Author Topic: Secular Buddhism  (Read 5973 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2017, 08:06:17 am »
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VincentRJ:  "That's a bit confusing, Ron. As I understand, the Buddhist position on 'causing no harm to living beings' refers only to sentient creatures who can experience suffering, not plants."

The issue always relates to suffering. If one is striving to transcend all suffering, then it is not morally correct to cause suffering to others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As far as I understand, from our perspective of modern science, animals with simple nervous systems, like lobsters, snails and worms, do not have the ability to process emotional information and therefore probably do not experience suffering. However, vertebrates with spines have much more advanced nervous systems and can feel real pain and suffering.

Yes.   It is confusing and incomplete as it goes.  Yet, we still see these two different versions of The First Precept:  one which requires causing no harm to sentient beings, which by itself is still incomplete, because plants are much more sentient than was thought twenty-five hundred years ago, even by The Buddha.; and another which requires causing no harm to "living beings", which plants certainly are.

So, from a secular, modern scientific understanding, which would you choose?  My thinking is that if we stop thinking about all life, and only prefer animal species with complex nervous systems, then we are back to where we were in the 1950's causing collapse of the entire ecosystem, which is highly interconnected and highly dependent upon species both flora and fauna of which we weren't even aware.  We are free to ignore all lower life-forms like the bacteria in our intestinal pathways upon which we rely for our own personal health and even survival.

The issue is complex, as is the issue of morality in general.  As Solodris implied:  "An issue worthy of contemplation!"
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 Chaz

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2017, 08:18:06 am »
My personal answer to this is that truly I don't see any scientific evidence that "any" human beings have ever attained enlightenment, unbinding and release nibbana / nirvana, heaven, hell, realms of hungry ghosts, petas, goblins and etc.

But, this doesn't really offer proof  of anything.  The truth here is, that "science" hasn't investigated those things and untl they do, you are left to believe what you like.  That is, to faith.  And so we're back to religion, again.



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So, why should an endeavor which chooses the secular path ever concern itself with such matters, things, etc.
 

To learn the truth, of course.

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As for the reason or purpose in choosing such a path as secular Buddhism, my own personal reason is because it seems to help people, who truly embrace it, to work more effectively together, and to endure the travails of life with much less suffering.  But this remains to be proven.  At the least, it avoids the problem of constant debate over whose religion is the greatest guardian of "Truth".

It really doesn't.  You will, as a matter of course, treat the secular path as one superior to all others, just as you have over the years with Theraveda.  If it disappoints you'll go back to Theraveda, or Roman Catholicism, or something ..

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How does that sound?
   

It sounds to me like your trying to establish a path, independant of recognized authority, where you can been een as an "elder".

Good luck!

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Where am I going wrong?

Is it wrong?

Offline Pixie

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2017, 10:22:49 am »

It sounds to me like your trying to establish a path, independant of recognized authority, where you can been een as an "elder".


Umm...would that be called "Ron-the-Elder" Buddhism ?

 

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 Chaz

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2017, 10:46:37 am »

It sounds to me like your trying to establish a path, independant of recognized authority, where you can been een as an "elder".


Umm...would that be called "Ron-the-Elder" Buddhism ?

 

Well, I guess so.

Or maybe Ron-the-Elderism....  or Ronyana perhaps?

Whatever floats his boat.  Or is it raft?


Offline Pixie

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2017, 11:10:42 am »
If I may be so bold to humbly suggest members of the Sangha not to engage in frivolous speech, as the exploration of idea's will be more practical to either be highly constructive or completely destroyed. Both an appealing end to either side of opinion to the matter at hand.

A little harmless humor in life isn't a form of evil, Solodris. Unless one never finds anything to smile about and all is gloom and doom and fundamentalism, of course.

See you later, maybe.   :hello:
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 Chaz

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2017, 11:26:26 am »
If I may be so bold to humbly suggest members of the Sangha not to engage in frivolous speech, as the exploration of idea's will be more practical to either be highly constructive or completely destroyed. Both an appealing end to either side of opinion to the matter at hand.

Like Pixie said .....

Also, and humor aside, it's fair comment, as is my response (if I dare say so).

Ron seems to want to chart his own course, and seems to have no interest in what Batchelor and Harris have to say - leading lights in Secular Buddhism - even though both have been mentioned in this threadand are worth discussing.  It seems like Ron kind of wants it his way, (as in non-canon exceptions to the 1st Precept) and that's okay.   We can talk about that, too, and we don't have to be all serious about it.

Quashing speech on a forum like this isn't very nice.  I'd rather read some humor than someone telling others to shut up, okay?

