Author Topic: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings  (Read 1382 times)

Offline Arkena

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New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« on: October 03, 2018, 10:16:39 am »
I met an old aquentance today, a new ager who has dabbled in several belief systems and not really progressed with them but seems stuck in delusion upon delusion.

He told me today he wasnt sure reality or this world were real...he meant this in a very literal sense not in an advanced sense. Ie he has turned the sentence "the world is an illusion" into new age nonsense that denies the existence of himself, reality, matter, consciousness etc.

I said to him there are two levels of teachings on reality:

The lower literal teaching: "reality is real, the world is real, consciousness is real"
No explanation needed...matter exists.

The higher teaching: "the world is an illusion"...i talked about how one meaning of this is that through anger,hatred,fear, depression we experience these things and it shapes reality before our eyes and fools us into thinking this is how the world is rather than this is how we are.

Another way the world is "not" real i did not mention but occured to me later was through its "impermanence"...matter has no fixed state and only appears in a fixed state in a moment or from our short perspectives.

He said "yes the two teachings are a paradox" ...i said something like: no, they are just two views of the same thing. The first teaching is like the nail of your finger the second teaching like the rest of your finger. I wish id said the second bit but that only occured to me afterwards lol

Essentially we are talking about new agers appropriating eastern concepts...not understanding them and misrepresenting what they mean. Instead of finding liberation they just find a belief system that denies the existence of themselves and the world in a very literal sense. So they just find something to believe in rather than the true deeper meaning that points to reality.

They have no structured texts or teachings to help them understand buddhist concepts. They just use and abuse buddhist phrases to mean whatever they want them to mean. because they recognise no authority on the snippets of philosophy they do borrow they are totally ignorant of what these mean.

This acquaintance is severely delusional and not mentally healthy and goes on about his "psychic powers" and never being wrong because of them. (An example of pursuing powers for their own sake to the detriment of ones sanity i fear).

I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

Not grounded in reality is one thing that occurs for me to say about such people...

Offline Chaz

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 08:04:39 am »

I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

They can do whatever they like with what they find in the Buddha's teaching.  I do.  You do.  Everyone does. 

Quote
Not grounded in reality is one thing that occurs for me to say about such people...

I like what the Dalai Lama says:  "People just want to be happy."

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 09:37:35 am »
I have the same problem. I'm really good at seeing other folk's faults (like tribalism) but not so good when it comes to my own blind spots.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Pixie

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 12:06:57 am »
Quote
I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

Not grounded in reality is one thing that occurs for me to say about such people...



My suggestion would be to let it go. At the present time there seem to be so many angry views and opinions flying around the world  about one thing or another. Its worth remembering that we can't necessarily change other people, but we can change ourselves.  We can remember to try to be kind and to try to live in harmony and peace with others.


_/|\_
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 12:22:35 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 03:02:27 am »
I met an old aquentance today, a new ager who has dabbled in several belief systems and not really progressed with them but seems stuck in delusion upon delusion.

He told me today he wasnt sure reality or this world were real...he meant this in a very literal sense not in an advanced sense. Ie he has turned the sentence "the world is an illusion" into new age nonsense that denies the existence of himself, reality, matter, consciousness etc.

I said to him there are two levels of teachings on reality:

The lower literal teaching: "reality is real, the world is real, consciousness is real"
No explanation needed...matter exists.

The higher teaching: "the world is an illusion"...i talked about how one meaning of this is that through anger,hatred,fear, depression we experience these things and it shapes reality before our eyes and fools us into thinking this is how the world is rather than this is how we are.

Another way the world is "not" real i did not mention but occured to me later was through its "impermanence"...matter has no fixed state and only appears in a fixed state in a moment or from our short perspectives.

