you tie your shoes?

    There is a Middle Way via the 8fold path. We work diligently to live according to the dharma. Just another way of sculpting the self really. Any discipline is through personal effort.

    Q-- How much ego do we need?

    Shunryu Suzuki-- Just enough that we don't get hit by a bus.

    The ego isn't your consciousness. The ego is just something that feels like self that arises in your aggregates when you are angry or afraid, tricking you into believing you have a self. You don't need it to function. It's just a delusion that causes attachment and aversion. It (the delusion of ego) has no use, is the cause of all our problems, and therefore must be obliterated. The mind/body construct still exists. The ego never truly existed except for in thought, in concept, and cannot actually be found anywhere within the mind/body complex.

    I guess these kinds of negative connotations help some but others find them quite unhelpful. It is after all just ego asserting the opinion that ego must be destroyed. I think if the ego is just accepted for what it is, it can transform on its own. No need to destroy It when compassion will humble it.

    I don't mean idiot compassion either. I mean shining a light of understanding on it.

    karasti
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @lobster said:
    :)

    Who has been through the realisation of no-self offered by liberation unleashed?
    http://www.liberationunleashed.com

    I went through it, a little unconventionally for sure o:) but then my smashing ego goes both ways :p I iz naughty :3

    Anyway I recommend the process highly. It deserves to pop a few more delusions about popping ...

    It seems as if they've changed the wording up a bit on the homepage. Seems a bit more positive for some reason.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I agree with @David. In my experience (which of course lack adequate words for me) it kind of goes back to that handy meme/story about the 2 wolves and which one you feed. If you are consistently feeding your ego you're going to make it stronger and that little light that peers in once in a while will get more timid and quiet and you'll be less likely to note its presence. But if you choose to feed that presence instead, the ego naturally will start to fade into the darkness as well. Saying you must "obliterate" the ego suggests a lot of aversion and force, which just never works well. What you want more of, take care to create more of it.

    Several years ago, there was an implosion in our little Sangha group. We held a discussion group on FB, which actually worked really well. But one of the more senior students went on a rip about therapists and psychologists saying he forced himself to let go of the concept of healing his mind with those tools. Which I suppose is fine, but the idea that he had to FORCE it is not what releasing attachments is really about, I don't think. In my experience that release happens naturally. You don't put it on the calendar. But he didn't stop there, because then he railed against all the people who were gently trying to explain that he was offending a lot of people who needed that kind of help. He actually went on to say that he was just more Buddhist than them and it wasn't his fault he was better. The irony of the conversation was pretty nuts. He logically understood the concept but there was no acceptance, it was all about rejection for him. There's a big difference.

    David
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    @David said:
    if the ego is just accepted for what it is

    What is it?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 7

    @Snakeskin said:

    @David said:
    if the ego is just accepted for what it is

    What is it?

    The sense of self esteem/expression needed to accomplish any goal or share any ideas.

    There are pros and cons but to see it as a bad thing is just more ego playing games. The more we fight the ego, the stronger and more cunning it gets.

    If you think you have beaten the ego into submission I would wager its still there in disguise.

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    @David said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @David said:
    if the ego is just accepted for what it is

    What is it?

    The sense of self esteem/expression needed to accomplish any goal or share any ideas.

    There are pros and cons but to see it as a bad thing is just more ego playing games. The more we fight the ego, the stronger and more cunning it gets.

    If you think you have beaten the ego into submission I would wager its still there in disguise.

    Where does that sense fit into the five aggregates?

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Snakeskin said:

    @David said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @David said:
    if the ego is just accepted for what it is

    What is it?

    The sense of self esteem/expression needed to accomplish any goal or share any ideas.

    There are pros and cons but to see it as a bad thing is just more ego playing games. The more we fight the ego, the stronger and more cunning it gets.

    If you think you have beaten the ego into submission I would wager its still there in disguise.

    Where does that sense fit into the five aggregates?

    I'd say it either fits in with the mental formations or consciousness or a bit of both.

    What do you think?

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    @David, I’d call the concept of ego a mental formation that reinforces self-views.

    "[Because mental formations are impermanent and unsatisfactory,] surely, O monks, whatever mental formations, past, future or present … must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'These are not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'" (SN 22.59)

    My point being, if we examine the above through the foreign concept of ego, then the abandoning of self-views looks destructive. If we look through the native concept of aggregates forming and dissolving, the abandoning of self-views is logical.

