It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
I've decided I'm done with beliefs. I need hard evidence or unquestionable logic in order to determine whether anything in Buddhism is true or not.
Karma and reincarnation... Can't confirm their existence. Also, you could argue that these two beliefs were adapted from earlier religions in India.
Therefore, the argument for the existence of karma and reincarnation, in my opinion, has an equal amount of weight as the belief in God and heaven. Or the flying spaghetti monster.
Then, on the other hand, there are parts of Buddhism that can be reasonably verified.
Impermanence and emptiness can be verified as true.
And both can lay the logical basis for compassion.
How can impermanence be verified?
You seen old man walking down the street and you know that will be you one day. All things are impermanent, even you.
How can emptiness be verified?
I prefer the term interbeing to emptiness.
You look at a tree and see it is made up of sunshine, water from the clouds, soil from the earth. Take any one of these away and you don't have a tree. A tree is made of non tree elements.
You are made up of non person elements too.
Thus we can reasonably come to the logical conclusion that emptiness is true.
Reincarnation is not a fundamental Buddhist belief. Buddhists "believe" in rebirth which is completely different. Also it is more of a metaphor then an actual rebirth, and it explains our constantly changing perception of life and how we are a on going process not a Frozen "self".
As for karma, I too am new to this and have up until now regarded it as religious nonsense. It is simply ACTION though. Not some invisible force of justice that is gonna come back around and bite you in the ass. It is simply your actions and how they manifest within you today in the moment. Your karma makes you who you are right now, your karma right now will make you who you are tomorrow. All a process. One moment leads into the next. You can SEE this. Be aware of this and you will soon realise that is is actually our concept of a SELF that is the belief.
For everyone else they are hell but for me a delight. I am doing a one day a week course at college so Mondays are actually pretty much a day off work. I'll admit getting out of bed early is a drag but once I'm up it really is a lovely time of day.
I get to town, grab myself a Starbucks and enjoy a nice mindful gentle walk to college. I love it, its so foggy and mysterious looking. Walking is great, especially through town. I enjoy walking past all these people just going about their day. I find that in itself is a kind of meditation, just realising how meaningless (in a good way) my life is. I'm just one person amongst billions.
I try not to listen to music as I like the sound of my footsteps on the ground, I hear my gentle breathing in and out and taste the sharp sweet flavour as I sip my coffee. I feel the cold on my fingers and watch everyone else stuck in their minds wondering which goal to accomplish next. I try to imagine myself from the point of view of someone in a hot air balloon, all my feelings, thoughts and beliefs, insecurities don't matter. I am just one "ant" walking around amongst the others.
I find for most people I know a trip to town is something that needs to be brief. They park somewhere and they grab what they need and get on with other business. For them they are always thinking of the next thing and there has to be a reason behind everything. I wonder how people can be happy always constantly in a rush. Does there have to be a point to everything we do? Can we walk not to get somewhere but for simply the act of walking?
I believe we should strive to accomplish in life but I also don't see the point of being so focused you cant just stop and enjoy what you have. Do goal obsessed people get to a point in their lives where they wish they weren't so goal obsessed? Do they ever wish they ever took the time to just stop and smell the roses so to speak?
again and again and again from what I now understand about it @Mingle. Now that I understand it I see the connection between my rebirth and my suffering, they are hand and hand - cause and effect.
It's very interesting to me and I have been reading about it thus contemplating it. While reading The Mind and The Way it said that if one passes away without any desire or want or need for anything then what is there to be reborn into. Does that mean if you die understanding this suffering and therefore not desire for anything you won't be reborn (in the sense of actually coming back after death)?
That would be breaking the cycle of samsara (if reincarnation is real) and it is what Buddhist strive for. It is impossible not to desire as it is a desire to desire you stop desiring. To live is to desire, even a plant will grow towards the sun. The state I think you mean is a way to get around desire or to live with it and not let it control you and that's called Nirvana. The jury is still out for me of what I think of it and I posted a thread on it before, here it is
I Just try and enjoy the journey and not worry about the end result.
Finally after 2 years I feel my practice is beginning to justify itself. I feel like meditation is starting to show some merit.
I have just had a great session. My mind just seemed to go silent in anticipation of something. What started off as a swarm of thoughts just turned into the odd one just flutter by. It was like all the meaning I gave everything just disappeared then everything was meaningless. Life was no more then my gentle breathing out and the random noises in the background. All I felt was just consciousness and everything else just seemed arbitrary.
I know for you guys this is just stating the obvious but to me there is knowing something because you have been told it and then really knowing something because you have experienced it.
I also think I understand rebirth better now too and that It has nothing to do with any afterlife. It is infact a metaphor for our constantly changing perspective on things. We conjure up this idea of us and give ourselves this backstory and call it "me" but all we are is an on going process that can never be frozen and labelled "I". Its not as simple as "Hi my name is Fred and I like this and I don't like this" in fact all our old habits are constantly dying and new ones are forming.
I will use my rack of cd's as an analogy. I have collected many over the years. Some I listen to some just gather dust. If someone wanted to know what music I like they might look at my cd's and believe that they know my taste but I find this silly, because to me you only really like what you like right NOW. I have many Cd's that I used to love but cannot stand now. Today I like rock but tomorrow I may like Jazz then those rock cd's will no longer be what I'm into. One day I might like rock again but it wont be the same as I will simply be falling in love with it again.
It is just a constant change with music and so it is with ourselves. Like the cd rack we define ourselves by all that we have ever liked, disliked and done but yet it is just an illusion that we have conjured up. Even to remember our past is to do so with biases formed by our current perspective. We our now, if we meet someone new they will define us as what they see now. We are constantly dying and being reborn. The me that started writing this is gone and by the time I finish I will be a new version of myself. We cannot be pinned down.