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Author Topic: When will enlightenment happen?  (Read 9239 times)

Offline Chaz

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #90 on: May 07, 2019, 12:30:09 pm »
Stevie. I think we have crossed wires somehow, which is the problem with communicating this way. I agree with the points you make. On the other hand I have studied many religions and became interested in their origins and purposes. As a Buddhist I particularly studied the origins of Buddhism from its Hindu context when the Buddha started to teach. My point is that Buddhism arose in a Hindu country and the Buddha had to explain where his teachings were different from Hinduism.

As Buddhism spread, it spread into societies which had different beliefs, so the teachings had to emphasise the lack of eternal soul. Although the Napper Paths is very clear on the points you made, other forms of Buddhism in other places and times have emphasised different aspects and took on board the idea of rebirth in ways which look more like an eternal soul exists. Which is why texts such as Napper Paths are important to emphasise the opposite view.

Why do you refer to the document as the Napper Paths?  It's "Presentation of the Grounds
and Paths".
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 12:46:43 pm by Chaz »

Offline stevie

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #91 on: May 07, 2019, 10:50:39 pm »
... other forms of Buddhism in other places and times have emphasised different aspects and took on board the idea of rebirth in ways which look more like an eternal soul exists.

Dear Stillpointdancer,

saying 'which look like ...' you are referring to the way these 'other forms of Buddhism' appear to you, so  these 'other forms of Buddhism' can't be said to exist as such, i.e. they can't be said to exist from their own side as  forms of Buddhism that would be expounding an eternal soul. These forms of Buddhism as they appear to you can't be said to truly exist, i.e. they can't be said to exist as such autonomously and independent of your way of conceiving.

But let's get more concrete ... what specific forms of Buddhism are you thinking of in the context of these 'other forms of Buddhism'? Can you name the Buddhist traditions you have in mind? Or if you can't name the traditions what is it that they are teaching that makes them appear to you as if they would be expounding an eternal soul?

 :anjali:
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 11:01:21 pm by stevie »
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #92 on: May 08, 2019, 02:15:03 am »
... other forms of Buddhism in other places and times have emphasised different aspects and took on board the idea of rebirth in ways which look more like an eternal soul exists.

Dear Stillpointdancer,

saying 'which look like ...' you are referring to the way these 'other forms of Buddhism' appear to you, so  these 'other forms of Buddhism' can't be said to exist as such, i.e. they can't be said to exist from their own side as  forms of Buddhism that would be expounding an eternal soul. These forms of Buddhism as they appear to you can't be said to truly exist, i.e. they can't be said to exist as such autonomously and independent of your way of conceiving.

But let's get more concrete ... what specific forms of Buddhism are you thinking of in the context of these 'other forms of Buddhism'? Can you name the Buddhist traditions you have in mind? Or if you can't name the traditions what is it that they are teaching that makes them appear to you as if they would be expounding an eternal soul?

 :anjali:

How about Tibetan Buddhism as expounded by the Delhi Lama: https://www.dalailama.com/messages/retirement-and-reincarnation/reincarnation where he says, "Therefore, as long as you are a Buddhist, it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth"?
“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: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #93 on: May 08, 2019, 06:10:19 am »
... other forms of Buddhism in other places and times have emphasised different aspects and took on board the idea of rebirth in ways which look more like an eternal soul exists.

Dear Stillpointdancer,

saying 'which look like ...' you are referring to the way these 'other forms of Buddhism' appear to you, so  these 'other forms of Buddhism' can't be said to exist as such, i.e. they can't be said to exist from their own side as  forms of Buddhism that would be expounding an eternal soul. These forms of Buddhism as they appear to you can't be said to truly exist, i.e. they can't be said to exist as such autonomously and independent of your way of conceiving.

But let's get more concrete ... what specific forms of Buddhism are you thinking of in the context of these 'other forms of Buddhism'? Can you name the Buddhist traditions you have in mind? Or if you can't name the traditions what is it that they are teaching that makes them appear to you as if they would be expounding an eternal soul?

 :anjali:

How about Tibetan Buddhism as expounded by the Delhi Lama: https://www.dalailama.com/messages/retirement-and-reincarnation/reincarnation where he says, "Therefore, as long as you are a Buddhist, it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth"?

Pragmatically seaking, the Dalai Lama is NOT Tibetan Buddhism.  He doesn't even speak for his own lineage.  So, if he says,

Quote
it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth

It can't be said that this applies to the entirety of what we call "Tibetan Buddhism", nor is it fair to characterize it that way.

There are, I'm sure, plenty of teachers from other lineages and traditions who would agree with His Holiness.  There are even more every-day practitioners, too.  I know I do.  Much of the Buddhadharma makes no sense without a doctrine of rebirth - one of those things, that after careful consideration, is taken as a given.

But then, being a Buddhist isn't about what we believe.  It's about refuge.


BTW, I'd like to know what the the DL said before "Therefore".  A conclusion is weak without it's supporting arguments.  IOW, why did he say that?

