Author Topic: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)  (Read 1535 times)

Offline Intrepid

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Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« on: May 23, 2016, 06:40:19 am »
Something puzzles me about the practice of Buddhism; or at least the way I perceive it.  Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this.  The same question applies to "New Age" philosophies for me. 

I have a Buddhist relative who practices chanting.  He also practices a philosophy of being disconnected from what could be perceived as negativity, or anything negative in life.

This is difficult to explain, but it seems that he will not let anything negative, or any aspect of life, whether it's an exterior event, or something personal to enter his consciousness for long.  Neither will he speak of or address anything that's negative, like the death of a relative or a friend.  This extends to almost anything.  It's as if he wants to convince himself that everything is okay despite the truth of matters.

This raises some questions in my mind, because it seems like they don't want to deal with reality.  It also seems like they are always engaged in their own life of doing whatever they do without concern for the welfare, needs, or thoughts of others.

It's like they're always saying "please, I don't have time for that", or "I can't be bothered with that"; without ever verbalizing it.

It's like they are concerned with just being free to do as they please, and anything that interferes with that is a bother or a nuisance.  BTW this person is not a teenager or a 20 something ; they are almost 60 years of age.

I question if this is a healthy way to live; if it's actually consistent with Buddhist teachings, and if so, how does that help us as humans to better the human condition?

If we ignore the awful, vial terror and misery on the planet so we can drink wine and smell flowers, how can that possibly help?

If we ignore the things in our lives like death, and refuse to talk about the death of a close relative, almost ignoring it totally, not speaking of it, how does this help anyone?

If we ignore dealing with the problems in our families, and just take a "everything is fine" attitude, how is this healthy?

I suspect this person is missing something, or misinterpreting the beliefs of the religion.

If not, then it seems there is something really wrong with the philosophy in general.

How can this "detachment" philosophy be any different than that of just sticking one's head in the sand, or sticking fingers in one's ears and singing "La La La La".

I'm just trying to understand.

Thanks

 





















 


Offline Kevin

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 09:40:57 am »
Greetings,

Buddhism teaches that grasping and aversion are sources of suffering. Grasping after pleasant experiences and avoiding the painful experiences actually generates more suffering for yourself and for others. Complete acceptance of positive and negative states is important in order to attain freedom from suffering. Consequently, any time a person attempts to shelter or distance him/herself from negative experiences, he/she is not practicing one of the primary tenets of Buddhism.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 01:40:38 pm »
Greetings,

Buddhism teaches that grasping and aversion are sources of suffering. Grasping after pleasant experiences and avoiding the painful experiences actually generates more suffering for yourself and for others. Complete acceptance of positive and negative states is important in order to attain freedom from suffering. Consequently, any time a person attempts to shelter or distance him/herself from negative experiences, he/she is not practicing one of the primary tenets of Buddhism.
Kevin is spot on. You can't be mindful and ignore stuff- good or bad
“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: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2016, 08:32:10 am »
Do Kevin and stillpointdancer agree with intrepid's characterization of Buddhism?



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 Kevin

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2016, 10:49:37 am »
No, I don't agree with Intrepid's characterization of Buddhism. I felt that the characterization was likely built upon a misunderstanding of his/her friend (or perhaps his/her friend's misunderstanding of Buddhism), and that it was important to address the misunderstanding that is the root of such a characterization. Many of Intrepid's subsequent questions are answered in light of a clarification this point, although I did not attempt to address all of them.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2016, 09:20:04 pm »
This observation of a friend's behavior and the subsequent characterization reminds me of the reason  why hearsay is not allowed in the courts.  No one can possibly respond to such a question with any degree of certainty.  We have difficulty enough judging our own behavior in reflection with any great degree of accuracy, let alone the behavior of others as reported by secondary sources.

I will offer this advice:  If the friend suffers as a result of his behavior, causes personal harm or harm to others as a result of their behavior then this behavior is to be avoided by anyone themselves, who choose to sit in judgement of them.

In this regard, for the sake of understanding and clarification of Buddha's teachings, Buddhism boils down to simply this:  "Cause no harm to sentient beings."  If you can do that, just that alone, you are making a good start in your practice of Buddhism.  That is why "Cause no harm." is precept #1 in The Buddhist faith. :twocents:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2016, 04:17:29 am »
No, it doesn't reflect the message of Buddhism. The story of the Buddha and the ill monk illustrates this nicely. The Buddha came upon a sick monk who was being ignored by the other monks, unconcerned about his condition. Instead of agreeing with them, he looked after the sick monk then told the others off saying, "Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me" - his actions showing that Buddhism is the opposite of 'la la land'. Engage both the good and bad in life.
“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 moonbeam

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2016, 05:40:38 pm »
It sounds like he's practecing with the compassion. Being able to stop your suffering doesn't mean not thinking about it, it means trying to understand it. Remember: No mud, no flower.

Offline ECS

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Re: Something I Don't Understand (Newbie trying to learn)
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2016, 06:15:15 am »

If you lost your cup in your house ... and travel to Malaysia to search in my room ....do you think you can find it ?

Perhaps Buddhism is not knowledge ... so how is that possible you trying to know something that is not knowledge

 


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