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2017, 11:34:52 am »
FYI:

There's the Secular Buddhist Association site and they have a forum for discussions like this where those who care enough could take their questions and discuss it with other Secularists

http://secularbuddhism.org/forum/

It should be noted that the site appears to be really slow and the forum doesn't see a great deal of activity.  Just the same....

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2017, 11:59:35 am »
Idle Chater, Unfortunately we're back to:  They can say it is so, and those of us who have never seen any evidence of it being so, say, we have never seen any evidence of it being so.

You are right, science has never spent any time studying beings, who claim "enlightenment", or "sainthood", or any other beliefs in delusions, except in the field of psychiatry.  But that is because there was never any motivation to.  Such is the case with all religions.  My wife, a clinical psychologist, often cites a story about her experience in North Dakota, U.S.A. where they had two Jesuses on the same psychiatric ward.  You can imagine the problems that creates.

As far a Ron-the-elder..ism is concerned, I am not looking to establish a new religion, but simply logically exploring if Buddhism can be practiced without all the "delusional" attachments, which have resulted in "yanas", Maha, or Hina.

 I have briefly explored Batchelor's website, and others regarding the topic, but currently choose to study and experiment on my own.

Unfortunately, the detractors (trolls) have smelled blood and are moving in on this thread.  So, I will cease here, and let them chew and tear at each other.  This tender morsel is moving on to other territories.  I have had enough.

Trolls, have fun with your personal attachments.  I wish you success with your chosen forms of entertainment.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 12:04:36 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
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 Pixie

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2017, 02:16:29 pm »
From Ron:
Quote
"Unfortunately, the detractors (trolls) have smelled blood and are moving in on this thread.  So, I will cease here, and let them chew and tear at each other."

Pixie and IdleChater; You have chosen to establish a schism in light of knowledge by offending the Sangha constitution of constructive knowledge. Beyond words I will delluminate your being by professing profound wisdom, completely unattainable by the path you hold as a sectarian attachment, alienating the very essence of your supposed religious conviction. Such is the path of the asuras, your nature is war, argument and perversion of the pure light that is our true path towards transcendental enlightenment.


 Oh don't be silly, this is all getting far too dramatic .

Here's a sincere wish for everyone near and far:

"May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.

May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.

May they never be disassociated from the supreme happiness which is without suffering.

May they remain in the boundless equanimity, free from both attachment to close ones and rejection of others."


 :om:
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 02:28:48 pm 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 Chaz

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2017, 02:24:48 pm »
Idle Chater, Unfortunately we're back to:  They can say it is so, and those of us who have never seen any evidence of it being so, say, we have never seen any evidence of it being so.

You are right, science has never spent any time studying beings, who claim "enlightenment", or "sainthood", or any other beliefs in delusions, except in the field of psychiatry.  But that is because there was never any motivation to.  Such is the case with all religions.  My wife, a clinical psychologist, often cites a story about her experience in North Dakota, U.S.A. where they had two Jesuses on the same psychiatric ward.  You can imagine the problems that creates.

As far a Ron-the-elder..ism is concerned, I am not looking to establish a new religion, but simply logically exploring if Buddhism can be practiced without all the "delusional" attachments, which have resulted in "yanas", Maha, or Hina.

 I have briefly explored Batchelor's website, and others regarding the topic, but currently choose to study and experiment on my own.

Unfortunately, the detractors (trolls) have smelled blood and are moving in on this thread.  So, I will cease here, and let them chew and tear at each other.  This tender morsel is moving on to other territories.  I have had enough.

Trolls, have fun with your personal attachments.  I wish you success with your chosen forms of entertainment.

C'mon, Ron, nobody's trolling you.  If anything, your "logical exploring"  is being challenged.  I would expect you, coming from a "scientific" perspective on this, would welcome challenge, as this goes part-and-parcel with the scientific method.  But is seems you'd rather roll over and show us your belly, and this from someone who advocated meeting a threat with deadly force.  Ron, that's really disappointing.

Going on your own is fine, but don't be surprised if others suggest that you are trying to establish your own private Yana, or vehicle, and ignore the council of others.  That's ok too.  But you choose to put all this out in public for others consume and we can only surmise that you do this to bring others along.  Otherwise, there would be no reason to post it in a public forum.  If you want to your own thing without others, then wouldn't be better to simply keep it to yourself and leave others to seek their own way?

Buddhism, for 2500 years has worked just fine, the three Yana's providing a raft to the other shore, with generations of realized beings to show the way as valid and verifiable.  You can dismiss that, if you want, as delusion or falsehood, but in doing that you dismiss any proof that the Buddhadharma is in any way verifiable or valid.

