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Inquiry

I want to hear opinions on this topic and discuss it as to get a better understanding towards it. In the context of the way of inquiry, Since Buddha taught pretty clearly that one shouldn’t blindly believe things, and that they should find truth themselves, would this mean that you can not believe certain aspects of Buddhism because you have not found them to be true for you? If so, why? If not, why? Is it something up for interpretation where some would say no and some yes, or is there a rigid answer?

Comments

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    The best way to find out @Elauderd is to practice the Dharma and see for your self "Ehipassiko" .....

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Not blindly, but with a practical purpose with an eye towards testing their results. See Thanissaro Bhikkhus' "Faith in Awakening."

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I find this a very interesting area myself. For example I did a Buddhism basics course at a Tibetan temple not so long ago, and some things I could verify and some things I could not. A lot of the things about emotion and mind I could find to be true, while karma and rebirth were outside my scope of testing.

    I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you. The best I’ve been able to do myself is say, a lot of the other things they have said have turned out to be true, so i’ll accept them until I can verify or disprove them myself.

    person
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @Elauderd said:
    I want to hear opinions on this topic and discuss it as to get a better understanding towards it. In the context of the way of inquiry, Since Buddha taught pretty clearly that one shouldn’t blindly believe things, and that they should find truth themselves, would this mean that you can not believe certain aspects of Buddhism because you have not found them to be true for you? If so, why? If not, why? Is it something up for interpretation where some would say no and some yes, or is there a rigid answer?

    Speaking of the accomplished teachers i have known, listened to, and read in the Zen, Kagyu and Nyingma tradions, i found it imperative to believe everything they taught to the letter.
    Those who were realized taught of that experience from how it felt, not from what they had read or heard, as a result their teachings were accurate, true and treasures of insight.
    If we encounter teachings from teachers like i have described and we have not found them to be true for us, it's because we have not yet reached a point on the path that allows to do so.
    I remember clearly having a very difficult time understanding the insights in Buddhism. It was all Buddhism to me. As time passed, however, and i progressed on the path they became increasingly more accessible.
    To give you an example, if people who had never encountered Buddhism were told that they had no self they would likely become incredulous and say something like, "What are you talking about, here i am, right here in front of you."'
    Their are many rigid answers in the traditions i know about such as: the true nature of mind is emptiness inseparable from awareness: meditation is imperative, all Dharmas meaning different aspects of Buddhism meet at one point: egolessnes, and there are many more.
    I hope this is helpful.

    person
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited May 17

    @Elauderd said:
    I want to hear opinions on this topic and discuss it as to get a better understanding towards it. In the context of the way of inquiry, Since Buddha taught pretty clearly that one shouldn’t blindly believe things, and that they should find truth themselves, would this mean that you can not believe certain aspects of Buddhism because you have not found them to be true for you?

    Personally I don't believe things that I cannot test. This doesn't mean I stand against them or throw them away. I put them to the side until such a time arises that they can be tested. Possibilities abound.

    Taking on untested dogma as truth could hinder the learning process and make one think they have it all figured out without doing the work.

    I have that which makes the most sense according to the information I have at the time and then I have a bunch of competing theories. I don't ever really take anything as a truth that can't be further tested.

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

    During my first nine years of formal Zen practice, it was rare -- I mean really rare -- that anyone mentioned either "enlightenment" or "the precepts." At first, I was miffed that such heavy-duty Buddhist constituents were apparently set aside.

    But as time passed and practice intensified, I found that the precepts had a way of growing up naturally as part of the practice. They fit, they were sensible, and they coincided with the experience that was growing on my cushion.

    As a point of practical fact, the pain in my right knee was far more compelling than any philosophical clucking about all that stuff I didn't really understand. No doubt that stuff would either reveal its meaning in time or be flushed down the toilet with all the other wise shit I was capable of producing. "Compassion," for example, is not a descriptive. It is just what happens when things work right.

    Not saying this was the 'right' way -- just saying what happened.

    lobsterElauderd
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ... or is there a rigid answer?

    The rigid answer as @genkaku mentions is often set in stone, seated Buddha. However such a discipline is fluid. The sitting will answer all your questions with the reality of:

    • dukkha
    • the fickle nature of mind
    • being kind (to ones ignorance/suffering initially)
    • practice, discipline, mindfulness, breath, awareness, distraction, calm etc

    Sit gently

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Explorer

    What if the metaphysical realities of karma and rebirth aren’t verifiable, but the teachings that accompany them are?

    So, instead of challenging ourselves to believe in a cosmic law of moral right and wrong, what if we simply observe that our actions, and particularly the mind states that accompany them, affect our subsequent experience?

    And instead of trying to verify that rebirth really occurs, why not observe that it actually happens every moment? Every day we wake up a slightly different person.

    That’s how I’ve come to think about it anyway. These more supernatural elements of Buddhism have tangible counterparts, and they can teach us a lot about this life, regardless of what happens next.

    lobsterpersonScottPen
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @adamcrossley said:
    What if the metaphysical realities of karma and rebirth aren’t verifiable, but the teachings that accompany them are?

