Is Death the End?

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jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 02:56 am
@William,
Nevertheless it is the case that in Buddhism, and in the Oriental view of life generally, there is an understanding that the actions in this life create the result in the future life. You might not see a future life as 'my' life, and maybe it isn't. But nevertheless, the circumstances that have arisen in this life have come from somewhere. Either we have been thrust into it, and everything has just happened to us, or it is the result of previous intentional actions. If this is the case, the consequences may not always be desirable, but at least we are responsible for what happens. Otherwise we are just 'victims of laughing chance' (to quote sage Donald Fagen.)
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:01 am
@William,
I have no objection to that. It can be interpreted in many ways, like anything. Obviously you are far more exposed to that tradition. I'm glad you share it. We've all walked different roads to get right here right now. I was once a believer in the afterlife in a bad way. I was scared of Hell as a child. An infinity of torment! What a sick thought!

So it was something of a relief to drop God, even if I felt I had to drop the afterlife at the same time. I suppose I didn't have to, but I did. Perhaps it was a leap of anti-faith. I wanted the coherent view offered by science and psychology. Obviously I now see philosophy as prior to either, and something else as more important than philosophy....we do agree that concept isn't everything, I think.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 04:05 am
@William,
Actually one of the reasons I was drawn towards Buddhism was the fact that if these realms of other existence are true, they are not permanent. I never liked the christian notion of hell being a place of eternal torment. It seems a little harsh to condemn a being for such a minor thing as not accepting it was created by some vaguely veiled creator. If it is true that there is some veiled creator and that is the punishment for not accepting it, then by all means that god would not be worthy of my praise nor acceptance. So I would gladly accept torment rather than to submit to such a god.

Buddhism had a different aspect to this concept. It stated that only a being would reside in such a place until their karma debt ended. The condition for arising there would change and eventually all beings would arrive at enlightenment given enough time. So even the most wicked of humans would eventually have the opportunity to arrive at nirvana. No one left out for any reason. It is all just a matter of time. If you exist for ever, then time is not an issue.

I still don't think this is how it works though even despite my acceptance of it over the former. It is far more logical to consider that a being in hell, is not there permanently. I can accept those terms if they were true.

The way I see human existence is that we aren't handed the rule book. We have absolutely no idea what we should be doing or not doing. Sure some theists will try to claim that the bible is that rule book. But I object because the rules contained in it are some of the most superficial rules I have ever heard. "That shalt not worship any other gods." Seriously? Is this the best set of rules you could come up with? I can think of about a dozen far better one's than that. Thal shalt keep the holy day holy? What the hell? You have got to be kidding me.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 04:35 am
@William,
That is true, none of the realms are permanent, although the traditional stories indicate that the lengths of time involved are quite cosmic, in human terms. In traditional Indian artwork, the Buddhist hells are chillingly similar to medieval Western depictions of the same. (But heaven and hell are also simply projections of reward and punishment as you are probably well aware.)

I don't know if I agree about the existence of rules. I mean, as a child, whatever they were, I continually broke them, and got into more trouble than anyone else at school. But such considerations have never motivated my spiritual search. For me it was never a matter of keeping rules or breaking them, but achieving an outcome, which requires a discipline. Sounds like business I guess, that is just my conditioning.

---------- Post added 05-30-2010 at 08:38 PM ----------

also, I guess the whole Buddhist attitude is different, and better, than the fearful idea of the stern father who is going to send you to hell. that is a profoundly unhealthy outlook on life, in my view. Buddhists know they are fundamentally responsible for their own fate. 'By oneself one is purified, by oneself defiled'.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 04:50 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170715 wrote:
Nevertheless it is indubitable that the Buddhist understanding (and Indian tradition generally) takes the cycle of birth and death for granted. In all of the accounts of the Buddha's awakening, it is explicitly stated that he recalled his previous existences, down to the last detail, and for many thousands of lifetimes, immediately prior to his enlightenment. The absence of the substantial self is understood by the analogy of 'passing the torch'. It is also understood in terms of the difference between relative and ultimate truth. The interpretation of 'anatta', no-self, is actually a pretty subtle matter.


