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Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby chankin1937 on Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:01 pm

Joe wrote: Oh, but do not (and I mean that as an imperative) think that those two masters make any distinction between zazen and daily life! That's where you go wrong, Colin -- and HAVE gone wrong -- every time... . And it is why -- and shows clearly where -- you have no understanding and true appreciation of Zen Buddhism,


Hello Joe,
Time and time again you insist that such is the case. You are wrong. Consider this passage from the Tao te Ching on page 158 of “Chinese philosophy in Classical Times” by E.R.Hughes :

The business of learning is one of day by day acquiring more,
The business of the Tao, one of day by day dealing with less.
Yes, dealing with less and less,
Until you arrive at inaction.


There is a clear distinction here between learning (living) and zazen.
It is undeniable that the accomplished meditator gets immense advantages in his daily life from his attainments but he must use the tool of conscious mental activity to solve his problems and satisfy his appetites. In zazen he abstains from using that tool.

In the Fukanzazengi EITHEI DOGEN ZENJI (1200-1253) wrote (for zazen):
“Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs .Do not think “good” or “bad”. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha.”

How can that possibly refer to activity in daily life?
Let’s imagine Joe’s life.
He wakes up and thinks, “I must get up.” No, not allowed. That’s action directed by mental activity.
Then he thinks, “I must wash, shave and dress,” No, not allowed, for the same reason.
And so on throughout the day ,for whatever action he contemplates is (he thinks) forbidden.
Some weeks later he is found as a dehydrated corpse beneath his bed sheets, paralysed and condemned to death by his own errors.
Have fun with that, Joe.
Colin
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:17 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:Consider this passage from the Tao te Ching

The (dualistic) Hell you're in is of your own making, by your own insistence.

Zen Buddhist practice is a gateway out of Hell, for oneself and all beings. Look into it by contacting an accomplished master, I'd suggest, if you're interested. That's how it's done, and is the way that all your quoted figures have proceeded.

Meanwhile, to attend on-topic to the OP, I'd just say that no reincarnation, per se, is necessary to postulate, nor to believe in, for the system of Buddhist ethics -- sila -- to be needed, and effective. Sila permits concentration, and samadhi, enabling Wisdom to open, and the heart of Compassion to open. THAT'S what sila is for. The old Hindu appreciation of reincarnation is not essential in Buddhism. Yogacara Buddhist philosophy takes account of it however, but not in terms of a personality, or person. Instead, seeds mature in the Tathagathagarbha, the store-house consciousness, or eighth-consciousness. But this philosophizing is not necessary. It's enough as a practitioner to know that sila is for the maturing and flowering of practice (again, enabling concentration, and samadhi; and then, wisdom and compassion).

--Joe
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:08 pm

chankin1937 wrote:In the Fukanzazengi EITHEI DOGEN ZENJI (1200-1253) wrote (for zazen):
“Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs .Do not think “good” or “bad”. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha.”

How can that possibly refer to activity in daily life?


I could show you if you spend a day by my side :PP:

It does refer to daily life Colin, all the teachings do. This narrative loophole whether it refers to daily life is going nowhere, in fact it only enhances one's erroneous perceptions.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby chankin1937 on Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:11 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:. Look into it by contacting an accomplished master, I'd suggest, if you're interested. That's how it's done, and is the way that all your quoted figures have proceeded.


Hello Joe,
From “Buddhist Scriptures” selected and translated by Edward Conze, page 53.
In Ashvagosha’s “Life of the Buddha” The Tathagata says ,
“No teacher have I. None need I venerate and none must I despise. Nirvava have I now obtained, and I am not the same as others are. Quite by myself, you see, have I the Dharma won. Completely have I understood what must be understood, though other failed to understand it That is the reason why I am a Buddha.

That’s the coups de grace for your rant about the necessity for seeing a teacher!
Colin
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:39 pm

Colin,

chankin1937 wrote:
The Tathagata says, <snip>

That’s the coups de grace for your rant about the necessity for seeing a teacher!

It's YOU who I suggest see a teacher, not Old Golden Face.

