Author Topic: Buddhist Self Deception  (Read 4367 times)

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2011, 10:45:18 am »
I would say that ritual isn't imbued with meaning.  Rather meaning is assigned to ritual, sometimes more arbitrarily than other times. It is very similar to language in this regard.

It's the old 'chicken and egg' debate.

In the Vajrayana there is a huge amount of symbolism in the visual images of the deities, their mandalas, the mudras in the rituals, the use of mantras and dharanis, bells and other instruments etc etc.

Was there a need for a ritual for which all those precise things were created, or did the ritual exist and have meanings ascribed to elements of it?

The third option, maybe more likely, is that elements were created and then combined differently, and over time different scruptures and cultural accretions added to the process.

We could, of course, have a flash of lightning revelation of the whole meaning of a deity's mandala, or we could study and practise for years and peel back the truth over time.

I'm waiting for the flash of truth, but until then I guess I have to work hard at making progress without getting bogged down in the incredible detail of the rituals.

Offline lowonthetotem

  • Member
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2011, 07:57:48 am »
I would say that ritual isn't imbued with meaning.  Rather meaning is assigned to ritual, sometimes more arbitrarily than other times. It is very similar to language in this regard.

It's the old 'chicken and egg' debate.

In the Vajrayana there is a huge amount of symbolism in the visual images of the deities, their mandalas, the mudras in the rituals, the use of mantras and dharanis, bells and other instruments etc etc.

Was there a need for a ritual for which all those precise things were created, or did the ritual exist and have meanings ascribed to elements of it?

The third option, maybe more likely, is that elements were created and then combined differently, and over time different scruptures and cultural accretions added to the process.

We could, of course, have a flash of lightning revelation of the whole meaning of a deity's mandala, or we could study and practise for years and peel back the truth over time.

I'm waiting for the flash of truth, but until then I guess I have to work hard at making progress without getting bogged down in the incredible detail of the rituals.
Well, to me it is anything but a chicken and egg debate. I understand what you are saying and can accept its validity in the light of my own experience with faith.

However, given my own study of symbolism and language, I know that there isn't anything that fundemenally links the letters S-M-I-L-E-Y, ( or the symbols : and ) to be more precise) arranged in that order, to    :), except that a programmer made it so in a relatively arbitrary manner. There is nothing that fundementally links words to their meanings in a "natural" sense. Even onomatopoeia words vary from culture to culture based on predispositions and even just the existence of different phonemes in different languages. I don't see religious symbols operating very differently. Even the Christian cross isn't an accurate representation of the thing on which Jesus was hung.

I have to wonder at what exactly is the fundemental difference between a Tibetan mandala or tantric practice and a Thai emblem (I hope I am using the correct example) that are sold on street corners as protections and guarantees of luck and good fortune. To me, one just seems older than the other. Hence, this is why I didn't choose to follow the path of Vajrayana or Shingon. Working on the same logic, what makes the Pali canon fundementally different than the rest of the Mahayana canon. Trust me, I understand why the distinctions are made and don't mean disrespect to anyone. I mean, the logic works both ways. All of them can be denounced as equally invalid or exhalted as equally valid. I guess it is that indeterminency that urges me to avoid the mire of it altogether (and yet here I am hip deep in it now). That is, of course, unless it works for ME. :cheesy:

As I mentioned before, I accept the practical aspect of it all and even embrace it to a certain extent. I don't deny that it requires a certain amount of self-deception, or, to be more friendly, suspension of disbelief, though.

Yeshe

  • Guest
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2011, 09:47:11 am »
LOL :)

A mandala is not a charm, it is a representation of the 'world' of a particular deity.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/tantra/level1_getting_started/explanation_meaning_mandala_munich_/transcript.html

You sometimes see Buddhists offering a muti-layered dish which ius representation of offering the 'universe' to the guru and buddhas.

At a higher level the mandala diagram includes many deities and even buildings, and is a prompt to us to visualise a particular deity's world.

It's a good example to choose:

We hear a description of a deity's world and then create an image of it, a 'mandala', which can be 3D as well as sand or paper.  That image is then seen by others who have the meaning explained to them and create the mandala to remind themselves of it and then to teach others - and so chicken-egg-chicken-egg.  The mandala is used within the ritual.

Pssst - if you do want to see a charm from a Tibetan text, look for 'Liberation by Wearing' in the new Tibetan Book of the Dead.  You'll want to wear one, you will not resist, we are the Borg !  LOL :)


Offline lowonthetotem

  • Member
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 04:22:36 am »
I am familiar with what a mandala is, what they are used for, and what they are "supposed" to be. They are not disimilar from other artistic creations, at least in my mind. Some shakuhachi honkyoku are also intended as represnetations of "all" and given as offerings of sound. Again, I think this depends more on what we bring to them rather than something the contain in a "natural" way. I guess I should say that it is not my opinion that this detracts from their potency, and in fact, it may enhance it, ultimately. In the end, though, it is just sand or sound or whatever. I think that avoiding this amounts to avoiding the real lesson they have to offer, for me anyway. Again, I don't mean any disrespect and certainly appreciate the beauty, as well as the deeper meaing that all artistic endeavors inspire in us.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 04:24:32 am by lowonthetotem »