I have studied these past life stories. I find it interesting that the Buddha would first say that pondering the past is not fruitful but then turn around and tell these stories? It begs the question then. If you are not suppose to ponder your past, these stories actually promote doing so. Because inevitably people will start to wonder once they hear these stories, what they did in their past. So I am led to believe that these tales were added later as a way to promote karmic retribution and were not original teachings from the Buddha.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

It is true that to practice Buddhism, a belief in an afterlife is not required, in that the results are visible 'here and now'. In that sense, it is perfectly applicable as a secular philosophy with no such beliefs. On the other hand, in the traditional view, the denial of the afterlife is regarded as nihilism. The theory of karma does not make sense without re-birth (for where are the fruits of one's deeds to be realised?)


But think about it for a second. We don't have any knowledge right now that we have had previously lives. So all those lives are basically useless for us. We can't access those memories or lessons so they do us absolutely no good. But if upon nearing enlightenment or awakening you get to glimpse these past lives, it is practically just as worthless because if you are already that close to awakening before you gain access then you never even needed to know these past life things. It would be far more beneficial to a person who is the farthest away from enlightenment, not someone right next to it. So past lives don't help you in any way so you can't use a term like "fruits of one's deeds to be realized." You can't draw the connections. You can't see in any way that the experiences you are having are the result of some past life. It becomes meaningless.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

I would think most Asian Buddhists would take re-birth for granted. It is very difficult for modern people to accept. I personally have an open mind about it. I also don't kid myself that it is something easy to understand either so I am not coming to any firm conclusions one way or the other.


I honestly think that the concept of rebirth is actually a cushion to soften the blow for those just entering into Buddhism. What I mean by this is, that Buddhism tends to go against the grain of what people want to do. So if Buddhism just came right out and handed you all the truths at the same time, people would out right reject it without even giving it a chance. So certain things were allowed to soften the person up mentally so they wont be so off put by the truths that will ultimately come if you pursue the teachings. I see this a lot in many Buddhist teachers. They to open the door as wide as possible and not leave anyone out. They don't necessarily lie, they just don't honestly reveal the absolute until far later. This is so no one turns away before they have heard what they need to hear.

The things that most people do not want to hear is that once they are dead, they are dead and they will never do anything ever again. It frightens them, they simply refuse to accept it. So to soften the blow they teach the dharma of rebirth as a way to ease the thoughts of those who can't yet accept the truth.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

Very important point. Why is it a contradiction in terms? According to the teaching, the Buddha is one 'for whom the burden is ended, done is what has to be done, there is no further re-birth'. That part is perfectly clear and not at all equivocal. You may choose not to believe it, but that is what it says. As to whether the Buddha exists or does not exist past his 'pari-nirvana', that is exactly the kind of 'speculation' that the teaching warns against.


It is a contradiction because the statement of being the master of both life and death. Could the Buddha decide to take another birth? According to how I understand he, he could. But if that is the case, what prevents the Buddha from falling back into the trap of Samara? It would seem that if you can decide to be born or not born, then by all means you could ultimately end right back up in samsara.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

One name for the Buddha is 'tathagata', 'Gone thus'. Gone, gone, gone beyond.


Are you sure this is correct? I thought Tathagata was the "thus come one" and "gone" is actually "gate"

Gate gate para gate para sum gate bodhi svaha is;

gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, awaken.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

You might be thinking of the Mahayana view that Nirvana and Samsara are not ultimately different?


The way I see it, samsara is nirvana but viewed incorrectly. Nirvana is samsara viewed correctly.

jeeprs;170715 wrote:

I don't think that is the teaching of impermanence, I think it is nihilism. The traditional belief is that there are six realms of being. Modern Westerners often choose not to accept that which is of course their perogative.


Well you could go back to the water in the river analogy. If what continues is the water in the river, then by all means that water never remains in any one place for any length of time. It returns to the ocean, evaporates, becomes clouds, flies through the sky, falls back to the ground in the form of rain or snow. Makes it's way down the sides of mountains and hills and ultimately ends up, back in the ocean again. Is the water ever the same? No, in many cases it is completely new thing. Does it remember being in it's previous state? No, but if it doesn't remember than it is completely pointless and canceled out then.

If you can't have access to your past lives, then they are as if you never had them. Useless.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:28 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;170764 wrote:
I have studied these past life stories. I find it interesting that the Buddha would first say that pondering the past is not fruitful but then turn around and tell these stories? It begs the question then. If you are not suppose to ponder your past, these stories actually promote doing so. Because inevitably people will start to wonder once they hear these stories, what they did in their past. So I am led to believe that these tales were added later as a way to promote karmic retribution and were not original teachings from the Buddha.


