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Thread: Buddhism

  1. #1
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    Buddhism

    Surprised we don't have a dedicated thread on this topic, so let's get it going.

    Some people channel surf... watching TV skipping from one TV show to the next. I religion surf. More these days than ever before. And all the religions are melting together into one uniformed whole.

    For a few years I was deep into Islam and Sufism, and for the most part of the last year I got right into Christianity (still writing a book about that topic)... but recently I've re-kindled my teenage interest in Buddhism (probably due to visiting a few Buddhist sites and temples in Thailand recently).

    I like this a lot:

    The greatest achievement is selflessness.
    The greatest worth is self-mastery.
    The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
    The greatest precept is continual awareness.
    The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
    The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways.
    The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
    The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
    The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
    The greatest patience is humility.
    The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
    The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
    The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

    by Atiśa
    Some personal notes on this list.

    The greatest achievement is selflessness.
    This I have struggled with a lot, but not because I am selfish. It is more due to being concentrated on what I am doing, and thinking about, to such an intense degree that I don't even notice that it leads to acts of selflessness. On the other hand I do a lot of selflessness-styled acts where I provide something for others (whatever it may be) without any interest in self-gain of any sort. Of course in a capitalistic society and work life this is always a struggle because it is certainly not economically viable. LOL.

    The greatest worth is self-mastery.
    This is what I am always hard at work at. Actually this week I took it to a greater level. Yesterday I created a schedule for myself for each day of the week. Writing these words is actually done in the 3 hour time slot for Monday that is dedicated to writing. By creating a rigid framework for myself it will help me to induce a greater degree of self-mastery. Does not leave much wiggle room. I can be classed as suffering from Asbergers, ADHD, Bi-polar and some light form of autism (LOL)... and I reject all such silly classifications, but it is true that my brain and energy is all over the fucking place and it is driving me bit insane. So I've strongly cracked down on this.

    The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
    This is true, and even greater when the one served is even unaware that he/she has been served. Ties in with the selflessness bit as well. Kindness without any reward. Although it feels good. Should it? Is that not some sort of reward?

    The greatest precept is continual awareness.
    This is something I experiment with a lot these days. Very empowering actually.

    The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
    This is deep. Makes it easier to embrace the catchphrase of The Joker: Why so serious?

    The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways.
    This one is easy for me. Conformity has always been very uninteresting to me, although to infiltrate conformity is another matter... and something that needs to be done if one wants to sustain life in the "civilised" world.

    The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
    This is related to the bit about self-mastery. Not to be addicted or trapped.

    The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
    Very easy concerning "stuff", not as easy concerning my daughter for instance. Almost impossible... but if I look at it as non-possessive then it makes a lot of sense.

    The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
    The greatest patience is humility.
    The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
    The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
    The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

    These five lines are pretty obvious and paths I really try and walk. The "let go" I've almost mastered, compared to ten years ago when I could never let go.

    If someone lives by all these statements 100% I class such a person a 10.
    If someone lives by all these statements 0% I class such a person a 1 (or a moron).

    On that scale I humbly place myself as a 4. When I was a kid I was probably a 5. And about ten years ago I was about a 2 1/2. So I think I have done great progress.

    Anyway... no need to follow anything I wrote. Don't feel attached to this post. If you got some Buddhism-related insight please share.

    Namaste Motherfuckers. LOL.


