Author Topic: Armchair Buddha?  (Read 1465 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Armchair Buddha?
« on: February 23, 2014, 11:32:51 am »
I would like to announce that I am officially enlightened as of a few moments ago  ;D  After days of endless zazen, passionate chanting, and miraculous visions (all ignored of course) I have attained the unattainable... just kidding, I was driving my passed out three year old home from the park.

So what I just figured out (perhaps what was completely obvious all along to everyone but me) was that the are many teachings and descriptions of everyone being already enlightened or possessing Buddha-nature but they just don't know or haven't fully realized it. Make sense. But going further than that, it doesn't matter if you know or it or not how or what percentage you realize it (The Dali Lama is very holy he is 72% realized  :jinsyx: haha, no disrespect of course). You are still enlightened either way and in fact your perception of being enlightened has nothing to do with being enlightened. So a petty criminal and the wisest zen master are equally (which is to say fully) enlightened.

So if that is true, then what about the suffering we encounter in the world due to samsara? What about people killing and cheating each other and generally being jerks or self-absorbed mental hypochondriacs? One answer, the Armchair Buddha answer, is that it's all enlightenment! It's not illusion/craving that causes suffering, it is that suffering itself is a meaningless illusion. Preferring to be a zen master over a thief, or preferring a world without periodic genocides and world peace and hippies everywhere is mere attachment. The kingdom of heaven where the animals that would normally devour one another lie down in peace and everyone is smiling is no more nirvana then the world of the hunger games or a zombie apocalypse. It doesn't matter if we practice meditation or not, because not only are we fully enlightened either way but it also is not "our" practice. There is no I that practices or doesn't practice.

On the other hand, perhaps there is a Bodhisattva enlightenment that acknowledges that everything is already nirvana but believes there is preference of peace over bloodshed and compassion over being an big jerk. Perhaps the goal is realize our true nature and pre-existing enlightenment and this is why we practice. I think as Buddhists, we should be Bodhisattva, but we still need the Armchair Buddhas to remind us that nirvana and enlightenment don't depend on our practice or our compassion. It's there no matter what.






« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 11:36:16 am by ZenFred »

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 08:55:48 pm »
Upon further reflection, I have considered many ways in which my above statements are not true, or true only in a limited sense.

Offline FutureSage92

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 07:00:53 pm »
hm... Thats an interesting way to look at it. We do all have buddha nature. But I think the idea of buddha nature means we all have an inner buddha, and are completely capable of realizing enlightenment, But we haven't yet. Thats what I think anyway. But for a moment lets assume you are 100% correct, and that we are all fully enlightened and just don't know it. I think that kind of thinking is why many christians have become so complacent. They admit there is suffering in life, but their religion teaches that Jesus is the way to eternal happiness, And nothing else /really/ matters. Kindness, compassion and service to mankind are pretty much optional. Thinking that way can only breed laziness and carelessness. I think it would be the same here, if we're all already enlightened we would just have to wait around for nirvana to happen. Also, if we were all already enlightened I don't think buddhism ever would have come to exist o.o The whole point was to /find/ enlightenment and end the cycle of birth death and rebirth. Even supposing this is true, I think it is best to continue on as if we are still lightyears from enlightenment. That way we still have something to strive for every day.  :r4wheel:
Also, Does an Arhat even realize his awakening until death? Im still not sure how that works, does it just hit you? like WHOA!.... I'm enlightened!  :eek: I can't say, Ive never known one. I guess maybe its one of those, you'll know when it happens to you, things... unless there's some kind of roadmap to nirvana out there? a checklist just doesn't seem right to me  :teehee: I should think its purely something you feel in your mind and heart and observe about yourself. I guess Im fairly close compared to your everyday person. But thats just because of how peaceful Ive become, and how seldom I find myself unable to understand an issue that needs solving.  :namaste:

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 07:35:01 pm »
Quote
FS92:  Also, Does an Arhat even realize his awakening until death? Im still not sure how that works, does it just hit you? like WHOA!.... I'm enlightened!  :eek: I can't say, Ive never known one.


Suggest you read the story of Gotama, a.k.a. Sakyamuni Buddha, a.k.a. The Buddha.  It tells you exactly how it works:

Quote
"What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"

Then, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart and said to him: "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, One-Well-Gone! Those who were arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the past — they, too, dwelled in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. Those who will be arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the future — they, too, will dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. And let the Blessed One, who is at present the arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One, dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it."

— SN 6.2


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html   :dharma: :buddha:  :dharma:

The Buddha and his Dhamma:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel433.html
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 07:43:51 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 hanuman38

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 10:45:27 pm »
Does an arhat realize his awakening?  Hmmm... I guess we'll have to ask Daniel Ingram.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 05:44:07 am »
Future sage,

 Yes I would completely agree that such a perspective is in the danger of complacently. I've experienced that with my own practice. After experiencing kensho "enlightenment" of all reality I slipped into laziness. And I've found that my mindfulness became more difficult as I practiced less.

 Shortly after writing that piece I realized it was a flawed perspective that left out necessary subltility (and humility). But I think the essence of it is that enlightenment is not dependent on our efforts, it is not by us or have anything to do with our thinking/processing minds.

As to universal enlightenment I think it is a matter of perspective. We all have Buddha nature but at the same time it is immediately apparent from turning on the tv or visiting a shopping mall that we are not all enlightened!

Thank you for your post. I think the sangha, even in virtual form, is so vital because it challenges you and is an extension of the dharma, the finger pointing to the moon.

So deep bows and Gassho, Fred

« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 06:25:32 am by ZenFred »

Offline FutureSage92

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Re: Armchair Buddha?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 08:27:51 pm »
Quote
FS92:  Also, Does an Arhat even realize his awakening until death? Im still not sure how that works, does it just hit you? like WHOA!.... I'm enlightened!  :eek: I can't say, Ive never known one.


Suggest you read the story of Gotama, a.k.a. Sakyamuni Buddha, a.k.a. The Buddha.  It tells you exactly how it works:

Quote
"What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"

Then, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness — just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm — Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart and said to him: "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, One-Well-Gone! Those who were arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the past — they, too, dwelled in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. Those who will be arahants, Rightly Self-awakened Ones in the future — they, too, will dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it. And let the Blessed One, who is at present the arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One, dwell in dependence on the very Dhamma itself, honoring and respecting it."

— SN 6.2


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html   :dharma: :buddha:  :dharma:

The Buddha and his Dhamma:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel433.html

Oh thats right... when the Buddha resolved to meditate until he had found awakening and he defeated mara's temptations. Ive been under so much mental stress lately I had almost forgotten about that somehow. :brick: its like my knowledge fell back a bit out of pure business.  :bigtears: I swear I can barely even count these days  :lmfao: anyways yeah. It makes me think of the Game Earthbound when Ness is in Magicant... ((lol that reference is probably beyond most people, but its essentially the same thing, after much toil and hardship he enters the darkest depths of his own mind (aka magicant) and defeats his own darker nature to attain even greater power and wisdom)) Now that Im more like myself again I Imagine achieving enlightenment must be very similar. o.o  :buddha:

 


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