You may find it strange, then, that people do have memories of previous lives. Ian Stevenson documented many accounts of children who recalled their previous existence. I don't want to make a big deal out of that, but I am sure it happens. I once had a vivid memory from a previous existence. There was no 'content' but a definite awareness. It was transient, though.

As for the Buddha's stories of past lives, are you referring to 'the Jataka tales', which are the legendary 'past lives of Buddha'? These are indeed legends that grew up around the Buddha. The canonical account of the recall of past lives prior to the enlightenment is a different matter though.

You're right in saying dwelling on the past (or future for that matter) is not fruitful. But nevertheless it is impossible to form an accurate picture of the Buddhist outlook without the sense of the 'causal chain'. It is simply part of the landscape

I don't think I rely on the fact that there are lives beyond this one - both before it and after. I can't deny that I believe it, but I do acknowledge it is culturally foreign.

Krumple;170764 wrote:
It is a contradiction because the statement of being the master of both life and death. Could the Buddha decide to take another birth? According to how I understand he, he could. But if that is the case, what prevents the Buddha from falling back into the trap of Samara? It would seem that if you can decide to be born or not born, then by all means you could ultimately end right back up in samsara.


The state of the Buddha past this life is one of the undetermined questions. That kind of thinking is what is regarded as speculation. So I guess I agree that trying to work out how all this kind of thing actually works is speculative. We really don't know. I am sure that it is not knowable at all, and furthermore, it doesn't matter in the sense that whatever you do now will dictate the outcome anyway, even if there isn't one, if you know what I mean

Krumple;170764 wrote:
Are you sure this is correct? I thought Tathagata was the "thus come one" and "gone" is actually "gate"

Gate gate para gate para sum gate bodhi svaha is;

gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, awaken.



tathagata means both 'thus come' and 'thus gone'. It was the term used by the Buddha when speaking of himself.


Krumple;170764 wrote:
The way I see it, samsara is nirvana but viewed incorrectly. Nirvana is samsara viewed correctly.


Quite right, but a very profound truth and hard to fathom. "Samsara is nirvana grasped, nirvana is samsara released" - but this grasping and releasing takes place on a very deep level of one's being. But this is essentially a Mahayana view, the Theravada would not see it this way.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:40 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170774 wrote:
Quite right, but a very profound truth and hard to fathom. "Samsara is nirvana grasped, nirvana is samsara released" - but this grasping and releasing takes place on a very deep level of one's being. But this is essentially a Mahayana view, the Theravada would not see it this way.


How can it be both ways? How could one hold a view that the other does not? Sounds like to me an inconsistency. Especially if Mahayana comes from the same source as Theravadin.

I remember reading once where Sariputra got hit on the head by a stone but he didn't even bother to figure out what happened or why because he had already abandoned the notion of a self who was experiencing existence.

It seems rather strange to enter into such a state. You wouldn't be concerned over anything then if that is the level of your state. Why would you eat? Isn't eating giving rise to the notion of a self, or a body requiring nutrients for living? Would you go search for a place to lay down to rest? Wouldn't this give rise to the notion of a self requiring sleep? The list goes on and on. Just the very fact of the Buddha opening his mouth and uttering words must give rise to the notion of a self and or others. Otherwise why didn't he just sit in one place and ramble off the Dharma even if no one was around to hear it? It seems to me if he truly had abandoned the notion of a self, then there wouldn't have been any wandering around. He had to give rise to the notion of a self, so that he could actually speak the Dharma, without this notion, there would be absolutely no reason or need or motivation to even say a single sound.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:46 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;170778 wrote:
How can it be both ways? How could one hold a view that the other does not? Sounds like to me an inconsistency. Especially if Mahayana comes from the same source as Theravadin.


It is a deep question. I can recommend some reading on it if you like. Buddhism is not one homogenous spiritual culture. It has vast internal differences. However for the most part, these never lead to strife, unlike in the West.

Krumple;170778 wrote:
I remember reading once where Sariputra got hit on the head by a stone but he didn't even bother to figure out what happened or why because he had already abandoned the notion of a self who was experiencing existence.


I would be very surprised if that were true.