Offline Lobster

  • Member
  • Posts: 1335
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2012, 04:37:58 am »
In the West, we have a wealth of symbolic systems from Freemasonry to Alchemy, from sacred architecture to secular art.
Advertising is based on symbolic association. To be like this buy this product. The world itself suggests its deeper nature.
In terms of persona we are all symbols of the potential Buddha within our futures.  :jinsyx:

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2012, 11:20:43 am »
In the West, we have a wealth of symbolic systems from Freemasonry to Alchemy...
Yeah, but they don't work.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Lobster

  • Member
  • Posts: 1335
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2012, 06:59:31 am »
I have found some Freemasons have made considerable progress. Alchemy can be a very developed form of symbology, instructing and enabling a path of unfoldment. Quite often what works is dependent on commitment and application. As with dharma, the working of a system depends as always, on the individual.  The integration and evolvement of being is not unique to dharma. If not working for an individual, we move on . . . :om:

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2012, 09:19:10 am »
I have found some Freemasons have made considerable progress. Alchemy can be a very developed form of symbology, instructing and enabling a path of unfoldment. Quite often what works is dependent on commitment and application. As with dharma, the working of a system depends as always, on the individual.  The integration and evolvement of being is not unique to dharma. If not working for an individual, we move on . . . :om:
If you practice Buddhism you are making progress to becoming a Buddha. If you practice Freemasonry, are you making progress towards becoming what, a Freemasn? Alchemyy results on an alchemist? Ok, whatever floats your boat I guess.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 11:07:22 am by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Lobster

  • Member
  • Posts: 1335
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2012, 04:53:04 pm »
Freemasons are trying to produce better people. I feel they often achieve this.
Alchemy is also about refinement.

Offline MikeL

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2013, 10:48:54 am »
Symbols, systems, and processes of all sorts are meant to provide short cuts to learning everything from scratch yourself. If we didn't have any of those things, we'd be back in the Stone Age. (Who knows?  Could be good . . . .) 

With every choice comes trade-offs.  With every evolutionary step, things get re-arranged, subordinated, or made superordinate.  Hierarchies spring up socially, cognitively, physically, and spiritually.  You can't get the good without being faced with the bad.  Do something one way and you will miss the benefits and the costs of doing it some other way.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, even awakened teachers.  There has surely been more than one Buddha realized, but not all taught equally well or in the same way.  From my readings and listening, I see that what worked for one teacher tends to get taught by his disciples as the right way and later becomes institutionalized organizationally.  It's only natural. Before one knows it, the tail starts wagging the dog.  The aids that were developed to help folks learn and see (the symbols, systems, processes, values, artifacts, ceremonies, rituals, terms, etc.) become "the thing" rather than the experience or understanding.  It's only natural.  It's only natural for the naively ignorant and inexperienced (and even novices) to do what they see others do and hope that they'll gain what they need to gain.  As has been noted here, it doesn't always work that way because folks' karma, conditions, and causes tend to be unique.  In the end, one needs to find his or her own ways to work out their karma for themselves.  The teacher can't do it for them. 

It's like one of those little plates of change near cash registers with the sign that says:  "take what you need and give what you don't." 

Be well.

Offline ground

  • Member
  • Posts: 2123
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2013, 11:26:36 am »
Who knows? 
What knows what? Knowing this or that ... what is affirmed by means of "this is" and "this is not"?  :fu:
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 11:29:03 am by ground »

Offline MikeL

  • Member
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2013, 12:08:19 pm »
Clever. 

The topic is Buddhist self deception.  The "who knows?" I wrote was meant to express that there is no way to know whether an event or thing (e.g., living in the stone age as opposed to the current period) is one thing or another.  Doubt.

The point of my overall comment in the thread was to suggest what the use of cultural symbols might be and how they arise (at least according to people who study such things). 

(Perhaps my writing wasn't clear.)

Offline TenzinTamdrin

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2013, 07:50:05 pm »
This is an interesting thread. I am in the Vajrayana tradition and find great meaning in rituals as I regularly perform my Buddhist Sadhana daily. I think the Buddha spoke to several groups of varying propensities when he talked about rituals. For one group, he told them to disregard rituals because they were stuck on the notion that ritualism leads one towards enlightenment. With another, he allowed ritualism because it aided the path to enlightenment rather than it becoming a hindrance. In the Vajrayana/Tibetan tradition, you find that there is whole host of rituals and it is practiced daily by ordinary practitioners like me to the great yogis and attained High Lamas like the Dalai Lama in order to gain realization and attainments.

Offline Ben Yuan

  • Member
  • Posts: 261
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2013, 09:26:03 pm »
In the West, we have a wealth of symbolic systems from Freemasonry to Alchemy...
Yeah, but they don't work.
Does "Buddhism?" Isn't it so that nobody is enlightened anywhere, by anyone?

Offline Karma Sonam

  • Member
  • Posts: 97
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhist Self Deception
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2013, 01:01:46 pm »
'"When you want to boil water, you can blow on the flames or pump the bellows, as long as the water boils" - In the same way, if all the different practices we do benefit our stream of being then that's fine'

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha

Don't forget to stop and smell the daisies.

and then the monkey pushed the button

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal