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Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?
Existence is casual but did ignorance cause enlightenment or perhaps the non existent, non arising is eternal when absent ...
Emptiness is form and form is emptiness as they say in some Buddhist threads ...
The ego from what "I" gather is the focussing one's conscious attention and along with this focussing of attention comes this sense of self-centeredness (that which motivates)....However for the most part due to its somewhat habitual/conditioned self-centredness, it tends to call the shots (positive negative and neutral), it's only when the ever present awareness ( the awareness that is aware of being aware of being aware) begins to focus on this self-centered nature (which we call the ego), can a shift start to occur...and this is when the ever present awareness takes the ego's reigns and begins to lead the ego in a more positive direction as opposed to the ego taking awareness for a ride...
In other words.
"One is simply one's experience...One's ego is the abstraction from these experiences...One's ego should be viewed( this is where the ever present awareness becomes involved) as a convenient analytic device (ever present awareness takes the reins so to speak)"
Thus have "I" heard Consistency comes with practice & Practice comes with being consistent
But this is very 'later stage'. I mean, what you say is beautiful, correct and insightful, but put those words to a regular individual and it's likely going to be meaningless to them. I love to be around Buddhists and talk this talk, but I do feel that, ultimately, if we are to be of any benefit to all living beings, then we have to bring the message to them. I know that some Buddhists don't like this. I know some Buddhists don't like that mindfulness has been detached from the wider Dharma, but wisdom dictates that we try to meet people where they are... in fact, I try to meet myself where I am. I certainly keep an eye on what you outlined above, and it holds a wider framework into which I can move, but it's just a little bit... I don't know... impractical? Abstract?
You'd have to have a heck of a lot of faith to stick solely to that path, because the movement within it is so subtle, and the understanding is so nuanced, and, what makes it worse, is that even if you manage to hold yourself within all of that, you have to let go of the movement and the subtlety and the nuance too! It is a HARD path. And one that just does not burn inside of me at this time. I need to deal with more mundane aspects of my existence - generate some thumbs up karma - so one day I can settle into these higher levels. I get it. I mean, we all want to strive for the highest, we all want to find our groove in the upper levels, but speaking the words and doing the practice are two very different things. And this world, at this time, with so much on the line, I think, demands the fundamentals.
It would seem you are preoccupied with what you can't control, that is other sentient beings and the karmic patterns...hence why you are struggling when it comes to finding solutions to what you perceive as other people's problems....
Practice makes perfect and perfect practice makes perfect practice...However old habits die hard, hence why we continue to struggle to get ahead one step forward two steps back (force of habit for many) such is the way of our untamed mind...After all the mind is the be all and end all of all one's suffering...
In order to be of benefit to others we must first be of benefit to ourselves (hence why we practice)...There's a lot of suffering in the world, no doubt billions of sentient beings are in need of our help... And If one is fortunate enough one can join a monastic order, be ordained a nun or monk and go back out into the world and plant many wholesome beneficial/helpful seeds...
We are all teachers but some are more of a teacher than others, that is their teachings can reach many more people....nuns & monks come to mind...
As an individual (non monastic) I practice daily, in fact there is no difference between Dharma practice and daily life, it all blends into one, I help where and as best as I can by working in the community (social services volunteer and paid work) ...I have no real interest in end results ( nothing really ends, just another beginning) I can not foreseen the future and what one's karma has in store...I focus on what help I can give at this present moment in the person's life, however there is always the desire/wish for the person to utilise the help given and continue to benefit from it by helping others....
There is no time like the present to practice @mindatrisk ....Practice ( and not just talking about it ) is fundamental ...
Faith for me comes from experiential knowledge/understanding, I put into practice what I've been taught (at times through trial & error... I guess karma has something to do with the outcome) ...."Don't just believe what's been said...Put it into practice ...see for your self" "Ehipassiko"....
Unlike your self, I'm not striving for anything, I'm just doing what I feel needs to be done and at this present moment in time "I" find my self in a fortunate/karmic position to do so...one step at a time, by not biting off more than I can chew...