Krumple;170778 wrote:
It seems rather strange to enter into such a state. You wouldn't be concerned over anything then if that is the level of your state. Why would you eat? Isn't eating giving rise to the notion of a self, or a body requiring nutrients for living? Would you go search for a place to lay down to rest? Wouldn't this give rise to the notion of a self requiring sleep? The list goes on and on. Just the very fact of the Buddha opening his mouth and uttering words must give rise to the notion of a self and or others. Otherwise why didn't he just sit in one place and ramble off the Dharma even if no one was around to hear it? It seems to me if he truly had abandoned the notion of a self, then there wouldn't have been any wandering around. He had to give rise to the notion of a self, so that he could actually speak the Dharma, without this notion, there would be absolutely no reason or need or motivation to even say a single sound.


This is all speculation. It is not like that at all in practice. 'Awakening' or whatever one calls it, is never like what one imagines it to be. One's imagination can only extrapolate from its current circumstances. When awakening does occur, the circumstances change.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:57 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170780 wrote:
It is a deep question. I can recommend some reading on it if you like. Buddhism is not one homogenous spiritual culture. It has vast internal differences. However for the most part, these never lead to strife, unlike in the West.



I would be very surprised if that were true.


Yeah this is a saying I have often about a lot of things.


jeeprs;170780 wrote:

This is all speculation. It is not like that at all in practice. 'Awakening' or whatever one calls it, is never like what one imagines it to be. One's imagination can only extrapolate from its current circumstances. When awakening does occur, the circumstances change.


Yeah but then I am reminded by zen and dogen. Before enlightenment, fetch water and split wood. After enlightenment fetch water and split wood.

I think it is a mistake to believe that there is some mystical thing that happens. I personally just see it as a new perspective, one that was not so clear previously but is after the fact. The only change is in how you react to the rest of your experiences. You don't react to them in the same way because your motivation for existence has changed.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:14 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;170692 wrote:
Biochemical process. The I just believes itself to be a substantial thing. But it is a mistake because cognition has this as a side effect. There is no "I". You never existed before, you don't exist now, and you won't exist in the future. The only thing that is happening is cognition believing itself to be a real being but it is an illusion.



No, because they way in which you think you exist now requires huge amounts of energy. You think this energy is just going to magically be there in the future when you don't have a body? That is what is so funny when people discuss this topic. Everything that you think you are now, could not even be after this life ends. Are you going to keep the same hair cut? Are you going to keep the same age? Are you going to speak your native language? Are you going to have you same job, career? Are you going to have the same habits? It's a big no to all that. So everything that you think you are now, could not even be.


This seems to be more in line with the idea of "life after death", but of course postulating that there isn't one. I agree. The "I" cannot go on after death of the body. I happen to be in the camp that defines life based on the observable biological process, and consider biological death to be death, and no further life continues on for that "individual."

However, if you want to define life in the way that has been discussed at length since the above quoted post, largely in a Buddhist sphere, and say that life goes on in another form, that is certainly a viable viewpoint. We just dont know. Even if it does though, its not the "same" life. it can't truly be an "afterlife" for the "I" that is in this life (man that's a lot of quoted words). Without your brain, your body, your surroundings, "you" aren't anymore, even if some lifeforce persists. Its a different life, a different being, and doesn't really qualify as an afterlife of the old life in my book.

If on the other hand all your experiences and identity follow you past the expiration of your biology, then did you really even die? Let's say for example a very powerful race of beings, not god, but creatures from the future, go around time traveling. At the moment of the death of any body, they "download" all the experiences from that body and implant them into a fresh body of that individual in the far future in a perfect stabilized universe and that individual continues to experience life as themselves with their memories intact forever. Is this any different from the assumption that god or angels or something "supernatural" is doing it than to say its "physical" aliens? Is this heaven? Would you really be considered to have died in the first place, and does that qualify as "after" life.
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 11:19 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170567 wrote:
I never said that things can't exist without form. If you read what I wrote, you will find that I am referring to thought, emotion, sensation, and consciousness as they exist. I never said they don't exist. I am perfectly fine with things existing without form. You're previous post to which I was replying seemed to imply our inability to understand "where" thought is or what it is indicates that it contains elements other than a physical or biological process. I am merely stating that there is no reason to assume that there is anything going on beyond what is observable. There might be, but it is actually that for which we don't have evidence.


There is plenty of evidence for the existence of things that contain elements other than a physical or biological process and which are not observable. In fact, modern science demands they exist in order for their mathematics to work.

setzer9999;170567 wrote:
As for the faith issue, assuming that everything you know is based on faith is extremely similar to the argument that we don't actually know anything. Now that is a straw man argument. In order to discuss what is and isn't known, you must first make the assumption that you know anything. Otherwise, the conversation is indeed quite pointless as none of us know anything in that case.