He said "yes the two teachings are a paradox" ...i said something like: no, they are just two views of the same thing. The first teaching is like the nail of your finger the second teaching like the rest of your finger. I wish id said the second bit but that only occured to me afterwards lol

Essentially we are talking about new agers appropriating eastern concepts...not understanding them and misrepresenting what they mean. Instead of finding liberation they just find a belief system that denies the existence of themselves and the world in a very literal sense. So they just find something to believe in rather than the true deeper meaning that points to reality.

They have no structured texts or teachings to help them understand buddhist concepts. They just use and abuse buddhist phrases to mean whatever they want them to mean. because they recognise no authority on the snippets of philosophy they do borrow they are totally ignorant of what these mean.

This acquaintance is severely delusional and not mentally healthy and goes on about his "psychic powers" and never being wrong because of them. (An example of pursuing powers for their own sake to the detriment of ones sanity i fear).

I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

Not grounded in reality is one thing that occurs for me to say about such people...
I think that describes a lot of people involved in Buddhism, yet alone new age people. Most people only understand snippets of the Dharma as it goes with the territory. You can talk through concepts for years and still not get shared understandings. I kind of like some of the new age stuff despite the people who make outlandish claims. Who knows? They may even uncover some truths.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Arkena

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 09:18:22 am »
I dunno...when people start to doubt if they are real in a very literal sense i think they heading for the psych ward.

Offline Chaz

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 11:43:03 am »
I dunno...when people start to doubt if they are real in a very literal sense i think they heading for the psych ward.

Actually it's not all that crazy.  What we "believe" we are (relative) and what we "truly" are (absolute) are two entirely different things.  It can be said that the relative you is simply a figment of the imagination - not real at all.  An illusion.  So, your friend isn't too far off base with Buddhist teachings.

Offline Arkena

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 12:07:55 pm »
I dunno...when people start to doubt if they are real in a very literal sense i think they heading for the psych ward.

Actually it's not all that crazy.  What we "believe" we are (relative) and what we "truly" are (absolute) are two entirely different things.  It can be said that the relative you is simply a figment of the imagination - not real at all.  An illusion.  So, your friend isn't too far off base with Buddhist teachings.

My understanding of Buddhist teachings and psychiatry/mental health tells me that doubting if the world is real is not always a statement of wisdom or of having some insight into reality...in this case i would argue its a case of mental imbalance and not of a great mind piercing the illusive nature of reality.

Not everyone who declares "reality is an illusion" has achieved some remarkable insight...in this case he has a history of psychiatric problems and of hard drug use (crack cocaine etc) and has made some interesting statements about the earth being flat, the bible in his house spontaneously rewriting itself etc

I think I understand where you are going with the "relative" (intellectual model/normal perception) and "absolute"...

The "absolute" would be what remains when our bodies and all that is not self has returned to nature as minerals etc.
The "relative" would be the conception that the self is this body, these thoughts...all that is impermanent and therefore cannot be self.

I wonder if i am meeting opposition to this post because Buddhism doesn't have a conception of mental illness or of greater states of delusion beyond a "normal" persons delusions aka mental illness?

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2018, 02:55:30 am »
I think there are lots of us who give a little leeway to others because we know how tricky such concepts can be within Buddhism, let alone by those 'outside'. On the other hand such misuse of terminology by others shouldn't go unchallenged as this may seem to be acceptance of their interpretation.

As to reality being an 'illusion', it isn't the reality which is an illusion but our understanding of it, where we take our perceptions of it as the only possible interpretation of what is out there. Derealization and depersonalization are very real psychological problems, as Arkena says, so when people in such a state describe reality as unreal, they are coming at it from a very different perspective where using the same terminology is a misuse of terms and needs to be challenged.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2018, 10:24:19 am »
Arkena,

What is meant by reality being “Mind Only” in Buddhism is a good topic for discussion, but putting down all “new-agers” because your friend is nutso isn’t fair and just looks like a Trumpian attempt to make yourself, as a Buddhist, appear superior (and now I'm doing it too).