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #94 on: May 08, 2019, 08:42:41 am »
Hi Chaz. In the context of the discussion with stevie I was trying to make the point that I thought that in the Napper Paths article he suggested I read, the part about reincarnation was in order to downplay assumptions about rebirth and the soul. The Delhi Lama extract from the link I gave was his take on rebirth pertaining to choosing the next Lama. To put my extract in context:

"Generally, Buddhists believe that there is no beginning to birth and that once we achieve liberation from the cycle of existence by overcoming our karma and destructive emotions, we will not be reborn under the sway of these conditions. Therefore, Buddhists believe that there is an end to being reborn as a result of karma and destructive emotions, but most Buddhist philosophical schools do not accept that the mind-stream comes to an end. To reject past and future rebirth would contradict the Buddhist concept of the ground, path and result, which must be explained on the basis of the disciplined or undisciplined mind. If we accept this argument, logically, we would also have to accept that the world and its inhabitants come about without causes and conditions. Therefore, as long as you are a Buddhist, it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth."

Stevie was asking for a single example from Buddhism in general, so I chose that one. For me the discussion was about how the idea of an eternal soul has been dealt with historically in Buddhism, either how it is accepted or rejected. For stevie the nearest I can get seems to be a 'drift' of consequences which somehow has an effect on a future birth. Personally I think that drift implies something actually moving somewhere, but I could be 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: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #95 on: May 08, 2019, 05:54:24 pm »
Hi Chaz. In the context of the discussion with stevie I was trying to make the point that I thought that in the Napper Paths article he suggested I read, the part about reincarnation was in order to downplay assumptions about rebirth and the soul. The Delhi Lama extract from the link I gave was his take on rebirth pertaining to choosing the next Lama. To put my extract in context:

"Generally, Buddhists believe that there is no beginning to birth and that once we achieve liberation from the cycle of existence by overcoming our karma and destructive emotions, we will not be reborn under the sway of these conditions. Therefore, Buddhists believe that there is an end to being reborn as a result of karma and destructive emotions, but most Buddhist philosophical schools do not accept that the mind-stream comes to an end. To reject past and future rebirth would contradict the Buddhist concept of the ground, path and result, which must be explained on the basis of the disciplined or undisciplined mind. If we accept this argument, logically, we would also have to accept that the world and its inhabitants come about without causes and conditions. Therefore, as long as you are a Buddhist, it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth."

Stevie was asking for a single example from Buddhism in general, so I chose that one. For me the discussion was about how the idea of an eternal soul has been dealt with historically in Buddhism, either how it is accepted or rejected. For stevie the nearest I can get seems to be a 'drift' of consequences which somehow has an effect on a future birth. Personally I think that drift implies something actually moving somewhere, but I could be wrong.

Thanks for clearing things up.

What I'm sure you can see why context is important here.  The quote you offered, while accurate, could and probably would be taken completely out of context, which, in this case is important.  The DL didn't just say Buddhists should accept rebirth.  Rather, based on his sound understanding of Buddhist philosophy and logic on the subject, he makes that recommendation.

And he's the DALAI Lama, not Delhi.

Offline stevie

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #96 on: May 08, 2019, 09:36:42 pm »
... other forms of Buddhism in other places and times have emphasised different aspects and took on board the idea of rebirth in ways which look more like an eternal soul exists.

Dear Stillpointdancer,

saying 'which look like ...' you are referring to the way these 'other forms of Buddhism' appear to you, so  these 'other forms of Buddhism' can't be said to exist as such, i.e. they can't be said to exist from their own side as  forms of Buddhism that would be expounding an eternal soul. These forms of Buddhism as they appear to you can't be said to truly exist, i.e. they can't be said to exist as such autonomously and independent of your way of conceiving.

But let's get more concrete ... what specific forms of Buddhism are you thinking of in the context of these 'other forms of Buddhism'? Can you name the Buddhist traditions you have in mind? Or if you can't name the traditions what is it that they are teaching that makes them appear to you as if they would be expounding an eternal soul?

 :anjali:

How about Tibetan Buddhism as expounded by the Delhi Lama: https://www.dalailama.com/messages/retirement-and-reincarnation/reincarnation where he says, "Therefore, as long as you are a Buddhist, it is necessary to accept past and future rebirth"?

Dear Stillpointdancer,

Referring to your quote only and putting aside that the Dalai Lama is right in this regard, I do not understand what this quote has to do with your conceiving of 'other forms of Buddhism' expounding an eternal soul.

Again, the Buddha did teach re-births but he did not teach an eternal soul. The Buddha did teach the person being empty of both, a soul and a self.


 :dharma:

Let me add what the Buddha has taught as to births:

Quote
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

And let me further add what the Buddha has taught as to the cessation of births:
Quote
Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html

 :dharma:
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 10:51:00 pm by stevie »
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #97 on: May 09, 2019, 03:08:30 am »

And he's the DALAI Lama, not Delhi.