I don't know why you would assume that everything you know is based on faith. That's sounds pretty stupid to me. Most of the things we know is based on experience and observation. That being said, almost everything you BELIEVE about science is based entirely on faith.


setzer9999;170567 wrote:
I do not have to have faith that an atom exists or that the sky is not an LCD screen. The models such that there are atoms and that there is a vaccuum of space are corroberated by the way other more readily observable objects behave, and independent interests have come to the same conclusion all over the globe. It isn't faith that makes me believe in the scientific discoveries of our species, its acceptance of that for which there is the MOST evidence. This acceptance is not faith. Just because I cannot be 100% certain of something doesn't mean I'm taking it on faith. I don't "believe" an atom exists, I operate under the premise that it is the most likely reality in order to navigate by my actions. It certainly might be the case that there is no such thing as an atom, but the evidence seems to greatly contradict this possiblity.


Actually, unless you have personally conducted the experiments yourself then your belief in the existence of an atom is based entirely on FAITH.

Whether your beliefs are based on the words of some perceived authority in a scientific journal or on the words of some perceived authority in a religious book, your belief is based on the words of another man alone which make them the exact same type of FAITH.

You have faith in the science because you have faith in the scientist. Just as you have faith in the religion because you have faith in the preacher. No difference. Now if you choose to follow the teachings of the scientist or the preacher and follow the proper rituals you will either have evidence for or against the science or religion. Then you will either know, continue in faith, or disregard.

Bit until then it is all the SAME FAITH


setzer9999;170567 wrote:
As to the last issue, of whether there is evidence of life after death, the fact that on organism outlives another is not evidence of continued life after death in an afterlife. It seems that this thread is about discussing that interpretatoin of life after death. If this thread was about organisms outliving one another, the argument would have been over long ago.


This is where you wanted to take the thread, so this is where it ended up. You assume that the life of one organism is differentiated from the life of another, and yet since we have no viable definition as to what life even is your assumption is weak at best. However, if you want to return to the topic of the thread , it is fine with me.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 12:36 pm
@William,
William;148063 wrote:
How many on this forum actually believe when you're dead your dead?
All that is you just disappears and that's all there is for you. No such thing as eternal life. Nothing about you continues. That's it!


The thread started with a question about whether "you" die when you die. It did not start with a question about lifeforce persisting. The interpretation of this being to ask if there is an afterlife in which "you" still exist in some intact way is more in line with this. If you want to posit that your "lifeforce" is more you than your experience of being alive, that is one thing, but it is quite a different interpretation of an afterlife, and you cannot experience it.

I didn't say that things don't exist outside biology. I said it sounded like you were indiciating that the fact that we can't determine if they do or not is a failing of our scientific understanding.

I hardly know where to begin on your comment about faith. You posit that we have to have faith to understand the science of the universe, yet you then state later that the idea you have to have faith to know anything is stupid. By the way, I said having to have faith to know anything is a straw man argument. I didn't support the position, I actually argued against it.

And as for having to "do the experiment" to discover the atom being the only way to know there is an atom... that is ridiculous. Doing the experiment is one way of acquiring this knowledge. Reading about it and reflecting upon it based on your experience of other things in the world around you more readily avaiable is a perfectly valid "experiment" that yields knowledge about the likelihood of the atoms existence.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:05 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170613 wrote:
and if it IS the end, we won't know then, either.

Yeah so it's all good, you wont know or if there is something else you will know, whatever the case may be.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:39 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;170785 wrote:

I think it is a mistake to believe that there is some mystical thing that happens


Dogen was a mystic, no question, and Soto Zen is a mystical practice. What is so scary about mystical experiences? What bothers you?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:47 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170967 wrote:
Dogen was a mystic, no question, and Soto Zen is a mystical practice. What is so scary about mystical experiences? What bothers you?