Besides, in another thread you wrote
Quote
“ This visions authenticity was confirmed to me by some information that was "pointed out" to me in a book shop by a being i use to channel (the picture of an eye was superimposed over my vision to point to a specific book which talked about the gnostics).”
How’s that different from your friends delusions and new age stuff in general?

« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 02:39:51 pm by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Arkena

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2018, 09:44:04 pm »
As to reality being an 'illusion', it isn't the reality which is an illusion but our understanding of it, where we take our perceptions of it as the only possible interpretation of what is out there. Derealization and depersonalization are very real psychological problems, as Arkena says, so when people in such a state describe reality as unreal, they are coming at it from a very different perspective where using the same terminology is a misuse of terms and needs to be challenged.

Yes, true. And im glad i challenged it as i deffinetly think getting closer to reality is the answer not getting further away from it with more delusion if you see what i mean.

Arkena,

What is meant by reality being “Mind Only” in Buddhism is a good topic for discussion, but putting down all “new-agers” because your friend is nutso isn’t fair and just looks like a Trumpian attempt to make yourself, as a Buddhist, appear superior (and now I'm doing it too).

Besides, in another thread you wrote
Quote
“ This visions authenticity was confirmed to me by some information that was "pointed out" to me in a book shop by a being i use to channel (the picture of an eye was superimposed over my vision to point to a specific book which talked about the gnostics).”
How’s that different from your friends delusions and new age stuff in general?

Fair comment, i deffinetly shouldnt of lumped all new agers together, that was deffinetly a lazy stereotype i was making. It started off well intentioned to protect the dharma from abuse but ended up as an ego led thing...i think we can agree on that. Ego is a slippery thing and it got the best of me i will admit.

...and i guess channeling etc could be lumped in with new age stuff in general you are right. But as for it being different from my friends delusions...outwardly they might appear to both be delusions but ive seen things that cannot be explained rationally. I know the brain has capacity for authentic visions and delusions and there is no way to proove one from the other to someone outside myself.

But ive channeled a symbol ive only seen 12 years later in real life at a reiki level 3 course...its not evidence i can readily present but in my mind i know what i channeled...outwardly i just appear as deluded as i cannot present any evidence but thats the case with most visions/gnosis. So having visions in itself is like the case above where someone stating "the world is an illusion" doesnt make them have an insight into reality...it doesmt mean they dont have an insight into reality as well.

Its open to interpretation and you are free to draw whatever conclusions you wish. I cant defend any of my visions as they are personal experiences. But then again if i was a madman...id say exactly the same thing...so what i say has little value in terms of evidence to a rational mind. I hope you dont judge me too harshly for sharing my past life memmories  :wink1:

Offline Pixie

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2018, 01:53:51 am »
 
Quote
I hope you dont judge me too harshly for sharing my past life memmories  :wink1:

No problem, it all blows past like a breeze for me, because I'm agnostic about rebirth these days anyway... and the only "visions" I ever had were hallucinations when experimenting with recreational drugs when I was younger. 

May all beings have peace and happiness in the here and now.

_/|\_

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« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 05:56:18 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 01:33:49 am »
I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

I do sympathise, I sometimes get irritated with nebulous new-agers, and also with pretentious perennialists.   I have also found it is pointless arguing with them.  :wink1:
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2018, 02:12:44 am »
I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

I do sympathise, I sometimes get irritated with nebulous new-agers, and also with pretentious perennialists.   I have also found it is pointless arguing with them.  :wink1:

I always argue with them in my head, to question what my current understanding is. If I need to change, I do. If they are wrong in their assumptions they probably wouldn't listen, but at least I've sorted out in my head why I think they are wrong.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Chaz

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Re: New ager appropriating buddhist sayings
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2018, 09:25:43 am »
I was wondering about your views on those who borrow from buddhism without understanding what these snippets mean...new agers and others who do this...???

I do sympathise, I sometimes get irritated with nebulous new-agers, and also with pretentious perennialists.   I have also found it is pointless arguing with them.  :wink1:

What makes a perrenialist pretentious, or are you just being witty?

 


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