Even if you were not as totally off-the-rails (or whatever... ) as you represent yourself here to be, a teacher in the ZEN BUDDHIST tradition is still a necessity (if Zen Buddhist practice would interest you), for learning correct practice, and applying it with the sangha, and taking it home and into daily-life.

Old Golden Face had five noted teachers, Colin. Would he have sat-through to awaken in the face of the Morning Star if he had not? Nope.

Again, my suggestion is for YOU, and everyone else, not for Shakyamuni. For Shakyamuni, it's too late anyway.

Really, you should get out more often. The smell of mothballs in your representations needs dispelling. Get some (a lot of! ) fresh air.

I understand logistics are tougher, now. I send sympathy and understanding.

rgds,

--Joe
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:19 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:It's YOU who I suggest see a teacher, not Old Golden Face.


I agree with you on the importance of teachers, but you derailed this thread, in a somewhat narcissistic manner, no offence. Teachers are not in universal agreement, and my teacher even told me not to imitate him, to occasionally think for myself while still practising and opening the hand of thought. I agree with you that Buddhist practice is not found solely in ratiocination, for it is found on the cushion, in solitude in natural scenery, poetry, and all of daily life. However, self-reflection and asking questions are also important components. Dismissing people's enquiries on account of having no teacher to tell them the right answers is akin to a Catholic saying, "Ask your pastor for the absolute truth."

You began this conversation by insulting my English, which is fine, and I apologize if I took too much offence. However, when we started talking about the meat of the subject, your Yogacaran views, you said, "I cannot substitute your studying." You then admonished me for asking you to clarify and elaborate further on your interpretation of Yogacaran texts in relevance to rebirth after dying. Afterwards, you dismissed all further questioning on account of 1) people not having teachers 2) too much thinking (when in fact Buddhists always used defeasible reasoning based off personal experience in the past). Uhm, do you realize how narcissistic that is?

Finally, does one need Dharma transmission before you show a shred of respect and cease employing the rhetoric tactic of dismissing as defeasible reasoning that does not conform to your own biases? I think your conversational style should be discouraged, and it is partly the reason I criticized the Zen tradition in Northern Europe / USA.

Gregory answered my question. I don't agree with Gregory entirely, but he did a good job substantiating his views and being clear and concise. You, instead, just beat around the bush and even went into moral nihilist territory. Abandoning all normative ethics leads to moral nihilism, period. It's okay if you don't believe in rebirth after dying, but abandoning normative ethics altogether invariably leads to moral nihilism. The truth is, I don't care about rebirth after dying beyond using it to derive a normative ethics. I have met plenty of Western Zen Buddhists into pessimistic, nihilist literature, so it is definitely a big trend we need to look into.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:08 pm

SS,

Samsaric Spiral wrote:You began this conversation by insulting my English, which is fine, and I apologize if I took too much offence.

No, no. No, no. No, no, Sir.

Re-read, please.

I intuited that a part of our lack of one-to-one correspondence in communication via this medium may be due to your not being a native English speaker, and my not being a Yogi in your language. It was a question. And I was -- and am, anyway -- willing to apply extra elbow-grease to make sure we get things right, every time, or at least that *I* do.

Otherwise, my only other fluent language (más ó menos) is Spanish, by study, and years of deep-immersion life and work in Chile (like 'Anirukta', here). Plus, I have a bunch of coding languages and scripting lingos, but never mind. ;)

I'll reply now to other concerns in your fine post. Thank you. I just wanted to let you know that English is probably the language we'd better continue to use!, due to my own limitations, which I freely and openly admit, ...not proudly.

Truly,

--Joe
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:35 pm

SS,

You suspect that morality is to be found in formulas and prescriptions.

I do not.

You say that my not finding (natural- ) morality there, but elsewhere, is "moral nihilism".

I do not.

I say it is the result of the opening of true Wisdom and true Compassion, in awakening, as afforded by fruition of correct Zen Buddhist practice, for instance.

Note!, awakening is not something that Western philosophies (thus far... ) include in their corpus of discourse. And, this is for the reason that awakening, and true Buddhist ethics, are NOT (ever... ) arrived-at by ratiocination. The (human) body is centrally involved.