Generally speaking compassion is, an overwhelming desire to help others when you see they are struggling and in need...We have all experienced this and no doubt will continue to do so...some will be better suited (in a better karmic position) to do so....
In the end we are our own saviours, we just need to look beyond the finger pointing the way...
Found another article by chance from Thich Nhat Hanh:
Full article https://tinyurl.com/y6526wen
Two great posts from@Shoshin
Existence is dukkha. I think I read that somewhere ...
Most of us [lobster raises guilty claw] prefer easy. Gradual. Lay practice not sangha extreme. Those of us with a little insight [claw down to simulate humility] have focus and practice benefits.
Ignorance is a far harder cycle ...
The point I am trying to make - and perhaps not very well - is that our world situation is not only billions of suffering individuals. Whatever point we have arrived at is a threat not just to individual lives, and not just a threat to our entire species, but to every one of the endless trillions of life forms on this planet. With nuclear weapons and the potential to irreversibly destroy the environment, this is far, far beyond our own individual karma. The choices we each make every day - born of ignorance and delusion - have a potential impact magnitudes beyond personal consequences.
What is the karma for a supposed spiritual individual who sits at home and meditates whilst an entire planet is annihilated? What is the karma for an individual blessed with some awareness, some insights, and some wisdom, who ponders only upon their own salvation whilst an entire planet is annihilated? What does it mean to be compassionate and wise if we sit on it whilst an entire planet is annihilated? What would the Buddha be doing right here and right now? Would he be sat in a forrest teaching a dozen souls some lofty concepts, or would he be on the world stage trying to speak sense into the collective?
I suspect it would be the latter. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the Buddha wouldn't care if billions were killed in a nuclear fall-out. Maybe the Buddha wouldn't care if environmental catastrophe wiped out entire species... maybe all life on this planet. But I doubt it. Again, what would it mean to be compassionate and wise if it were not used appropriately in the context we find ourselves in? Yes, it would be very nice to live in a time where war meant a few thousands soldiers battling on a field somewhere. Then, of course, that is their karma, and then, of course, we sit in the forrest and meditate. But the time we find ourselves in, and surely, surely, surely, whatever compassion and wisdom we have within us dictates that we adapt ourselves to the situation at hand?
I can't see it any other way. And, I am going to presume, if disaster befalls humanity, and we dharma practitioners find ourselves living in a wasteland, fighting for survival, then we might reflect back that we should have done a little more to protect the blessings that we enjoy now - not just for us and our practice, but for all living beings.
You write very well, and it seems that you have acquired deep insight and understanding of the path. But let me speak bluntly.
The circumstances that have allowed you to acquire such tremendous wisdom are circumstances created by the collective and dependent upon the collective. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are not hunting for food, you are not building your own shelter, you are not collecting wood to keep yourself warm, and the words you share with me here were not written on a computer built by you.
If disaster befalls humanity - and it could, it really, really could - then what of your practice? In-between struggling to survive, struggling to protect yourself and your loved ones... what and where is your practice? Are the conditions that you and I benefit so much from not worthy of our effort in protecting? Do we not have some responsibility to the collective that has given us these conditions? Do we not have a spiritual responsibility to do what we can with what we have to prevent suffering on a scale beyond all comprehension?
The Buddha put huge emphasis on the sanctity of all life. Not an ant is to be killed deliberately by us. So what of our karma for sitting on the sides doing nothing to stop a nuclear war that kills endless trillions of life forms? What of the karma for being blessed with insight and not sharing it to prevent such atrocities?
More than anything and more than at anytime, this world needs compassion and wisdom, and that requires its greatest advocate and proponents to step up and share it. Humanity doesn't need enlightenment right now, it just needs to prevent epic disaster. And personally, if that means sacrificing my own potential for higher spiritual practices in favour of addressing the fundamentals, then that seems to me to be the compassionate and wise thing to do.
