Sunday School

Sunday School 27th December 2020.

This topic contains 73 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 3 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 74 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #35724

    Unseen
    Participant

    I remember a story by someone critical of  Buddhism’s rejection of the senses. In the story, the young trainee monks (the correct word is escaping me at the moment) discover a very young kitten separated from its mother outside the temple. Hoping its mother would find it, they leave it.

    Unfortunately, the poor thing was still there the following morning cold and malnourished, so they take it in and give it milk and a place to sleep.

    A few days later, the head monk inspects their quarters and tosses the kitten out a window, explaining that they were training as ascetics, and the kitten was obviously giving them pleasure.

    Maybe that’s not Buddhism as Gautama envisioned it, but it is what a lot of Buddhism has become.

    The romanticizing of The Dalai Lama is an example of the Western blind spot for the mystical East. The Chinese gave the Tibetans Burger King, but they also gave them running water and a 20th Century sewage system.

    The Dalai Lama, had he not been given the boot, would have kept the country in The Middle Ages in many ways.

    Also, years ago I read a book that took a dim view of Asian religion and society in general. The Lotus and the Robot by Robert Koestler. This may even be the source for the story I related above. The book is available as a free PDF here.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #35726

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    They don’t reject the senses, but they see them as an illusion, which they are in a way.

    I take your point though that there are a lot of practitioners of any religion who don’t understand it properly.

    I have a book about Sufi saints.  Apparently, if you’re a Sufi saint, you’re not allowed to want anything for yourself.  But this seems logically inconsistent to me – somebody must want something, without it being wicked or corrupt.

    #35727

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon there is no such thing as “practising a religion properly”. Even a religion that pretends to base themselves on an authoritative holy book has to make decisions on which contradictory indications to follow, how to fill in the many blanks, which impractical rules to ignore and how best to maintain their power over the flock (which means manipulating rules or often inventing totally new ones). A religion cannot possibly survive by following everything in their holy books. Even the most devout muslim countries that claim to follow an absolutist rendering of their holy books selectively enact laws, especially when it comes to citizens who would revolt otherwise if their freedoms were too curtailed. Selective enforcement (or ignoring vices) is standard (hence why just about every Iranian I knew had a bottle of alcohol under the sink with the authorities fully well knowing this was the case despite enforcing mandatory headscarves for women and many draconian laws). And those are just the religions that have a so called guide on how to properly be a follower (which is impossible). Other religions have such a confusing canon of holy texts and traditions, such as Buddhism, which makes it literally impossible to  claim how to properly follow their founder’s “teachings”. There is no proper way to practice a religion. There is simply the way people actually do it. How it works in practice. There is no correct way to be a Christian or Muslim. And what that means changes from location, to sect and to century. I judge a religion never on their most cherished principles but on how much it disrupts and toxifies a society, not what they claim is “the real following” or what a minority of kind reasonable people do with their faith.

    Buddhism has a fairly mundane impact in some countries (say…South Korea) and a very severe impact in Burma (to the point that it impoverishes people and is horridly corrupt). None of them practice Buddhism “correctly” because no one can possibly justify why one way is the right way. There is no clear unambiguous practical text nor does anyone have a time machine to go back and find Bhudda and ask him. And even if they did, it doesn’t matter…a religion is how people practice it…not lofty ideals. The same lesson should be taken from other ideologies like communism or fascism. The claim that communism just isn’t practised the way it should doesn’t vindicate it from their abysmal toxic failures…nor the fact that a secular humanist society is a far superior alternative. The same goes for those who claim a religion simply isn’t practised properly. So what…none of it offers anything a secular humanist society cannot do better anyways…especially if it incorporates the few useful little tidbits it can take from religions and re-purpose in a secular way.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #35729

    Unseen
    Participant

    They don’t reject the senses, but they see them as an illusion, which they are in a way. I take your point though that there are a lot of practitioners of any religion who don’t understand it properly. I have a book about Sufi saints. Apparently, if you’re a Sufi saint, you’re not allowed to want anything for yourself. But this seems logically inconsistent to me – somebody must want something, without it being wicked or corrupt.

    I see: To understand Buddhism and Sufism and the rest of them, they need to consult Simon Paynton who, unlike them, understands how to correctly follow their religion.

    To what do you attribute this profound understanding you have of all of these faiths and how they should properly be practices?

    #35730

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There is no correct way to be a Christian or Muslim.