Maybe some things are changing in academe. I left the Philosophy field 40 years ago, and I don't now read quite everything that's popping-up there in that literature, any more (by struggling post-docs, etc.).

Being at The University of Arizona, where I am, is an asset. I follow what people at our Center for Consciousness Studies are doing. The young Prof. David Chalmers has gone back home South, after a long time, but others here keep a strong hand in the topic. Keep us posted, if you note some good things, ok? Tnx.

best,

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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:15 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:I say it is the result of the opening of true Wisdom and true Compassion, in awakening, as afforded by fruition of correct Zen Buddhist practice, for instance.


By abandoning normative ethics, one is not obliged or even encouraged to open to true Wisdom and true Compassion.

Have you read Schopenhauer? Well, I'd argue Schopenhauer's negative utilitarian views conform with Buddhist views:

"Schopenhauer regards 'normative ethics', the attempt to establish the fundamental principle or principles of morality over which Kant laboured so long and hard, as a non-discipline since it is simple common sense. The supreme principle of morality, as everyone knows, is just 'harm no one; on the contrary help everyone as much as you can" (BM:69).

Schopenhauer says that egoistic action is not always 'wrong (Unrecht)'. Provided it does not cause harm to others it is 'right'. On the other hand, given the competitive situation in which we find ourselves, egoistic action is, inevitably, very often wrong. It is, indeed, the sole source of wrongdoing. The sole source of wrong-doing, in other words, is the inflicting of harm on others, 'denying' their wills, in the course of 'asserting' one's own (WR I: 334)."


Source: http://tinyurl.com/jaroqk7

Not sure if I agree that it's common sense, but regardless, the point is there is still a normative ethics.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:29 pm

SS,

Samsaric Spiral wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:I say it is the result of the opening of true Wisdom and true Compassion, in awakening, as afforded by fruition of correct Zen Buddhist practice, for instance.

By abandoning normative ethics, one is not obliged or even encouraged to open to true Wisdom and true Compassion.

Hey, then don't abandon it. But, if in the course of correct practice, everything stops, and Wisdom and Compassion arise in response to circumstances, DON'T go back to anything normative. In fact, you won't. It's... well... QUITE impossible. Natural intelligence of the original Mind takes precedence over previous, sluggish, dullard, deluded states.

Now, please, please, don't believe this. This is to be discovered, by having it manifest in you silently at the tips of all your nerve-endings. Correct practice is needed in order to slough-off the old regime, however. Dreamers will not find that this ever happens. One must commit to Practice.

Schopenhauer has not yet even dreamt of Buddhist awakening. Give him the deep-six. He's just a "thinker". As too many are, solely.

SS wrote:there is still a normative ethics.

Yes. And, thankfully, lots of sewage is processed every day, too.

Let's face it: not many people are going to engage in Buddhist practice to the point of awakening, and the establishment of Wisdom and Compassion, to match the classic and characteristic behavior of a Buddha, any Buddha. But, there IS such an "ethics". It is just natural-behavior, when all the facts of our life together are present to one, as an awakened person.

Simple.

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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:39 pm

desert_woodworker wrote: But, if in the course of correct practice, everything stops, and Wisdom and Compassion arise in response to circumstances, DON'T go back to anything normative. In fact, you won't.


I will encounter people who do unethical actions, and I will need sophisticated rhetoric to talk them out of it. Whether it's for activist purposes or day-to-day life affairs, one needs a certain kind of normative ethics in order to persuade others.

Natural intelligence of the original Mind takes precedence over previous, sluggish, dullard, deluded states.


Normative ethics is most likely a posteriori and not a priori. To say we all know what is right or wrong innately is ridiculous. Look at how the Japanese utilized Zazen to make people more effective and calm for killing or so forth.

Schopenhauer has not yet even dreamt of Buddhist awakening.


I'm pretty sure he had awakening experiences. He had a weird life.

But, there IS such an "ethics". It is just natural-behavior, when all the facts of our life together are present to one, as an awakened person.


Such thought can easily be abused. One does need some guidelines to unify their mind with or so. It's like, let's say someone is in deep samadhi or has satori, and they decide to ethnically cleanse a land for the good of their people. Of course, such a thing is insane, but one needs a more thorough argument to discourage such behaviour.