Again, I don't think that the karma for sitting on the sidelines indulging our own practice whilst a planet is destroyed is going to be too helpful in our path towards enlightenment. If one day I find myself in front of the karmic God-mind being asked what I did with my blessings whilst countless trillions of living beings happiness and existence were on the line, I want to make sure that my answer is in alignment with compassion and wisdom, and not just the facade of it.
I'll ask once more, what does it mean to be compassionate and wise in these times? What does compassion in these times look like? What does compassion in these times do? What does wisdom in these times look like? What does wisdom in these times do?
I see where you are coming from, I too have been there...however...
To worry is to pay interest on trouble that may never come...
....and as one of my Dharma teachers once said the untamed mind will never run short of finding things to worry about, if there's no immediate problem, it will create one....
@mind at risk , you seem to be worrying about what could happen worst case scenario ...not what 'is' actually happening right now, so your worries are about that which does not exist right here & now and perhaps never will....
Bearing in mind you are not the only one who cares about our planet, there are no doubt millions if not billions of people who care and are actively in their own way, doing something about it...
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first (baby) step
To keep it simple and help those sentient beings in the community where you live who are in immediate need... and know that there are many other like minded people around the world who are doing the same....
....and from another post of yours
The fundamental immediate needs are food, clean drinking water and safe shelter...helping to provide this is part & parcel of my practice....
Charity begins at home and after a while it begins to spread further afield....
I don't think it is about worry per se, but about compassionate concern. Of course, it can be worry at times, and maybe that worry - if a motivating force - is reasonable. I don't think the Tibetans just sat there whilst the Chinese invaded because they didn't want to worry about 'what if'. No. They took pre-emptive action based very much on 'what if'. And so the Dalai Lama left.
I am sure it is the same in your life. I am sure there are many things that you pre-emptively address based on 'what if'. For example, 'what if' I don't go to work today, will I be able to pay my bills? 'What if' I quit my job, will I be able to provide for my children? Or even, 'what if' I stop my meditation practice to watch TV, will I still progress along the path?
Maybe the Buddha considered just sitting under a tree enjoying his blissful enlightenment, but 'what if' he could help others to achieve what he had achieved? We are deeply, deeply, deeply indebted to so many people living beings, past and very present, for the quality of life that we enjoy, and for the ability to even have a regular practice.
I don't insist upon the crop pickers to be enlightened before they provide me with food. But even in their mundane state, they still help me profoundly. I don't insist upon the doctor being enlightened before they treat me. But even in their mundane state, they still help me profoundly. I don't insist upon the construction workers to be enlightened before they build me a home. But even in their mundane state, they still help me profoundly.
In a time where there is so much potential for tremendous harm and suffering, and when we have been endowed with the incredible blessings of insight, awareness, wisdom and compassion - which you clearly hold in abundance - is it not correct on every conceivable level (should we first conceive) to address that which could cause such tremendous harm and suffering?
I mean, the Buddha got off his arse and did what he could. I think he stopped the odd battle, reformed that famous serial killer... he made an effort with the abilities he had to address mundane issues. He certainly did not shrug it off with 'well, that's their karma' because, as much as we reap what we sew, we can also have the karma to have helpers come to our rescue.
My point is simple. In a world where their is such potential for tremendous suffering, those who have any amount of capacity to be of assistance should be of assistance, and to their ultimate ability. In a path that takes in endless millions of lives and lessons, maybe the most spiritual thing that we can do is to sacrifice a little bit of what we want our path to be in order to be of necessary service to a much, much greater good.
If I am sitting in a park in deep meditation, is my karma greater for remaining in meditation whilst a young child is kidnapped, or for abandoning my meditation to help that child? If I'm walking along the street chanting, is my karma greater for persisting with my chatting as an elderly lady is about to be hit by a bus, or for abandoning my chanting to push her out of the way?
Basic wisdom dictates that in all parts of our lives we need to anticipate 'what if'. There is no way around that if we simply want to survive ourselves. I just don't see how there is any spiritual merit whatsoever in being blessed with wisdom and compassion and then electing not to use it to its highest potential to address such incredible potential harm.
The Buddha gave many discourses and from what I gather to people from all walks of life, in a way that they would understand....
