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 - 46 through 60 (of 74 total)
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  • #35760

    Unseen
    Participant

    I don’t believe in literal death and rebirth in reincarnation.  But I do believe in everyday, earthly karma where we reap what we sow in life.

    That’s not a belief. That’s a wish. And if you look around you, you’ll see that positive and negative rewards for one’s deeds seems to be distributed chaotically if not truly randomly when, that is, rewards are not disproportionately given based on bad behavior.

    Take a look at Trump. Maybe he’ll end up paying some consequences for a life of grifting and cheating, and maybe that will be the capstone on a life that could have had great promise. However, does that make up for all the harm and destruction he did, including corrupting his now-adult children?

    We have the richest 1% in America owning 15 times more wealth than the bottom 50%. Are they there because they were really good people driven by charity and love of mankind?

    Let’s just admit that karma is bullshit and that many rewards in life involve a lot more willingness to do bad things when not just based on pure dumb luck.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #35762

    Unseen
    Participant

    One problem with Buddhism that would cross the lines of culture and how practitioners practice it lies in it’s core tenets:  Buddhism has it that suffering comes from our craving and that we must overcome our craving via The Eightfold Pathway to achieve Nirvana. Wouldn’t this include a “craving” for freedom and justice as well?

    And how can one strive to leave the cycle of birth and death without craving for it? Isn’t this a central contradiction in Gautama’s theory?

    #35763

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

     

    To answer your question about Buddhism and God, as I was taught in World Religions years ago, Buddhism regards the existence of God as an open question.  It is not an absolute requirement in Buddhism to believe in a God and both individual Buddhists and different schools of Buddhist thought have different answers to the question.

    The Mahayana school of Buddhism believes in a God and the Hiniyana school of Buddhism does not.  Others schools I’m not certain about and one could investigate those further.

    There is a slight bias trend towards God in Buddhism, though, because the word “Mahayana” means “Greater Vessel” and “Hiniyana” means “Lesser Vessel” in Sanskrit.

    #35764

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    And how can one strive to leave the cycle of birth and death without craving for it? Isn’t this a central contradiction in Gautama’s theory?

    That is a very good point as well.

    You don’t see too many mortifiers of the flesh punctuating it by saying: “I can quit anytime I want, baby!” 😁

    #35765

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Early on in this video, watch a girl go flying right out of her boat.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the whole video. It’s been almost 50 years since braving inlets, and I can say I never, ever saw 900 HP worth of outboard motors on one boat.

    Will look up that inlet now, and won’t be surprised if I see statistics on fatalities. I did guess correctly it’s in Miami. Also think I spotted a coconut floating in the water.

    #35766

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Brief response to people’s opinion about karma: What interests me is the feeling of karma, which would make sense as a positive influence on each individual’s social behavior back when we lived more face-to-face every day, and didn’t have language to put the feeling into words.

    Perhaps that feeling culturally evolved into speculative and excessive intellectualizations in writings, and mythical and artistic interpretations of it, in various forms. It just happened, unfortunately, that religions took the lead in this kind of speculation, adding their invention of divine origination of such feelings, later amplified even further with increasingly large scale governance of increasingly large populations, and printing presses.

    #35767

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen, To answer your question about Buddhism and God, as I was taught in World Religions years ago, Buddhism regards the existence of God as an open question. It is not an absolute requirement in Buddhism to believe in a God and both individual Buddhists and different schools of Buddhist thought have different answers to the question. The Mahayana school of Buddhism believes in a God and the Hiniyana school of Buddhism does not. Others schools I’m not certain about and one could investigate those further. There is a slight bias trend towards God in Buddhism, though, because the word “Mahayana” means “Greater Vessel” and “Hiniyana” means “Lesser Vessel” in Sanskrit.

    Did I ask a question about Hinduism and God? If I did I may have been making a point of some sort by asking a rhetorical question.

    At any rate, I probably know about as much as Simon or anyone else here having been fascinated by Asian religion in my teens and in at least the first year of two of college.

    As time progressed, I became more critical of religion in general and more interested in Western philosophy.

    Among my graduate courses, though, was a 2-term study of Asian religions that covered a lot more than Hinduism and Buddhism, by which I mean Sikhism, Jainism, and few even more minor religions.

    I actually taught an Intro to Religion course on the college level, though it was largely focused the main religions of the world, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. And of course, being aimed at largely freshmen who were only taking the course to satisfy a requirement, it was little more than an overview.

    Hinayana is a general term for varieties of Buddhism that stick with what Gautama taught and not much more, and as you say he had little to say about God for, as Gautama saw it, the purpose of life was to stop being reborn, not to pay tribute to a deity.

    The more concern there is for a god or gods, the further you are from the original Buddhism of Gautama. Even the versions of Mahayana that recognize a God often have a highly abstract, rarified notion of a deity along the lines of Paul Tillich’s “Ground of Being” which strikes me as almost a rebranding of the Hindu concept of Brahman. When woo-peddlers talk about “the One,” this is pretty much what they are talking about.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #35769

    Davis
    Moderator

    Actually Pope in India they had an extremely advanced vocabulary for physiological analysis at the time. They didn’t have as clinical an understanding as we do now but they certainly could but psychological concepts and emotions into words.