I don't really see dogen as a mystic. I think he leans back and forth on the truth because of how difficult it can be to accept it sometimes. He is incredibly intelligent and clever in finding ways to accommodate people from all points of view. So I think what you are referring to is just another method he uses to draw you in with, like catching a fish, you need some bait and that is what he is using as bait. Once you are on the hook he will reveal the truth to you which completely cancels even the bait. You can call it trickery or deception but it's not. It is away to go around a person's prejudice without them realizing it. Dogen was probably the best at this method that I have ever seen. It is probably why his work has lasted for so long as well.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:51 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;170764 wrote:

The things that most people do not want to hear is that once they are dead, they are dead and they will never do anything ever again. It frightens them, they simply refuse to accept it. So to soften the blow they teach the dharma of rebirth as a way to ease the thoughts of those who can't yet accept the truth.

I think this is crucial (and this is also in Hegel). The self-fetish! We are too in love with our dream of our most wonderful uber-unique self to see that those who came before and shall come after us are the same person at the core. It's one flame, but we obsess over the melting candle of the self. This is why I think an acceptance of death is directly related to compassion and forgiveness.
In this world, children die of cancer or bombs. That's terrible, obviously. But knowing/thinking/felling that all these bodies no matter how beautiful in their uniqueness are ultimately wax for the fire in any case...makes it easier to forgive. "Crunch all you want; we'll make more."

I say love the melting candle not just of one's self but also of others. That the self and the world are always and even logically one. This conversation right now is an interpenetration of "selves." Just like Schopenhauer saw, we have to feel/intuit that the self is the other is the self. But this must remain a metaphor, I say, because we know how humans like to make an idol of the letter and neglect the living (trans)personal reality....

Hope I'm not to manic here! Lots o sleep & coffee:)
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:57 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;170973 wrote:
I don't really see dogen as a mystic.


What are your sources on Dogen, and what do you think he said about the significance of Zazen?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 03:59 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;170757 wrote:

The way I see human existence is that we aren't handed the rule book. We have absolutely no idea what we should be doing or not doing. Sure some theists will try to claim that the bible is that rule book. But I object because the rules contained in it are some of the most superficial rules I have ever heard. "That shalt not worship any other gods." Seriously? Is this the best set of rules you could come up with? I can think of about a dozen far better one's than that. Thal shalt keep the holy day holy? What the hell? You have got to be kidding me.

I agree. No rule book that is not mixed with politics, with crowd control. Fido is really good on this issue. That values are "infinite." You can't successfully rationalize ethics, I don't think. Or not perfectly. I mean you can say don't kill and steal and that is great. But unless the heart gets to a certain place, what matter? And the words don't directly touch the keys of the heart.

"Thou shalt worship no other gods" I actually think there is a deeper meaning in this that is rarely thought. In the same commandment, I think, all images of God are forbidden. There is no god! Now that is obeying the first commandment. Make NO images. Not even a concept. And there are no other gods than No-God. I wonder if certain Jews ever played with this. Cantor the math man was into Jewish mysticism and used Aleph as his numeral. To have no image of God is to have a non-or-in-finite god. All concepts are closures, and already ripe for idolatry. Every concept is smaller than human reality. So atheism with the right twist is even possibly the ideal religion. Who'd a thought?Smile
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 05:35 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;170981 wrote:
What are your sources on Dogen, and what do you think he said about the significance of Zazen?


Well mostly from the shobogenzo but I have also studied a few of his other works as well. Some comes from second hand sources as well, from teachers I have met within the zen schools I have visited. Bits and pieces of things that I have picked up along the way.

My personal perspective on zazen is very simplistic.

"When you are sitting you can't be killing."

This of course is meant to be more metaphorical than literal. If you are not creating new karma then that is less karma you will need to account for. If you are doing proper zazen then you won't be creating an unnecessary karma that you would need to account for.

Is this the only purpose? No. But to say that there is one specific purpose of zazen would be a huge mistake.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:47 pm
@Reconstructo,
It's interesting, but not 'off,' that such embedding has occurred on such a subject as the OP presents, but, if I may be allowed one spot of 'off-topic here' here, I'd like to simple insert the following:

[indent]
Reconstructo;170982 wrote:
"Thou shalt worship no other gods" I actually think there is a deeper meaning in this that is rarely thought.


I know this was raised by Krumple firstly, but the extra here caused me to quote this one. Actually, there is a very realistic reason for this, and it is sovereign solidification of the Israeli kingdom of Davidic times (with some Second Temple period scribal text adjustments very likely). They went from polytheism to monotheism, and the later group had to make it clear to the common folk that they couldn't do that any more--and this was to secure national solidity for the ruling class, as well. It is likely incorrect to see any deeper meaning in the decrees. [/indent]

OK..that's all.
 
 

 
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