You have great plans @mindatrisk, I admire your get up and go but I don't envy the task ahead of you...
May you have great success in your future quest...and may you not burn out along the way....
Be mindful and be safe...
@mindatrisk, as I understand things it wasn’t the Buddha’s intention that we min-max our karma. I believe he even said something to the extent that only a buddha was capable of fathoming karma’s exact working. The attempt to do so is likely to make you go a bit biffy.
From your writing I gather you are quite convinced of the rightness of your perceptions, very much like many other people on the internet. I hope it doesn’t prove to be an obstacle for you.
@mindatrisk There are many stories of monks trying to save beings. For example I read an account of a nun say that the monk where she was practicing spent a lot of his time shepherding animals or instincts to stay alive and be well. And they had assigned that duty to her.
Here you're talking about protecting from a global catastrophe right which I won't go into detail. But if it's appropriate to spend time saving insects or animals then I commend you for wanting/trying to save the whole ecosystem and all of the earth. That's a good thing to protect beings from suffering and is in line with the Buddhist teachings I feel. You could say it distracts from 'practice' but I think it could be a practice right? Particularly if it's your own choice.
Sometimes we zzz through our own karmic loop. We do not widen our way of perception. The hell realms and purelands and enlightenment and ignorance, duality, oneness and great spacious purity reside within ... and hence we are without.
That is the value of the Bodhi Buddha awakening.
I think that if you found yourself living in a nuclear fall-out, or enduring a WW3, or knowing that you left a planet with irreversible environmental catastrophe for your children and grandchildren to inherit, then you too might think that what I say is right!
I'm not saying anything controversial. I am sure you agree that all of the above should be addressed - for the benefit of ourselves and for all living beings. What we seem to disagree on is our own individual roles within all of this.
My personal view is that those who have the greatest capacity for wisdom and compassion are those with the greatest responsibility for sharing it. I understand that Buddhism does not have a tradition of engaging too much with such social issues. And the reasoning I understand and agree with... in 'normal' times.
You see, the above conditions have never existed for humanity. War in the Buddha's time was not what war is or can be now. And environmental destruction?! It probably wasn't even conceived as possible. This is a very unique time. Perhaps pivotal.
My suggestion is that, if you want what is best for your path, then engaging and using what you have that can be helpful is what is best for your path. And if what you want is what is best for all living beings - the essence of the Buddha's teachings - then all that I suggest is an absolute given.
It's an individual choice. I cannot reason any better than this. I can't explain my thought process any more clearly. It seems that it is not enough. So be it.
I hope that the task ahead of me only requires arousing the good to do good. Because if it is just that then humanity has no problems. If the task ahead of me is me attempting to do good whilst others choose not to, then yes, my task is an enviable one indeed.
Everything is practice. What we do is a sideshow, but how we do it is what determines our progress along the path.
Can you explain your point a little bit more...
Certainly. What is unclear?
Just your words! I know you are a creature of brevity, and usually I get the point you make, but not this time.
I think it is pivotal either way. We don't need destruction for it to be pivotal. We can be mature, recognise the danger signs, and prevent before disaster. Given what would be entailed in humanity maturing, I think this time is pivotal no matter what. And I am not a fan of that kind of oblique, vague wisdom. I get it, and it has a place, but sometimes we just need to be sensible. I don't want to start smoking crack because 'perhaps it's bad, perhaps not'. You know? We don't live our own lives in this manner, and I don't think we should subject the lives of others to this manner.
In the greater scheme of things perhaps this is not a pivotal period. There have been studies about how long it would take for the earth to return to normal if there were no more humans, and it was a surprisingly short period in geological time.
No more humans is not a good thing!
Hmmm. I wonder what all of this is about. Do you guys just see the situation as hopeless? Do you see yourselves as caring and concerned, but ultimately powerless in the face of human craziness? Do you see it as ultimately irrelevant?
I don't quite understand. I know that our practice is the most important thing. But then, not every one of Buddha's lives was just meditation. Not at all. He had many spiritual lessons, many challenges to overcome. I see this as ours.