    So, instead of challenging ourselves to believe in a cosmic law of moral right and wrong, what if we simply observe that our actions, and particularly the mind states that accompany them, affect our subsequent experience?

    And instead of trying to verify that rebirth really occurs, why not observe that it actually happens every moment? Every day we wake up a slightly different person.

    That’s how I’ve come to think about it anyway. These more supernatural elements of Buddhism have tangible counterparts, and they can teach us a lot about this life, regardless of what happens next.

    Interesting post. I presume you're talking about the karma of previous lives effecting us in this life as a metaphysical reality. It is not verifiable from my experience, but karma in everyday life is. People generally treat us as we treat them, or as they say in the sport's world, "What goes around, comes around," for one example.

    I don't know if rebirth is verifiable, what i do know is that Mind is not ours, and self existing awareness is, well, self existing. These entities or non entities will persist after we die, because they do not depend on us for their continued existence. What they do after we die, i can't verify.

    personShoshin
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Explorer

    @Tsultrim, I didn’t quite mean

    the karma of previous lives effecting us in this life as a metaphysical reality

    I meant more along the lines of, as you put it very well,

    karma in everyday life . . .
    people generally treat us as we treat them.

    I found your description of rebirth very interesting. I was thinking of it in terms of the reality of constant change, which could be likened to constant rebirth. You could see the doctrine of rebirth as a teaching on impermanence. But I thought your explanation of the more metaphysical nature of rebirth was very lucid.

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    Yes @adamcrossley i've heard comments similar to yours about rebirth. For example, that we are dying and being born moment to moment. Certainly being carried away by thought is something like dying, we are no longer in touch with life in the here and now and then we come back like being reborn. Well, death is probably the most persuasive example we have of impermanence and cycles of birth and death also point to impermanence.
    I might add that the true nature of mind is not impermanent. Emptiness and awareness are immortal. When we die they continue.
    Finally, It's very difficult to really understand the Dharma without meditation , so i hope you have a meditation practice.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Best explanation of rebirth I can think of....

    KundoShoshin
  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    @Elauderd said:
    I want to hear opinions on this topic and discuss it as to get a better understanding towards it. In the context of the way of inquiry, Since Buddha taught pretty clearly that one shouldn’t blindly believe things, and that they should find truth themselves, would this mean that you can not believe certain aspects of Buddhism because you have not found them to be true for you? If so, why? If not, why? Is it something up for interpretation where some would say no and some yes, or is there a rigid answer?

    Elauderd- I recommend this: find something in the Dharma that makes sense to you right now, and find some books or videos or podcasts or whatever that focus primarily on the stuff that you're wrapping your head around without much struggle. I'm working on the 4 noble truths and the 8fold path, and I'm pretty sure I won't have to branch out into other territory for a while. I don't buy into every Buddhist concept I come across, but that doesn't bother me. Enough of it seems to be helping me improve my life that the other stuff is irrelevant.

    I'm also not a Buddhist. I haven't taken refuge or any of that. I don't feel like I need to. I'd just like to suffer less, so I found a path that's getting me there. Every day I do some more work on it, and every day I listen to a teacher give a talk.

    If you don't think something is true, then why try to convince yourself? Just do the work and keep an open mind. If you can rationalize something that seems to be nuts and that rationalization helps your practice, that's great.

    Siddartha Gautama seems to have been an intuitive, intelligent, kind, charismatic dude. But he was just a dude. Probably was wrong about a whole lot of stuff. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try out the stuff that makes sense. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water, but don't let it sit there in the filth either.

    JasonKeromeElauderd
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @ScottPen I recommend this: try to develop a meditation practice, if you haven't already.> @ScottPen said:

    @Elauderd said:
    I want to hear opinions on this topic and discuss it as to get a better understanding towards it. In the context of the way of inquiry, Since Buddha taught pretty clearly that one shouldn’t blindly believe things, and that they should find truth themselves, would this mean that you can not believe certain aspects of Buddhism because you have not found them to be true for you? If so, why? If not, why? Is it something up for interpretation where some would say no and some yes, or is there a rigid answer?

    Elauderd- I recommend this: find something in the Dharma that makes sense to you right now, and find some books or videos or podcasts or whatever that focus primarily on the stuff that you're wrapping your head around without much struggle. I'm working on the 4 noble truths and the 8fold path, and I'm pretty sure I won't have to branch out into other territory for a while. I don't buy into every Buddhist concept I come across, but that doesn't bother me. Enough of it seems to be helping me improve my life that the other stuff is irrelevant.

    I'm also not a Buddhist. I haven't taken refuge or any of that. I don't feel like I need to. I'd just like to suffer less, so I found a path that's getting me there. Every day I do some more work on it, and every day I listen to a teacher give a talk.

    If you don't think something is true, then why try to convince yourself? Just do the work and keep an open mind. If you can rationalize something that seems to be nuts and that rationalization helps your practice, that's great.

    Siddartha Gautama seems to have been an intuitive, intelligent, kind, charismatic dude. But he was just a dude. Probably was wrong about a whole lot of stuff. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try out the stuff that makes sense. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water, but don't let it sit there in the filth either.