    Good point.  I agree.  However, some governments insert false texts into the canon, for the purpose of manipulating the populace to hate on some group.  In Iran they have put sections into their Qu’ran saying that Jews are evil (I have heard), and in Burma, the religious authorities are using false texts that say that outsiders are no better than animals or otherwise worthless, and it’s therefore OK to kill and torture them.

    I agree that it’s hard to misinterpret a theistic religion like Christianity or Islam, because each has such a wide variety of interpretations and large parts really don’t make a lot of sense in the first place.

    But Buddhism has a rational core that makes sense and is very complicated, so it’s not surprising if some people don’t understand it.

    #35731

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    To what do you attribute this profound understanding you have of all of these faiths and how they should properly be practices?

    I’ll ignore the reference to Sufism, because you should have spotted the word “apparently”.  If you were to buy a book on Sufi saints, you would be as well educated on the subject as me.

    As for Buddhism, I’m no expert, but I know someone from Burma who is an expert in Buddhism, has spent a lifetime studying it and has done monks’ training.  So I get a lot of information from him.  Also, I studied under a monk from Sri Lanka in my home town.

    The interesting thing about Buddhism is that it ties up with scientific knowledge, which gives it more weight.

    On a related point, it does seem true that there’s a strange strand of self-denial which runs through any religion.  The Sufi saints are just the most extreme example.  The definition of so-called dark traits is to enjoy oneself at the expense of others, so they’re next door to the ball park but it’s a strange thing to say that one should not enjoy oneself at all.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Simon Paynton.
    #35733

    @simonBut Buddhism has a rational core that makes sense and is very complicated, so it’s not surprising if some people don’t understand it.

    Is there a typo there? If Buddhism does have a rational core then how come it is very complicated?  Maybe you mean that it has become more complicated over time because its basic tenets have become corrupted?

     

    #35734

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon could you please tell us, even in outline, what that core is? How you’ve determined what the core is (what your source is or your rationale in determining it) and why you think it’s rational (please include the supernatural part of its core and explain how that is rational because reincarnation is as fundamental to Buddhism as anything else could be and I am quite curious how you will explain how it is rational).

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #35736

    Davis
    Moderator

    Reg…nice Sunday school this week by the way!

    #35737

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If Buddhism does have a rational core then how come it is very complicated?

    As far as I see, it’s a kind of science of living.  Science is complicated.

    #35738

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Simon could you please tell us, even in outline, what that core is?

    Not really.  I don’t know that much about it.  But the bits that I’ve encountered, are analytical and rational, in that they make sense and relate to everyday life.  In short, it’s about promoting long term happiness for the self and others.  Slightly longer, its basis is the 8-fold path, I think, which is, according to Wikipedia: “right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (‘meditative absorption or union’)”.

    I’ve been investigating aspects of it that have to do with morality, emotions, mindfulness, etc.

    I’ve also heard it summed up, by a monk, as “stillness, wisdom, morality”.  Morality leads to peace, peace (a clear mind) leads to wisdom.

    So, I’m not an expert, but I’ve seen enough to respect it, and not to dismiss aspects because I don’t understand them.  Before I investigated it, it went over my head because it is so abstract.

    There are also the Four Noble Truths, which correspond to empathy and helping, which has been identified as the key to a happy life:

    1) recognise that suffering exists; 2) recognise why the suffering exists; 3) recognise the way to relieve suffering; 4) help and relieve the suffering.  That’s one way of putting it.

    #35739

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Reg…nice Sunday school this week by the way!

    Yes, I go off in all directions and forget to thank Reg!

    #35740

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    You forgot the time element. Gravity is a distortion in the shape of space-time and propagates as wave, relative to a frame of reference.

    Speaking of waves, a lot of physicists prefer to use the term “speed of causation” over “speed of light”. The speed of waves of light and gravity are just a couple of things limited by the speed of causation.

    #35741

    _Robert_
    Participant

    You forgot the time element. Gravity is a distortion in the shape of space-time and propagates as wave, relative to a frame of reference.

    Speaking of waves, a lot of physicists prefer to use the term “speed of causation” over “speed of light”. The speed of waves of light and gravity are just a couple of things limited by the speed of causation.

    I find waves of all sorts fascinating. The power of a tsunami hits you with local water, the energy imparted 100’s of miles away.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  _Robert_.
    #35743

    Guys, thanks for you kind words. I basically just post some of the articles I read during the week and think others might find interesting thing.

    Constructive critics are also appreciated and anyone is free to add the own links too.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 74 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.