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  2. #2
    A beautiful list and wise words. Many thanks. I would like to comment on your comments and share some personal views too.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest achievement is selflessness.
    This I have struggled with a lot, but not because I am selfish. It is more due to being concentrated on what I am doing, and thinking about, to such an intense degree that I don't even notice that it leads to acts of selflessness. On the other hand I do a lot of selflessness-styled acts where I provide something for others (whatever it may be) without any interest in self-gain of any sort. Of course in a capitalistic society and work life this is always a struggle because it is certainly not economically viable. LOL.
    I absolutely agree on the proposition. However, doing good deeds results in the opposite of selflessness (depending on how you define selflessness) in my opinion and i explain why: Doing good deeds is a positive act. A positive thing requires a negative thing to define itself as positive, hence its belongs in the dualistic realm and doing good things keeps you as a prisoner in this dualistic realm. "Selflessness" in this case means serving others and putting your own ego at the very end of the queue, i think i understand it. True selflessness in my understanding means, to lose your own ego and hence all your desires, no matter if they are good or bad. True selflessness is absolute void of anything-whatever-it-may-be. A total absence of desires, wishes, thoughts, even generosity or charity. The divine is void. I am speaking idealistically, i am far away of what i am saying. Pure theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest worth is self-mastery.
    This is what I am always hard at work at. Actually this week I took it to a greater level. Yesterday I created a schedule for myself for each day of the week. Writing these words is actually done in the 3 hour time slot for Monday that is dedicated to writing. By creating a rigid framework for myself it will help me to induce a greater degree of self-mastery. Does not leave much wiggle room. I can be classed as suffering from Asbergers, ADHD, Bi-polar and some light form of autism (LOL)... and I reject all such silly classifications, but it is true that my brain and energy is all over the fucking place and it is driving me bit insane. So I've strongly cracked down on this.
    So, you define self-mastery as domination over time and schedules? SELF-mastery is a subjective definition. In my understanding, again, reaching a void-like state or even some kind of permanent EGO death could be SELF mastery.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
    This is true, and even greater when the one served is even unaware that he/she has been served. Ties in with the selflessness bit as well. Kindness without any reward. Although it feels good. Should it? Is that not some sort of reward?
    Depending on the motive. I could agree with doing it just for the good cause. Personally i would see wisdom as (one of the) greatest qualities.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest precept is continual awareness.
    This is something I experiment with a lot these days. Very empowering actually.
    Sounds good.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
    This is deep. Makes it easier to embrace the catchphrase of The Joker: Why so serious?
    I agree. Or if required, maybe the realisation of the statement above as an acute treatment to enable or realise the emptiness of everything in a second step.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways.
    This one is easy for me. Conformity has always been very uninteresting to me, although to infiltrate conformity is another matter... and something that needs to be done if one wants to sustain life in the "civilised" world.
    Yes. However, OPPOSING the world's ways as a further, more radical approach, would be a waste of energy and time in my opinion. Withdrawal from society or even from any other individual would be better and wiser than rebellion. Why are politicians in most cases grey haired?

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
    This is related to the bit about self-mastery. Not to be addicted or trapped.
    and

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
    Very easy concerning "stuff", not as easy concerning my daughter for instance. Almost impossible... but if I look at it as non-possessive then it makes a lot of sense.
    Possessing other people, fixed ideas or objects makes you possessed, a property, as well and again a prisoner.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quarrox View Post
    A total absence of desires, wishes, thoughts, even generosity or charity.
    I belive it includes compassion. So I think generosity and charity is essential, however not to fuel ones own ego of making such "nice" deeds. Not for any reward. I see it more as a duty. I believe unconditional love is the highest state you can enter, and it is very difficult and I am far from perfect. But I am really aware of it in my daily life and I try to embrace it as best I can and when I do succeed the rewards are great... but I don't mean rewards in terms of my ego... I mean rewards that allegorically parts the Sea as it did for Moses. The universe appreciates love... it makes the chaos of being become still and calm and somehow makes it easier to get rid of attachement and stress and confusion... the inner peace is achieved more easily. I know this from experience, but life in society is so very hard and it is indeed a challenge. But I am a warrior and victim mentality is not something I like to have. If something bad happens to me it is always my own fault: stop crying you bitch, get up and get your act together etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarrox View Post
    So, you define self-mastery as domination over time and schedules?
    No, not at all. But everything is a microcosm of a macrocosm... and for me personally the details effect the larger picture. A simplified example:

    If I want to feel more sympathy and love it does me little good to spend every hour of the day watching violent films. It puts my mind in a violent ambience. So I would then watch more postivie films to inspire the mind to move into that area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarrox View Post
    Yes. However, OPPOSING the world's ways as a further, more radical approach, would be a waste of energy and time in my opinion. Withdrawal from society or even from any other individual would be better and wiser than rebellion. Why are politicians in most cases grey haired?
    I mean more not to take it serious. Why so serious? as the Joker says.

    Last edited by Awani; 02-28-2017 at 05:17 PM.

    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  4. #4
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    When it comes to Buddhism, I do not know if I am "lost in translation" or if some translated words mean the same for me and for Buddha.

    My biggest objection to Buddhism is the idea of getting rid of the desires as to avoid suffering... though I can't know if I am maybe "lost in translation" and using a very occidental definition of "desire".

    (If Buddha was a native English speaker and we were not using translated concepts, then I'd say that I completely disagree with the idea... but quite often the translation changes the true meaning of some things).

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    My biggest objection to Buddhism is the idea of getting rid of the desires as to avoid suffering... though I can't know if I am maybe "lost in translation" and using a very occidental definition of "desire".
    You have to understand one important thing about Buddhism that many people misunderstand. There are two paths. One is the path of the normal human and the other is the path of the Buddhist monk. To be able to achieve any results as a monk you have a much stricter criteria.

    On the other hand it is true that desire = suffering. This is very difficult to accept... but having pondered on this topic for a few decades now I know (for me) that it is 100 % accurate. Desire, ownership and possessions = suffering. No doubt.

    The most terrifying news for any normal human being is to understand that there will never be any closure to anything. In life there will never be a moment when you can really say that it is finished, resolved or like in a Hollywood movie all strings are tied up at the end. This is a fantasy.

    Nothing remains the same either.