    Hence, I agree with @JaySon’s logic, but part ways with the imported construct of ego.

    personDavid
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 8

    @Snakeskin said:
    @David, I’d call the concept of ego a mental formation that reinforces self-views.

    "[Because mental formations are impermanent and unsatisfactory,] surely, O monks, whatever mental formations, past, future or present … must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'These are not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'" (SN 22.59)

    My point being, if we examine the above through the foreign concept of ego, then the abandoning of self-views looks destructive. If we look through the native concept of aggregates forming and dissolving, the abandoning of self-views is logical.

    I have to disagree. Abandoning unhealthy self views (essential, better than others, seperate, permanent etc.) sounds right. Cultivating healthy self views (worthy of compassion, temporary, able tp help) also seems right.

    What sounds destructive and averse is claiming we have to destroy anything.

    It is all about skillful means I think and duality is a very good tool.

    In the Dona Sutta Buddha says "Remember me, Brahman, as awakened". This is self view from the awakened one.

    Not a noun but action personified.

    Snakeskin
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran
    edited March 8

    The ego, the "I," exists only in mere name. It can't be found within the mind/body complex or outside of it. You have been functioning without it for your entire life.

    By "destroy the ego" I mean to understand it doesn't actually exist in the first place except in mere name, as merely a label you have slapped onto your aggregates.

    This is the madhyamaka prasangika view, the ultimate view of emptiness.

    DavidSnakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 8

    @JaySon said:
    The ego, the "I," exists only in mere name. It can't be found within the mind/body complex or outside of it. You have been functioning without it for your entire life.

    By "destroy the ego" I mean to understand it doesn't actually exist in the first place except in mere name, as merely a label you have slapped onto your aggregates.

    This is the madhyamaka prasangika view, the ultimate view of emptiness.

    Leaving aside that madhyamaka is all about the Middle for now, and seeing how the "I" or "ego" only exists conventionally, do you agree that seeing it as a tool is better than trying to actually destroy it?

    When I say "ego" I mean any and all expressions of an individualistic nature (Remember me, Brahman, as awakened) not just the negative aspects we outgrow with the dharma.

    Remember I'm just sharing my understanding and not claiming exclusivity of truth about the fine details of the Buddhist process. These places are like free trade for perspectives. I feel I should point this out because usually, this is where the fangs come out, lol.

    Snakeskin
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran
    edited March 8

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:
    The ego, the "I," exists only in mere name. It can't be found within the mind/body complex or outside of it. You have been functioning without it for your entire life.

    By "destroy the ego" I mean to understand it doesn't actually exist in the first place except in mere name, as merely a label you have slapped onto your aggregates.

    This is the madhyamaka prasangika view, the ultimate view of emptiness.

    Leaving aside that madhyamaka is all about the Middle for now, and seeing how it only exists conventionally, do you agree that seeing it as a tool is better than trying to actually destroy it?

    When I say "ego" I mean any and all expressions of an individualistic nature (Remember me, Brahman, as awakened) not just the negative aspects we outgrow with the dharma.

    It's really about seeing others and objects as they truly exist by meditating on the view of the madhyamaka prasangikas and being mindfully aware throughout the day that what everyone normally sees around them is like a dream.

    From the Diamond Sutra:

    (See all causal phenomena as...)

    "Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
    Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
    Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream.”

    Everything appears one way, but in reality it is empty.

    All causal phenomena is like a bubble which is impermanent and can pop at any moment.

    All causal phenomena is like a dream in that it appears independent and permanent but it all actually exists dependent upon many causes and conditions and is impermanent.

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 8

    I think it's about just a bit more than that so we will just have to agree to disagree and I hope it works out for you.

    We may not even be looking at emptiness or Nagarjuna the same way and I'll be damned if I'm getting into that pain in the ass discussion again any time soon.

    Beware the ego though... as illusory as it is, it tries to trick us into thinking we got it beat and the others are fools.

    Snakeskin
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @David said:
    I think it's about just a bit more than that so we will just have to agree to disagree and I hope it works out for you.

    We may not even be looking at emptiness or Nagarjuna the same way and I'll be damned if I'm getting into that pain in the ass discussion again any time soon.