    ScottPen
  • ScottPenScottPen Maryland Veteran

    @Tsultrim said:
    @ScottPen I recommend this: try to develop a meditation practice, if you haven't already.>

    @Tsultrim, I appreciate the feedback! Yes, I'm new at all of this but I've been meditating almost daily for about 6 weeks. The 4 noble truths really speak to me, and since the 8fold path is numero quatro I figure that's the next step. During my life I haven't held myself to very high standards of behavior, so I'm curious if the samadhi and pranna can facilitate my sila.

    I'm also "auditioning" a few potential groups in my area that could end up being my sangha. I've gone to a zendo and experienced what the teacher there told me was sort of a beginner's intro version of what they do there, and I've gone to a meeting with some people associated with Tara Brach's IMCW organization. There isn't really any truly secular sangha in my area, but the Insight community is pretty close.

    Please feel free to provide any insights or perspectives that you have found to be valuable in your practice. I appreciate all of it.

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @ScottPen said:

    @Tsultrim said:
    @ScottPen I recommend this: try to develop a meditation practice, if you haven't already.>

    @Tsultrim, I appreciate the feedback! Yes, I'm new at all of this but I've been meditating almost daily for about 6 weeks. The 4 noble truths really speak to me, and since the 8fold path is numero quatro I figure that's the next step. During my life I haven't held myself to very high standards of behavior, so I'm curious if the samadhi and pranna can facilitate my sila.

    Good , you're meditating, of course i don't know what kind, and that's important. You have found the 4 Noble truths speak to you, good again, that's important. We all bring karma to the Dharama, and that serves as our path. It could be gambling, alcohol or believing in a self and that it is separate from the world. Samadhi and prajna will help your sila. At your stage, a lot of appropriate meditation is in order.

    I'm also "auditioning" a few potential groups in my area that could end up being my sangha. I've gone to a zendo and experienced what the teacher there told me was sort of a beginner's intro version of what they do there, and I've gone to a meeting with some people associated with Tara Brach's IMCW organization. There isn't really any truly secular sangha in my area, but the Insight community is pretty close.

    Pick a discipline that has been around for a long time (say a thousand years) and has stood the test of time. If you have to travel do it.

    Please feel free to provide any insights or perspectives that you have found to be valuable in your practice. I appreciate all of it.

    Develop a daily practice of meditation. Meditate with others when possible. Read introductory material on Buddhism, maybe read about the different schools: Zen, Nyingma, Kagyu in Tibetan Buddhism.
    In my experience and many others the more psychological pain you have the better. You have connected with the 4 noble truths so you must know about pain. Pain helps us meditate and read the teachings and to find an accomplished teacher. This is my experience, others connect because of other experiences.
    Believe what you read from great Buddhist teachers. They actually experienced what they are writing, and if you can't understand it , it's because you are not there yet. Why would so many people talk about no self, emptiness etc for thousands of years if it weren't true? Of course they've talked about god that long too. I'll leave you on your own with that.
    Don't be hard on yourself. Meditation will prove difficult, the teachings incomprehensible at times, but soldier on. You have a lot of karma to work through don't expect things to change over night. As you progress you will change, and that may prove painful as well, but life is painful anyhow (1st Noble Truth) at least now you''re using pain to help you.
    I think that's it for now. If you remain on the path we can talk some more.
    Also, you have the great good fortune to have found THE discipline that can show you the true nature of your self and the world. You found it for a reason, do not discard it as a passing fancy.

  • satcittanandasatcittananda UK Veteran

    I have not read any of the posts above because - they should not be read before reading this one:

    Belief is what your ideas lead you to feel and do...

    Faith is what leads to ideas and doing!

    Call it what you will, Mind Is What IT IS!

    I love it.... I really do...

    SO! Comment as you will -as YOU WILL! ...lol..

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Tsultrim said:
    In my experience and many others the more psychological pain you have the better.

    Can you explain that a bit further please?

  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @Kundo said:

    @Tsultrim said:
    In my experience and many others the more psychological pain you have the better.

    Can you explain that a bit further please?

    Hello@Kundo. I find the best and most universally applicable term for psych pain in this day and age is stress. If you say to someone, " My mind causes me discomfort,"
    they may not understand or think you're crazy. If you say, however, i'm feeling a lot of stress today, they invariably get it.
    Looking for relief from stress, some of us turn to the the teachings, practices and teachers of the Dharma. The more stress we feel the more energy we invest in these remedies and the faster we progress on the path.
    An example i think of often is Milarepa. He felt tremendous guilt for killing others with his magic and he also had a strong sense of the impermanence of life. These aspects of his existence stressed him to the point where he spent 12 years in caves around Tibet doing solitary retreat. Eventually he attained enlightenment in one lifetime, because the stress he felt was so great that it provoked boundless spiritual exertion in him.
    I'm not saying that only psych pain works, some people have a tremendous need to know what the Dharma means, others have quite egocentric reasons (actually everyone's reason when starting is egocentric), like they want to control the world's energies using the Vajrayana. The list must be long.

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