    If one is attached, to something material or to ego (whatever), then there will come a day when whatever this attachment is, will change or vanish or be unresolved. And then that person will suffer.

    I know you dislike the "burn ego" bit... and I don't know how you understand that... but from my understanding it is a very healthy thing, and also something that has nothing to do with "loosing the self"... because there are more than one "self".

    All I have written thus far is based only on my own mind and on my direct experiences. That is the only weight my words have.


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  6. #6
    An interesting comparison is Buddhism (with all its schools and teachings) and Taoism/Daoism (Tao, "The way", ancient far east, today known as China). It is similar, and yet different. I "encountered" Taoism yesterday and will dedicate some study time to it. Especially the teachings of Laozi / Lao Tse are extremely profound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    You have to understand one important thing about Buddhism that many people misunderstand. There are two paths. One is the path of the normal human and the other is the path of the Buddhist monk. To be able to achieve any results as a monk you have a much stricter criteria.
    Yes, I know it... I had a relationship some years ago with the daughter of an Asian Buddhist monk.... and I know he was "strict" (to say the least). He was an amazing artist though, but his art was sacred art (and strangely based on automatism... identical to the concept that was used by the Surrealists WRITERS -not the painters, since "automatism" never arrived to the surreal painters as a technique).

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    On the other hand it is true that desire = suffering. This is very difficult to accept...
    ... Or actually easy to accept.

    Maybe my objection is that I do not necessarily think that "suffering" has to be avoided... I mean, I do not tattoo words on myself, but if I was forced to get a tattoo that says "No suffering" or a tattoo that says "Love your desires", I would choose the later... I don't even have to think about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    I know you dislike the "burn ego" bit... and I don't know how you understand that... but from my understanding it is a very healthy thing, and also something that has nothing to do with "loosing the self"... because there are more than one "self".
    Yes, I am in complete disagreement with the way in which most people understand the idea...

    i.e, I remember a conversation that took place here a LONG time ago about this concept and many persons explaining how they are "boring", but that this is a "good sign", that being "boring" was the most noticeable sign of having lost the ego... I was honestly horrified. I would never say that being "boring" is a positive trait... not at all.

    ... but it is just my OPINION and probably the result of the path I have walked, which is completely at odds with "Buddhism" in that sense.

    As to use an author that we both like, Louis Claude de Saint Martin... you know his idea of "The Man of Desire"... which was a "positive" concept for him and the middle point to a final "uplifting" of the spirit (it wasn't the last step for him, but the basis for the last step). I do not have a tattoo of Saint-Martin in my heart and I disagree with lots of his idea, but his general concept... well, I prefer such thing to the idea of working against one's desires as to avoid suffering (I KNOW it works... though I do not know if "avoiding suffering" is exactly the point, or actually I think I don't think so).

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    I don't think "ego burn" is being boring. It might appear boring to others (I don't know), but I would say it is the opposite of boring.

    But as for desires I think we just have to agree to disagree. Suffering is not about avoiding it really. For example.

    I am not trying to NOT feel sad... I simply am happy.

    I would not try and avoid to suffer... I simply don't suffer.

    More along these lines...


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dev View Post
    I simply am happy.

    I simply don't suffer.
    Suffering can be compared to a sine wave.

    'Happy' is the ups, 'sad'/'miserable' is the downs.

    Not everyone's suffering sine-wave is the same. Some have longer/higher ups and shorter/deeper downs, or anything in-between.

    If one is (or claims to be) 'happy', one is still surfing the wave of suffering.

    Robert Monroe's advice was to 'flatline' in such matters. Perhaps it is this 'flatline' that may be perceived as 'boring.

    BTW, if it's just a semantic issue, we can always aim to use better suited words.

    "Suffering is a big word in Buddhist thought. It is a key term and it should be thoroughly understood. The Pali word is dukkha, and it does not just mean the agony of the body. It means that deep subtle sense of unsatisfactoriness which is a part of every mind moment and which results directly from the mental treadmill. The essence of life is suffering, said the Buddha. At first glance this seems exceedingly morbid and pessimistic. It even seems untrue. After all, there are plenty of times when we are happy. Aren't there. No, there are not. It just seems that way. Take any moment when you feel really fulfilled and examine it closely. Down under the joy, you will find that subtle, all-pervasive undercurrent of tension, that no matter how great this moment is, it is going to end. No matter how much you just gained, you are either going to lose some of it or spend the rest of your days guarding what you have got and scheming how to get more. And in the end, you are going to die. In the end, you lose everything. It is all transitory."

    Henepola Gunaratana, from 'Mindfulness in Plain English'.

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    Those two phrases was an example to explain my point.

    However to be happy is to be at peace... there is no wave of suffering in this whatsoever. "Flatline" would be a poor choice of words, at least for my tastes. So yes perhaps a semantic issue.


    Donít let the delusion of reality confuse you regarding the reality of the illusion.

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