    Beware the ego though... as illusory as it is, it tries to trick us into thinking we got it beat and the others are fools.

    Individualism is only a concept. It has no substance or reality.

    Snakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Great link @federica

    No ego is for the dead. Who's in charge? Ego or Buddha? I know who rows my boat ...

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    @David said:
    I have to disagree. Abandoning unhealthy self views (essential, better than others, seperate, permanent etc.) sounds right. Cultivating healthy self views (worthy of compassion, temporary, able tp help) also seems right.

    What sounds destructive and averse is claiming we have to destroy anything.

    It is all about skillful means I think and duality is a very good tool.

    I have to agree there. However, I would contextualize it in the gradual training. It progressively trades coarse qualities for finer ones then refines those. In that context, foolishly destructive self-views are traded for wisely constructive self-views. To pay at least some lip service to the OP, this practice shouldn't be reduced to a mere, positive psychology, because it doesn't stop with a healthy, well-adjusted person. Instead, it's a religious practice using wellbeing as a stepping stone to something even finer: dropping the burden of self-views. In this way, it isn't a negative path of destruction but a positive one of purification, like refining gold.

    In the Dona Sutta Buddha says "Remember me, Brahman, as awakened". This is self view from the awakened one.

    Not a noun but action personified.

    Personification implies something impersonal represented as personal. Standard argument: conventional vs. actual. :D

    Davidperson
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Great article. Couldn't agree more (obviously).

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 8

    @Snakeskin said:

    @David said:
    I have to disagree. Abandoning unhealthy self views (essential, better than others, seperate, permanent etc.) sounds right. Cultivating healthy self views (worthy of compassion, temporary, able tp help) also seems right.

    What sounds destructive and averse is claiming we have to destroy anything.

    It is all about skillful means I think and duality is a very good tool.

    I have to agree there. However, I would contextualize it in the gradual training. It progressively trades coarse qualities for finer ones then refines those. In that context, foolishly destructive self-views are traded for wisely constructive self-views. To pay at least some lip service to the OP, this practice shouldn't be reduced to a mere, positive psychology, because it doesn't stop with a healthy, well-adjusted person. Instead, it's a religious practice using wellbeing as a stepping stone to something even finer: dropping the burden of self-views. In this way, it isn't a negative path of destruction but a positive one of purification, like refining gold.

    Of course not but the same applies to a mere negative psychology also.

    In the Dona Sutta Buddha says "Remember me, Brahman, as awakened". This is self view from the awakened one.

    Not a noun but action personified.

    Personification implies something impersonal represented as personal. Standard argument: conventional vs. actual. :D

    The term actual makes the conventional seem less important when really the Middle Way is about both in equal measure.

    I prefer the terms subjective and objective but that's just me.

    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited March 8

    @JaySon said:

    @David said:
    I think it's about just a bit more than that so we will just have to agree to disagree and I hope it works out for you.

    We may not even be looking at emptiness or Nagarjuna the same way and I'll be damned if I'm getting into that pain in the ass discussion again any time soon.

    Beware the ego though... as illusory as it is, it tries to trick us into thinking we got it beat and the others are fools.

    Individualism is only a concept. It has no substance or reality.

    Who said that?

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran

    @David said:

    @JaySon said:

    Individualism is only a concept. It has no substance or reality.

    Who said that?

    Oh, I got this. "@JaySon said:" :p

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    edited March 8

    @federica said:
    Hang on to your ego.

    @Snakeskin said:
    this practice shouldn't be reduced to a mere, positive psychology, because it doesn't stop with a healthy, well-adjusted person. Instead, it's a religious practice using wellbeing as a stepping stone to something even finer: dropping the burden of self-views.

    For me this says that the term ego has too much of an implied western notion of the self in it and using that word confuses the Buddhist meaning behind anatta. The western notion of ego seems to refer more to a sense of selfishness or a lack of.

    In terms of the two truths, conventional view of self = well adjusted individual, ultimate view of self = enlightened individual.

    ShoshinDavidSnakeskinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    " One is simply one's experience,
    One's ego is the abstraction from these experiences
    One ego should be used as a convenient analytic device"

    It makes sense to 'me' :)

    DavidSnakeskin
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