The Buddha left the path he was on with his companions, to forge a new way, but didn't return to his companions until he found what he was after:  enlightenment.  Maybe you should go forth and find Enlightenment for the rest of us and return when you're finished.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2017, 08:40:15 pm »
One last comment for the benefit of those who have a serious interest in this topic:



Quote
An Internet troll is a member of an online social community who deliberately tries to disrupt, attack, offend or generally cause trouble within the community by posting certain comments, photos, videos, GIFs or some other form of online content.

You can find trolls all over the Internet -- on message boards, in your YouTube video comments, on Facebook, on dating sites, in blog comment sections and everywhere else that has an open area where people can freely post to express their thoughts and opinions. Controlling them can be difficult when there are a lot of community members, but the most common ways to get rid of them include either banning/blocking individual user accounts (and sometimes IP addresses altogether) or closing off comment sections entirely from a blog post, video page or topic thread.

Regardless of where you'll find Internet trolls lurking, they all tend to disrupt communities in very similar (and often predictable) ways. This isn't by any means a complete list of all the different types of trolls out there, but they're most certainly some of the most common types you'll often come across in active online communities.

1 The insult troll
Types of Internet Trolls
Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images
The insult troll is a pure hater, plain and simple. And they don't even really have to have a reason to hate or insult someone. These types of trolls will often pick on everyone and anyone -- calling them names, accusing them of certain things, doing anything they can to get a negative emotional response from them -- just because they can. In many cases, this type of trolling can become so severe that it can lead to or be considered a serious form of cyberbullying.


2 The persistent debate troll
This type of troll loves a good argument. They can take a great, thoroughly researched and fact-based piece of content, and come at it from all opposing discussion angles to challenge its message. They believe they're right, and everyone else is wrong. You'll often also find them leaving long threads or arguments with other commenters in community comment sections, and they're always determined to have the last word -- continuing to comment until that other user gives up.


3 The grammar and spellcheck troll
You know this type of troll. They're the people who always have to tell other users that they have misspelled words and grammar mistakes. Even when they do it by simply commenting with the corrected word behind an asterisk symbol, it's pretty much never a welcomed comment to any discussion. Some of them even use a commenter's spelling and grammar mistakes as an excuse to insult them.


4 The forever offended troll
When controversial topics are discussed online, they're bound to offend someone. That's normal. But then there are the types of trolls who can take a piece of content -- often times it's a joke, a parody or something sarcastic -- and turn on the digital waterworks. They're experts at taking humorous pieces of content and turning them into an argument by playing the victim. People really do get upset by some of the strangest things said and done online.

5 The show-off, know-it-all or blabbermouth troll
A close relative to the persistent debate troll, the show-off or blabbermouth troll is a person who doesn't necessarily like to participate in arguments but does love to share his opinion in extreme detail, even spreading rumors and secrets in some cases. Think of that one family member or friend you know who just loves to hear his own voice. That's the Internet equivalent of the show-off or know-it-all or blabbermouth troll. They love to have long discussions and write lots of paragraphs about whatever they know, whether anyone reads it or not.

6 The profanity and all-caps troll
Unlike some of the more intelligent trolls like the debate troll, the grammar troll and the blabbermouth troll, the profanity and all-caps troll is the guy who has nothing really of value to add to the discussion, spewing only F-bombs and other curse words with his caps lock button left on. In many cases, these types of trolls are just bored kids looking for something to do without needing to put too much thought or effort into anything. On the other side of the screen, they're often harmless.

7 The one word only troll
There's always that one contributor to a Facebook status update, a forum thread, and Instagram photo, a Tumblr post or any other form of social posting who just says "lol" or "what" or "k" or "yes" or "no." They're certainly far from the worst type of troll you meet online, but when a serious or detailed topic is being discussed, their one-word replies are just a nuisance to all who are trying add value and follow the discussion.

8 The exaggeration troll
Exaggeration trolls can sometimes be a combination of know-it-alls, the offended and even debate trolls. They know how to take any topic or problem and completely blow it out of proportion. Some of them actually try to do it to be funny, and sometimes they succeed, while others do it just to be annoying. They rarely ever contribute any real value to a discussion and often bring up problems and issues that may arguably be unrelated to what's being discussed.

9 The off topic troll
It's pretty hard not to hate that guy who posts something completely off topic in any type of social community discussion. It can be even worse when that person succeeds in shifting the topic and everyone ends up talking about whatever irrelevant thing that he posted. You see it all the time online -- in the comments of Facebook posts, in threaded YouTube comments, on Twitter and literally anywhere there're active discussions happening. 