To rely on one's a priori intuition in all situations is ludicrous.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:06 pm

miauwwww
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:19 pm

Samsaric Spiral wrote:To say we all know what is right or wrong innately is ridiculous. Look at how the Japanese utilized Zazen to make people more effective and calm for killing or so forth.

Schopenhauer has not yet even dreamt of Buddhist awakening.


I'm pretty sure he had awakening experiences. He had a weird life.


Forget 'history' and so called recorded events, speak from experience and not from hearsay or reason?
I'm more interested in SS himself, instead of your accumulated knowledge :peace:

ps my English sucks compared to yours, but I'm keen of self-mockery before anyone else can say anything, besides the fact that there is no such thing as a victim or offender, such things belong to the minds of self and other only.

Stop jumping! :heya:
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:36 pm

SS,

Samsaric Spiral wrote:Schopenhauer has not yet even dreamt of Buddhist awakening.
SS wrote:I'm pretty sure he had awakening experiences. He had a weird life.


"Weirdness-of-life" is not assuredly "correct Buddhist practice". ;)

And, even a random, "lucky" awakening-experience is only just that: "an experience". Not continuing... . It has no context. And, no SUPPORTS. It has no continued care, nor nourishment.

In the Zen Buddhist way, practice changes after awakening, and awakening can be prolonged or perpetuated -- or re-established -- by correct practice AFTER awakening. This is a phase of practice that not many people know about, if they have never practiced, or if they have just merely read the works of early "popularizers" of the Zen Buddhist religion, and about its practices, where the popularizers do not mention anything about this. Notably, e.g., D. T. Suzuki, who has done as much harm as good (and I willingly give him his dual due). And let's leave that, err-r, "D. T. Suzuki-wannabee", Alan Watts, out of this entirely (for his safety, say). :lol2:

SS wrote:To rely on one's a priori intuition in all situations is ludicrous.

NO awakened Buddhist practitioner ever does this. One can use all the faculties of Mind, finally FREELY. So... HUH? :tongueincheek:

All's well.

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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:20 am

I agree attention and cognitive faculties emerge from brain processing. I am a strong emergentist. I definitely don't like weak emergentism. The issue with explaining explicit memory facades as emerging from brain activity is that, what is the nature of explicit memory when it is not persistently arising? If explicit memory has a degree of independence from brain activity, then I think that could support rebirth. Can the qualitative potentialities of explicit memory in its various forms arising from biology be said to pre-exist their temporal appearances? If not, how else can one explain a causal relation of the unique qualities arising from explicit meory in a way accessible to brain activity? What is the nature of declarative memory in relation to neural activity, what is its encodable field? This is hard to explain.

One way to hypothetically falsify my hypothesis of explicit memory having a degree of independence from brain activity is in the future we find a way to watch the mesoscopic dynamics of someone's healthy brain, across all columns and circuits, in real time and have a computer analyze it. Then in another brain growing in a kind of stem cell kit, we would also have nanobots that can traverse glia cells (lol doubt this) that can get to neurons and either inhibit or excite them at key points in order to make the rhythmic dynamical system of the brain growing in the stem cell kit mimic the healthy brain simulation. The way the nanobot functions would be based off the computer database of simulations of the real-time mesoscopic dynamics of the human growing and experiencing the world through its Post-Natal days. Then we transplant the growing brain into another medium in which we can determine whether it is conscious or not. However, this is most likely impossible. DTI, fMRIs, EEGs, electrode or multi-electrode stimulation, etc. all of that is primitive to what I'm proposing.

I predict the transplanted brain in the other medium will not have any refined, specific explicit memories. This is because there is some kind of property in external phenomena, perhaps involving wave-function collapse, that is necessary to sense external world in working memory, and also for the brain to consolidate and then retrieve from the encodable field in the world**. David Chalmers hypothesizes about something akin to this here:



If explicit memory has a degree of independence from brain activity, then the Lankavatara Sutra's explanation of storehouse consciousness is true. Check my first and second post on this thread.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby Samsaric Spiral on Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:31 am

I agree attention and cognitive faculties emerge from brain processing. I am a strong emergentist. I definitely don't like weak emergentism. The issue with explaining explicit memory facades as emerging from brain activity is that, what is the nature of explicit memory when it is not persistently arising? If explicit memory has a degree of independence from brain activity, then I think that could support rebirth. Can the qualitative potentialities of explicit memory in its various forms arising from biology be said to pre-exist their temporal appearances? If not, how else can one explain a causal relation of the unique qualities arising from explicit meory in a way accessible to brain activity? What is the nature of declarative memory in relation to neural activity, what is its encodable field? This is hard to explain.