    #35770

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    As far as I’m aware, karmic actions – those which bring negative consequences for the actor – are “tainted” by the “unwholesome roots”: greed, anger, or ignorance.

    Buddhism recognises that some things that happen to us, aren’t our fault, like natural disasters.

    As for the “craving for enlightenment” or similar:  some writers recognise “craving” as being similar to my “pressure to thrive” which can be a healthy thing if handled properly.

    From: Ajahn Sucitto – “Turning the Wheel of Truth – commentary on the Buddha’s first teaching” 

    Sometimes taṇhā is translated as “desire,” but that gives rise to some crucial misinterpretations with reference to the way of Liberation.  As we shall see, some form of desire is essential in order to aspire to, and persist in, cultivating the path out of dukkha [“unsatisfactoriness”].  Desire as an eagerness to offer, to commit, to apply oneself to meditation, is called chanda.  It’s a psychological “yes,” a choice, not a pathology.  In fact, you could summarize Dhamma training as the transformation of taṇhā into chanda.  It’s a process whereby we guide volition, grab and hold on to the steering wheel, and travel with clarity toward our deeper well-being.  So we’re not trying to get rid of desire (which would take another kind of desire, wouldn’t it).  Instead, we are trying to transmute it, take it out of the shadow of gratification and need, and use its aspiration and vigor to bring us into light and clarity.

    #35772

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon you cannot talk about karma with any religion without talking about the supernatural mechanism behind it (a universal mechanism which magically facilitates moral equilibrium). And you cannot refer to karma via Bhuddism or Hinduism without referring to the reincarnation cycle. Yes there may be a psychological element to it but what YOU are talking about and what THEY are talking about are two DIFFERENT things. It’s unwise to refer to one thing when you are really talking about another. Budhism does talk about the consequences of your actions but they talk about it in a super natural way. Secularists like ourselves talk about it as the social and psychological repercussion of your actions which is NOT the same and Bhuddism offers very little that can educate us that modern psychology doesn’t do a LOT better.

    #35771

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon you cannot talk about karma with any religion without talking about the supernatural mechanism behind it (a universal mechanism which magically facilitates moral equilibrium). And you cannot refer to karma via Bhuddism or Hinduism without referring to the reincarnation cycle. Yes there may be a psychological element to it but what YOU are talking about and what THEY are talking about are two DIFFERENT things. It’s unwise to refer to one thing when you are really talking about another. Budhism does talk about the consequences of your actions but they talk about it in a super natural way. Secularists like ourselves talk about it as the social and psychological repercussion of your actions which is NOT the same and Bhuddism offers very little that can educate us that modern psychology doesn’t do a LOT better.

    #35773

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It would be strange if Buddhism were to neglect the everyday aspect of karma.  I agree that it also has reincarnation, but you can have the first perfectly well, without the second.

    From Wikipedia:

    In the Buddhist tradition, karma refers to actions driven by intention (cetanā), a deed done deliberately through body, speech or mind, which leads to future consequences.

    #35774

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon that is an over-simplistic description of the Buddhist concept of karma. It cannot be divorced from the supernatural karma unless you discuss it in a secular way, in which case it is no longer Buddhist. Yes…you can think of it in a non-cyclical folk-wisdom sense, but you don’t need Buddhism to be able to do that. It is nonsensical to talk of Buddhist concepts outside of the cycle of reincarnation and the mechanisms of moral balance. If you do…then you’re just talking about personal responsibility, sensible behaviour and keeping in mind the psychological repercussions of your action. That’s not really karma. That’s a super mega westernised karma-lite at best. You’re wise to simply drop the Karma stuff in general.

    It’s sort of like talking about “sin” as though it’s simply “doing something you know is wrong”. Sin is FAR more than that and it cannot be divorced from a transgression against God; breaking God’s rules; something to atone for. I mean…if you talked about sin as though it was “just doing something bad” then why just say “doing something bad”? You don’t need the loaded terminology. Christianity cannot tell us anything about right or wrong that cannot be worked out independently through moral systems (and obviously in a superior way). The same goes with Buddhism and karma.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Davis.
    #35776

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It cannot be divorced from the supernatural karma unless you discuss it in a secular way, in which case it is no longer Buddhist.

    It’s an aspect of Buddhism, and Buddhism is an aspect of real life (the non-supernatural parts anyway).

    I like some of the things that it says about karma, I find them sensible and rational.  From the Dhammapada:

    119  A man may find pleasure in evil as long as his evil has not given fruit; but when the fruit of evil comes then that man finds evil indeed.

    120  A man may find pain in doing good as long as his good has not given fruit; but when the fruit of the good comes then that man finds good indeed.

    Now, can you point to other sources which say it equally well?

    #35777

    Unseen
    Participant

    It would be strange if Buddhism were to neglect the everyday aspect of karma.  I agree that it also has reincarnation, but you can have the first perfectly well, without the second.

    Simon, that sometimes misdeeds end up smackkng wrongdoers in the face is true, but that’s a trivial truth, PLUS there’s that word “sometimes.” In the concept of sometimes lurks sometimes not.

    In the Hindu and Buddhist conception of Karma, it’s a rather, for the lack of a better word, deterministic cosmic system of justice. You can trust that your deeds will determine your rebirth.

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