Sorry Chaz. I would blame my spellcheck, but I really should be more mindful of such things.
“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 stillpointdancer

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #98 on: May 09, 2019, 03:25:41 am »
Hi stevie. Thanks for pointing out that I'm still not very good at making myself clear. I'm coming from a viewpoint that human beings over the millenia have drifted towards the idea of something of themselves existing after death. In many religions it is an eternal soul. As a student of how Buddhism has developed I am interested in how it, given the Buddha's views on the subject, has kept away from such a notion or otherwise. Many of the available texts have used words associated with Western concepts of a soul in their translations, perhaps because no better words were available, or perhaps through misunderstanding what the text meant.

I suspect elements of both to be the case where Western translators have been involved,which it is why someone like me, brought up in a dualistic tradition, in my case Methodism, sometimes struggles with getting to the core of beliefs which are embedded in another time, culture and sets of languages. As you say, it is from my point of view that they seem to exist, not that they 'truly' do. Many thanks for taking the time to help me in my attempts to get into their way of thinking rather than imposing my own ideas.
“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 paracelsus

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #99 on: May 09, 2019, 04:36:54 pm »
Just some thoughts:

The Buddha taught liberation from cyclic existence, what is it that is cycling?

My guess would be that, since it seems to be taught that there is no everlasting personal soul/self, then cyclic existence must refer to habit energy, which doesn’t infer an existent soul. But then why should “I” be bothered about liberation beyond this present life? ( Bodhisattva answer: because of compassion, the active desire to end the suffering within all being.)

There is habit energy in the behaviour of plants and simple life-forms, and as I perceive it, in all forms of “existence”. Maybe then it is the mental habit energies which are specific to liberation (from suffering).

If this is the case then it would be the breaking of habitual mental functions which will brings about liberation from cyclic existence in this lifetime, and the development of the “attributes” of a Buddha which will bring the Buddha (enlightenment) to come. Inverted commas, because Buddha-hood I think I’ve seen described as without attributes but on the other hand, has the attributes of Noble wisdom, compassion, and so on.

In terms of developing “attributes” my limited experience is that the enlightenment factors seem to “arise” as the hinderances/defilements subside in meditation practice and other disciplines. Because of  this I suggest that it (enlightenment or Buddha-hood) would be the natural state which remains after negative habit energies are transformed/stilled/purified.
So diligent practice including study, contemplation and meditation is the antidote to the confused poison of ignorance and the return to the natural state of primordial Buddha-nature.

Paraphrased from the Lankavatara Sutra:

   “Universal Mind, defiled by accumulations of habit energy and karma, reveals multiplicities of ego-souls and their external worlds of false imagination...
   Universal Mind cleared of its defilements through gradual purification of the evil out-flowings by effort, study and meditation, and by the gradual self realisation of Noble Wisdom, like the Dharmata Buddha shining forth spontaneously ... matures the mentality of all Bodhisattvas instantaneously.”

This seems to imply the existence of ego souls where defilements occur, and the non-existence of ego souls where the defilements are absent, hence to say that there is no ego soul is false in the absolute sense, since it does exist where defilements occur,  but to say that the ego soul exists in the absolute is also false since they don’t exist beyond the occurrence of those defilements. 

What then is reborn is another question.
 :om:

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #100 on: May 10, 2019, 03:25:01 am »
I always liked the analogy of the knotted string and pile of coins. In the Western understanding of Buddhism the soul is like the string, the knots being lives, the string the soul connecting them. I was taught it was more like a stack of coins where each coin is a life. Nothing connects them, but being a stack, each is dependent on the one before.
“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 stevie

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #101 on: May 12, 2019, 10:48:35 pm »
Just some thoughts:

The Buddha taught liberation from cyclic existence, what is it that is cycling?
....
What then is reborn is another question.

Dear Paracelsus,

my 'beyond extremes' perspective tells me that there is no difference between non-analytical conventional consciousness and analytical conventional consciousness that may be analyzing 'what is it that is cycling?' or 'What then is reborn?' because both modes still are conventional consciousnesses and as such these consciousnesses are subject to obscurations/ignorance:
Quote
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. ... Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html

 <3  :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stevie

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Re: When will enlightenment happen?
« Reply #102 on: May 14, 2019, 09:19:16 pm »
Having said that when the experience of being human has arisen AND this experience is characterized by living in a civilized region free of war and most of the times free of terror, having complete sensory faculties and functioning limbs, having enough to eat, clothing and a place to live in, sheltered from the threat of weather and saisons, having enjoyed an education that enables one to make efficient use of one's intellect AND luckily experiencing that the teaching of a Buddha has arisen within this present sphere of human experience ... what could be better than such a dependently arisen experience?

The experience as such and all its characteristics, i.e. all that is experienced, don't truly exist, nevertheless as long as it is appearing such an experience is the perfect condition to put an end not only to occurrences of unease and suffering within that present sphere of experience but also to put an end to spheres of experience that are terrible in comparison to the present one and that are very likely to follow once the conditions for the present sphere of experience are consumed.

 :dharma: :anjali:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

 


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