If our karma has dictated that we be born here and now, then don't we need to consider the spiritual context of why we are here and now? Why not be born on a peaceful woodland planet if our task is just to meditate?
I'm sure we all see many things that happen in our personal lives as lessons and challenges to enable our growth. But why not the wider world context? I guess our brains are new to global thinking. Our evolution took in family, community, then civilisation. Maybe we are just not ready to think on the global level.
Yet all the tools are there. Most of us are connected with most others. It's so achievable to share, connect and influence on a global level, and so many of you have the chops to do that.
It's a real puzzle to me. It seems easier to inspire regular folk to make a difference then those who actively practice compassion. So weird!
Imagine if all of the Buddhists of the world, with all of that compassion and wisdom gained, just stepped out into the world for ten years - continued with their practice, of course, but just got involved at whatever level suited them... organised, focused, and dedicated to just stabilising this planet for all of the generations to come. So much could be achieved, and I think so much growth attained on an individual level.
This 'step out into the world' does happen. A lot.
As @Kerome mentions the end of humanity (unlikely but possible) is also unlikely to end sentient beings throughout the multiverse.
I like humans. A lot. Imminent destruction is when they excel.
So let us excel, my lobster!
Ceasing from evil, doing only good & a purifying the heart/mind
describes some transcendence of our karmic conditioning.
When the human traits of self righteousness appear
the path towards suffering's cessation lies elsewhere.
Lol. I see what you are saying, but I am not self-righteous at all. I am trying to understand why the good people do not wish to do good in a world of so much suffering. The responses I get, including yours, seem to be a lot of excuses to wriggle out of taking responsibility. A lot of pretty words, that is true, but how much else?
A case in point... The Dalai Lama is not an enlightened being. In fact he is a monk, more dedicated to his practice than anyone here. And yet he has worked tirelessly for the Tibetan cause for 50-60 years. He hasn't made excuses. He hasn't waited for enlightenment. But he has done what he can to help those he is responsible for and who are suffering. His compassion is in action. Is his example not good enough? Is he not someone to observe and take notes from?
Well then, since you seem so intent on setting the right example, feel free to tell us what practical, effective things you have been doing lately.
Citing the Dalai Lama is all very well, and he does make good use of his exalted position. But I think very few ordinary people would be able to have that level of impact, especially with limited financial means.
I am missing...
How you are ascertaining that anyone doesn't or isn't wishing to do as much good as you do or think they should?
How anyone thinks that the most reasonable means for addressing the suffering of others can be achieved without first showing some mastery over ones own suffering?
How frequently we all see the wish to help others become the excuse for not equally trying to address the harder work of taking responsibility for our own?
How little this conversation is helping anyone?
In the end, meditation can illuminate the fallacy of anyone being able to suffer or alleviate any suffering, in isolation from anyone else.
When I've found myself charging at a windmill as a sacred duty, sometimes the most help that I ended up providing has occurred by understanding how much of that charge was actually against that windmill and how much was really just my means of charging away from a much more scary opponent within.
I'm not concerned with what action is taken, just that we are deliberate in taking action... that we have the intent to do good in the world to the best of our ability. I'm not saying to be a Gandhi or a Dalai Lama, but just to be active to your fullest potential. I say this to people like you because you clearly have wisdom, insight, understanding, awareness... in other words, you have a lot to give. Only you can answer as to whether you are giving to your fullest potential. Maybe you are. Maybe you already do the best that you can with what you have. But I suspect not based on the responses I've had here. It's your choice. I just can't see how there is any excuse to not do our very best in a time of such turmoil and potential peril. Surely we would all deeply regret not having done all that we can if the worst happens?
I'm sorry, but none of this is true. Your suffering is relieved every single day by countless very mundane beings who just give what they can - not even necessarily with the intent to do good, and yet good is done.
The home you live in... did you build it? Did you wait for an enlightened constructor before living in it? Does that home not relieve your suffering in tremendous ways? Your doctor... enlightened? Your teachers at school... enlightened? The supermarket workers... enlightened? All of these mundane (by which I simply mean 'not enlightened' for the sake of this discussion) individuals - and countless more - are relieving your suffering over and over and over again.
So yes, I understand the need to address ourselves. This is a given. But it does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that there is nothing that we can do in the meantime to be of service, to relieve suffering, to spread goodness, to help others.
If you feel that you do this to the best of your ability, then fantastic. But when we are in a very rarified position to have the immense blessing to be conscious of the dharma then surely we are duty bound to use that blessing to the highest possible degree to bless others in turn in whatever way that we can.
Perhaps you missed my placement of the word "fallacy"in my posting?
So you just decide to jump in with a number of strongly worded motivational posts, based on a ‘suspicion’. Seems rather gung-ho to me, I have to say. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how best to serve the world, and I believe it is a very hard task to know someone well enough to assess their talents and say whether they are being used to their maximum capacity.
Many are doing just that. There is the Earth Holder Community, One Earth Sangha and others like them raising awareness for social injustice and climate control. That's one thing this virus has done for us is made us more aware of our interconnectedness.
There is this new interactive format called Waterbear that I really like the sound of (I like Tardigrades) so far. It isn't exactly Buddhist but hey.
My point is that there are a lot of Buddhist movements out there doing what you suggest but we all need to make a living too so sometimes the best we can do is make sure we practice right livelihood and/or at least do something genuinely helpful every day.
Besides the big movements there are so many little things we can do for each other and they really do add up.
No. You assess you. You assess whether you are fulfilling your potential. None of you have made the very simple, natural response...
Yeah, I agree. There's a lot of suffering in the world and with this immense blessing of the dharma in our lives, we really should be doing our best to help relieve it.
It's just excuse after excuse after excuse. None of which you truly believe, none of which makes sense, and none, if push came to shove, you'd even act on.
If you were a good German in the 1930's...
'Sorry, can't bring Jews into my house to protect them because I'm not enlightened'
'Sorry, can't shelter these Jewish children because it's their karma'
None of you believe this stuff! None of you live like this already! If the suffering came to your door then you'd break your back to help. But you going to the suffering... that seems to be a point of resistance. That's when the pretty 'wisdom' kicks in. The quotes, the paraphrases, the cosmology. All of which sounds like fancy justifications for apathy.
You're lucky your dharma teachers don't hold the same attitude. You're blessed that they reach out with books and classes and online resources. They know you are suffering and they extend their hand the best way that they can. No trips to the jungle for you.
No, but again, is this further justification for not helping? It sounds to me like your post is simply saying that you need to sort yourself out before helping.
And I don't particularly want to motivate you. I want to understand. I want to understand why goodness in general is so passive. Look at the 20th century. Look at all of the atrocities. Because that is us. That is current human nature, and that is the potential for our world again. Now, if we let the world destabilise to the degree of a Germany or Russia or China (and many others in the 20th century) then it becomes almost impossible for good people to maintain the good.
So, really, what the world needs is for the good people to prevent such devastation, not react in desperate, small gestures when the evil is rampant. And I just don't understand why this is so difficult. I'd appreciate honest answers. I'm happy to admit that there have been times when my life is comfortable and I don't really feel like stepping up to the plate. Maybe that is it? Maybe you all have good lifestyles and don't want to upset that. I really don't know.
You know about the bombing of Dresden, yeah? The people there thought that they would never be bombed because of the cultural status of their city. So they just continued enjoying their lives. The allies dropped leaflets telling all Germans 'look, if you don't do something to stop the Nazis then we are going to bomb you until you do'. But they just cracked on with their art galleries and coffee bars and pretty prose.
Then one night the bombs start to drop on them, and the next thing they know they are jumping into the river to escape the inferno only to find themselves and their children boiling alive such is the intensity of the inferno. I wonder if in that moment they thought 'hmmm, maybe we should have done something to prevent this?' We all live much closer to this kind of reality than we dare admit. I wonder what it will take before you all think 'I really wish I had done something to stop this'.
No, my thinking that one should put as much effort into addressing the source of one's own suffering as one puts into addressing the suffering of others is very much different than choosing to address one over the other.. but you seem to be repeatedly hearing only what you want out of any of this threads postings.
This is a troll like.
Ironically, whatever has caused you to be so angry, while not addressed, is a pretty good example of the limitation & hubris of choosing to address the sufferings of others before being willing to face your own.
Why do you think I am angry? Why do you think this is trolling? Again, I'm sorry, but I think this is more excuses, and more justifications. You can't satisfactorily answer my questions, and so you revert to attacking me. Now I am a troll, now I am angry, now I have issues, so in your mind are justified in ignoring what I am saying. Forget about me. Just respond to put my points. It doesn't matter if I am frothing with rage, it doesn't matter if I am deliberately winding you all up for shits and giggles, it doesn't matter if I am crazy and mentally unstable... Do the points that I make have merit or not? And if they do not, then provide your counter-arguments. But attacking me only reveals the insecurity in your position and in your thinking. I think you can do a lot better than that.
I can't ... or don't care to.
You are not smart enough to answer your question. No reason why any of us should be any smarter ...
I think I know the answer.
I think goodness is mundane in our lives... it's the normal course of things. Most human interaction is relatively decent and civilisation, and only infrequently punctuated by some degree of violence. And I think we all see ourselves as fundamentally good and decent, and for the most part live our lives in this manner. It's difficult for us to accept that the very goodness that we express with positive, harmonising results in our daily lives is lacking in another context, and it's difficult for us to accept a sense of responsibility or duty to a much wider context when for millions of years there has been no need to.
All of us have a sense of duty to family because it is hard-wired into our genetics. A lot of us have a sense of duty to community because it has become more wired into our genetics since we began to live in larger tribes and communities. But what is happening beyond our sight in other lands, I think, is very hard for us to feel connected to or responsible for. And that makes sense.
The problem we have is that the way that the world has developed, our inter-connectivity is such that we are all responsible for all of it because all of it can impact us. And the impact is of such tremendous potential magnitude that the only reasonable, sensible, concerned course of action is to prevent it.
Somehow human beings need to think differently. I guess we are moving into an evolutionary phase of global thinking, but are very much in transition. We are simply not yet evolved to think in the manner that the situation requires. We are very much local level concerned because that's all we ever needed to be. Not anymore.
So irrespective of whether I am thought of as an angry, unstable troll, actually, I really just want to understand, and especially understand the obstacles to a global mind, and to living and acting with the same concern for the whole planet as we do for the local. I think the only honest answer that any of us can give to my questions is...
I don't care
And from there maybe we have a chance to rewire our minds to care.
If I were you, I wouldn’t spend so much time projecting. You don’t know what we do to help others, you’re basing what you are saying just on some image of the meditating Buddhist that you hold in your mind. What do you know of how I help maintain my parents, the volunteering work I do, or the donations I make.
This is a sangha, a place where we share what wisdom we have, most of us are here to contribute to the community and try to answer the questions that people put in front of us. Just being here and adding with care and attention what wisdom you have is already making a positive contribution to all the noise on the internet. I don’t think it’s appropriate to make these kind of accusatory remarks and start insinuating that people here aren’t doing enough.
You seem to like to talk the talk, but I don’t see much sign of you yourself actually lifting a finger.
Accumulating and spreading wisdom is a very important part of Buddhism. I’d even go so far as to say it is the most important part. Much of the rest is idiot compassion, useful as far as it goes but really just temporary stopgaps which aid a person in the moment but don’t make a lasting change.
In a way it is trolling, you are being deliberately controversial and emotive in order to elicit a response. If you really were so concerned about doing good in the world you would be out there doing it, not “trying to understand”.
I've never said that you do not do anything. My responses have been to your own responses. As I said before, an obvious and natural response to my questions is...
_Yeah, I agree, there is a lot of suffering in the world, and in such perilous times it is so important that everyone does what they can. _
This is a normal, human response to the world situation at the moment. Instead, I got responses about 'other peoples karma', 'waiting to be enlightened' etc. and when I countered these with good arguments - and they are good arguments - I get 'well what do you do', 'you are trolling', 'you are angry', 'you need to grow' etc. etc.