10 The greedy spammer troll
Last but not least, there's the dreaded spammer troll. This it the troll who truly could not care less about your post or discussion and is only posting to benefit himself. He wants you to check out his page, buy from his link, use his coupon code or download his free ebook. These trolls also include all those users you see littering discussions on Twitter and Instagram and every other social network with "follow me!!!" posts.
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 Pixie

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2017, 12:07:41 am »


You're giving the appearance of shouting at people with your use of huge font, Ron. Please try to relax a little. 

 Nothing terrible has happened here - and meawhile people of all ages are starving and dying in non-internet life in other parts of the world.

I'm not interested in being bullied by strange men and labelled as a troll, (which is quite bewildering because that's never been my intention), so I'll  depart to chat to others in friendlier, calmer places.

with metta,

Pixie


« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 01:25:04 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 francis

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2017, 03:39:05 am »

Should we discuss each one from a secular perspective?  For example

1. "Cause no harm to living beings."

  a.  Antibiotics are allowed to prevent dying from blood borne, or air borne pathogens.
  b.  Returning fire is allowed when first fired upon.
  c. Use of lethal force is allowed to prevent rape or assassination.
  d.  etc.
Unless you're willing to re-write the precept, it's "Cause no harm to living beings.".  Period.

It's not like you're breaking some rule that will leave you hell-bound.  There are karmic consequences, serious consequences, for taking life.  The Buddha didn't teach exceptions to this precept and perhaps you shouldn't either.  Following this course you set, you could say it's okay to take a life if your children are hungry.  Or your nieghbor's pet just dropped a deuce in your dichondra lawn.  When you start to rationalize exceptions, then there is no end to it.

I don’t think Ron is trying to re-write the precepts because Buddhism was always secular. All the religious moralising came later. People trying to force their own personal views onto Buddhism, under the disguise of religious faith due to ignorance (ducks for cover ;)

First, about the precepts (O'Brien, B.) — ‘ The Precepts of Buddhism are not the Buddhist Ten Commandments. They are more like training wheels. An enlightened being is said to always respond correctly to every situation.

But for those of us who have not yet realized enlightenment, keeping the precepts is a training discipline that helps us live harmoniously with others while we learn to actualize the Buddha's teaching.’

Let’s look at the canon.

‘In Pali, the first precept is Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami; "I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life." According to Theravadin teacher Bikkhu Bodhi, the word pana refers to breathing or any living being that has breath and consciousness. This includes people and all animal life, including insects, but not include plant life. The word atipata means "striking down." This refers to killing or destroying, but it can also mean injuring or torturing.’ 

1 a. Antibiotics are allowed to prevent dying from blood borne, or air borne pathogens because bacteria don’t technically breathe. 

1 b&c. The Buddhist teachings don’t forbid self-defence, it’s more about anger (ed. or intent). The Pali Vinaya, or monastic rules, allows a monk to strike back in self-defense, but never with anger or the intention to kill.

1 d. It’s also important to remember that Buddhists are not Jains.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 03:57:06 am by francis, Reason: clarity »
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2017, 05:40:40 am »
Thanks for the useful additions and builds as always, Francis. :gawrsh:
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 Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Secular Buddhism
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2017, 10:11:22 am »
Alright,  enough already with morality.  I am sorry that this topic resulted in adhominem attacks, personal insults, and what one board member referred to as shouting due to my large print selection.

So, let's move on to kamma / karma and karmic consequences.

From a secular perspective it is my thought that it is best to abandon reincarnation as  postulated by traditions that believe that the mind is some sort of an eternal being, which moves on from one form after death to another form after rebirth as there is no evidence of this.  Since there is no way to verify and validate even the most frequently reported occurrences, unless you have experienced it for yourself, this belief has no place in Secular Buddhism.

Rebirth, however, is another story as there are in fact many different forms of rebirth:

1. Death and replication of cells through the biological processes of meiosis and mitosis.

It is through these two biological processes that we experience birth, aging disease and death as described in dukkha, and human reproduction.  It is the reason that we look different now than we did when we were just born.

The Khan Academy has an excellent explanation of this process for those of you who fell asleep in first year biology:

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/cellular-molecular-biology/meiosis/a/phases-of-meiosis

2.  The constant changing of mental factors (thoughts, feelings, and emotions).

3.  The passing on of ideas, from cultures, traditions and practices from teacher to student, and the same from generation to generation;

I am certain there are other examples.  These are all I can think of off the top of my head, but I am certain there are others.

Would anyone with constructive adds like to share their thoughts in this regard? :listen:

Note:  Please save the debates, ridicule, adhominem attacks, and wide excursions from the topic for the forum called "The Danger Zone". 

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/the-danger-zone/

Also, please review the terms of service for FreeSangha.

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/faq-frequently-asked-questions/terms-of-service/

 Thanks :hug:


« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 02:38:32 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
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.

 


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