One way to hypothetically falsify my hypothesis of explicit memory having a degree of independence from brain activity is in the future we find a way to watch the mesoscopic dynamics of someone's healthy brain, across all columns and circuits, in real time and have a computer analyze it. Then in another brain growing in a kind of stem cell kit, we would also have nanobots that can traverse glia cells (lol doubt this) that can get to neurons and either inhibit or excite them at key points in order to make the rhythmic dynamical system of the brain growing in the stem cell kit mimic the healthy brain simulation. The way the nanobot functions would be based off the computer database of simulations of the real-time mesoscopic dynamics of the human growing and experiencing the world through its Post-Natal days. Then we transplant the growing brain into another medium in which we can determine whether it is conscious or not. However, this is most likely impossible. DTI, fMRIs, EEGs, electrode or multi-electrode stimulation, etc. all of that is primitive to what I'm proposing.

I predict the transplanted brain in the other medium will not have any refined, specific explicit memories. This is because there is some kind of property in external phenomena, perhaps involving wave-function collapse, that is necessary to sense external world in working memory, and also for the brain to consolidate and then retrieve from the encodable field in the world**. David Chalmers hypothesizes about something akin to this here:



If explicit memory has a degree of independence from brain activity, then the Lankavatara Sutra's explanation of storehouse consciousness is true: karmic residues in the storehouse consciousness (alayavijnana) leave seeds (bija) to cause the formation of new volitional formations (sankhara), bridging two existences, if not purified.
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby desert_woodworker on Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:00 am

SS,

Samsaric Spiral wrote:I am a strong emergentist.

NOT a consideration among Zen Buddhist practitioners. But may you be well!

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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:15 pm

Joe wrote: Old Golden Face had five noted teachers, Colin.


Hello Joe,
Are you referring to the group of five ascetics he left upon his realising they were on the wrong path? Ashvaghosha is quite clear - the Buddha had no teacher. Its also clear that he came up with something new for his time – a proper understanding . An understanding that none of his contemporaries had. So, how could they teach him anything?
There are many exhortations in the early writings for aspirants to go into the forest away from noise and people implying that doing so would be more conducive to success.
Attend the sangha by all means, but don’t pretend there is any advantage to be gained by doing so. Other than setting raw beginners off on the (hopefully) right path.
On the other hand, they can get perfectly adequate advice by reading the words of the old Masters.
Colin
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:21 pm

Hello Joe,
You have this strange idea that awakening is something more than Kensho or Satori. That once you empty your mind of conscious mental activity compassion and wisdom will bloom. No amount of logical argument can persuade you of the ridiculousness of this fixation. The essence of Kensho is quiet mind – the temporary end of conscious mental activity – no further action can possibly take place for as long as the experience lasts.
Wisdom and compassion are useful in daily life. You either have them or you don’t from day one, independently of any experiences resulting from zazen.

As for morality, actions which sustain the specialist, interdependent group we are members of and assist in achieving the goals of those members are deemed good. We measure the effectiveness of such action by how much peace-of-mind – happiness - the action produces - not in each individual member - but in the group as a whole.
Thus the thief may derive a good deal of happiness from a successful robbery but the group in which he operates does not and the bonds that hold the group together will be weakened. Therefore his act is immoral. The advantages of group membership being so important, necessitate that the group be sustained at all times.
Surely, that’s as “normative” as you can get and it is totally independent of any religious belief.
Colin
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Re: Buddhist ethical system is illegitimate without rebirth

Postby chankin1937 on Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:24 pm

Here’s a tip for all posters. Construct your replies in a word processor wirh a spell checker.
Then copy and paste them into the reply box.
Colin
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