You don't know who I am, and you don't know what I do. But many of you see fit to insult me on the basis of a discussion - a discussion that is not personal to any one of you, but a discussion about the state of the world and our responsibilities within it.
I haven't said that you or anyone here does not do good. I haven't even said that you don't do enough good - how would I know? I've just challenged what you consider to be wise responses that, to me, having gaping gaps and contradictions in them, and that, in the real world, you don't even adhere to yourselves.
You guys seem extremely sensitive to being challenged, to being asked questions, to having your wisdom countered. Rather than engaging in a discussion, considering points I've made, thinking things through, exploring ideas, some of you simply start to jab a finger at me. What is this?
Have I said nothing at all of any merit? Have I said nothing worthy of consideration? Have any of you replied with a simple 'fair point'...? Buddhism has a rich tradition of extreme scrutiny, meticulous examination, ripping apart everything that we believe and think to find out what is real and true.
It seems like here is much as the rest of the world is becoming. Safe spaces where we are free from being challenged, free from having our views questioned, patting each other on the back, telling each other how wise we are. I'm sorry, but this is not the path. And if you want a genuine sangha where people come to receive genuine wisdom, then you are utterly duty bound to tear apart your own ideas and thoughts before you presume to share them with others.
I'm sorry, but you are all falling far below par based on this discussion here. I don't come to teach. I come to discuss, learn and grow. It would be nice if that didn't involve being insulted, but so be it, I can handle that. This forum is dead compared to the last time I was here a few years ago. Maybe you all need to think about the kind of 'sangha' it is that you are creating.
This is nonsense. You want to meditate to enlightenment before acting, but you want me to act without understanding? And what is wrong with being controversial? What is wrong with being emotive? It's like none of you live in the world. There is no feeling, no heart. These things MATTER. And the best most of you can do is reduce everything to meme wisdom. And then if someone says that your meme wisdom doesn't really add up, then you get upset and insult them.
If what you want is a safe space, then you can have it. If you want a little group of you patting each other on the back then you can have it. But don't be surprised when this forum dries up for good. Real life is tough, painful, gritty, dirty, and people are going to bring it here looking for answers. They are going to have questions, and when you share your wisdom, they are going to challenge it because life is not that simple and easy.
Really, this place use to thrive. It was active and buzzing. I've been here what must be close to ten years, and still I get called a 'troll'? I think you guys need to think very carefully about your contributions here. This discussion is an embarrassment.
I can understand what you're saying (well, not your last post, that is embarrassing) but also I think @How is quite astute and that others objections to the route you're taking here is valid. You are here calling people out and acting like you are better than. You deserve better and frankly, so do we.
I have to say, there are some very insightful posts on this thread and I do personally thank you for bringing some of it out but I feel like it may be coming at your expense and that isn't a nice feeling sometimes.
There are a lot of good people out there helping. If you can't find one, be one.
I won’t say the discussion is without merit, although it would have been better in its own thread. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with a bit of challenge and some lively repartee. But in the above sentence you’re basically calling people here hypocrites and you don’t even seem to notice it, and then you get indignant when we respond to the criticism. The Buddhist approach would be to suggest re-reading some of the sutra’s on right speech, but it doesn’t seem your style.
Some much wiser people than you or I have said “the greatest gift you can give to the world is your own enlightenment”, and I can see the truth in that. Delusion, ignorance, wrong beliefs are something none of us will shed until then.
In all honesty your posts may not have started out this way but it does seem like you're now arguing just for arguments sake, to win a few brownie points and not so much to help those who are really suffering...
When this is all said and done...I and no doubt others will carry on doing what we've been doing which is helping others as best as we can... and I hope that you will too...
Bearing in mind ...One can't always get want one wants, but one will always get what one needs...There's a lesson to be learnt in all this...
Isn't conditioning the mind to enlightenment the entire point of the exercise?