Enlightenment in 3 quick and easy steps

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Fork, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    It's a title, an honorific. That's part of the problem of the Buddha, people idolize him, which makes enlightenment seem like something far away and exotic. Actually, it's closer than your own skin.
     
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  3. Mazulu Banned Banned

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    Independent of what is really out there after we die, I think that our expanded brains (compared to other primates) allows us to imagine great things that lift the human heart. That is the great beauty of being a homosapient, that we can imagine things that glorify our gods, that we can live amazing lives in spite of whatever boring and dusty old facts might tell us.
     
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  5. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    The only religion I have good knowledge of is Christianity, seeing as that's the one I was born into - Greek Orthodox. As I also have a good deal of interest in Greek philosophy and am able to (laboriously) read it in the original language, out of interest, I also sometimes read the New Testament in the language in was originally mainly written in - now known as New Testament Greek. My point here is, that I more often than not amamzed at the massive difference of what the original says and what modern day Christianity interprets. Quite often, the difference is diamatrically opposite. I can say with some confidence that the original New Testament, read in the original language, contains powerful clear statements concerning enlightenment - not that I want to get into it here.

    And making srong statements about religion often gets peoples nose out of joint, but .. what the heck - sometimes I feel that the worst thing abut Christianity is SOME Christians manipulation / interpretation of it.

    Others are more able to argue this here than I - and I see that some interesting discussion has ensued. I will read it with interest.
     
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  7. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    Never heard of her before (I'm in Australia) but googled her. Some nice quotes, though I don't quite 'grok' the one above.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, and people are just so incredibly dumb not to see what is right in front of their nose!

    "Happiness has always been right here, right in front of me, and I was just too dumb/blind/occupied with unimportant things to see it!"

    The official party line of every motiovational speaker out to make money off of troubled but gullible people ...
     
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I remember an old biblical film with a relatively young Anthony Hopkins. His character and some others were discussing whether they should try to convert non-Christians or not, and Hopkins' character argued that that would not be right.
    It was quite odd to see, a very novel idea. Maybe it was just a reflection of the times in which the film was made, with its focus on democracy, egalitarianism etc. Or maybe there was more to it ...


    Frankly, I don't think that much will be said about the traditional Buddhist ideas about enlightenment.

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  10. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    I haven't seen the film. Also, your point in the above escapes me.

    There are some terms used in debates, the definition of which should be agreed to by all parties, else, the debate would be useless. 'God' is one such term.

    It seems 'enlightenment' is another.

    a) what is your definition of enlightenment ?

    b) what are the traditional Buddhist ideas about it ?
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    You noted how the Bible in the original language is quite different than reading later/modern translations.
    Similarly, there are films with biblical themes that present a picture of Christianity that is almost unrecognizable for someone who is used only to mainstream Christianity.

    Christians respecting the personal spiritual boundaries of others? I've only seen that in that film.
    (Granted, over time, I have apparently become such a hideous person that no street preacher dares to approach me anymore. They used to do so a lot, but not anymore. And if any one still attempts, I give them a mean look and a "Don't even think about it!" So now I make them respect my personal spiritual boundaries.)


    I go with the traditional Buddhist ones, quoted earlier.
     
  12. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    Wynn;

    Oh, OK. I don't watch much film.

    Then you judge them too harshly. It seems to be 'de rigueur' these days, and particularly in web sites such as this one to have such an attitude. It's almost the politically correct flavour of the day. I Know some extraordinarily good people who are Christians (and Jews too) and who would respect your personal boundaries, or in the least, not care less about them.

    Street preachers are mainly nut cases, IMO. You can't seriously say you judge Christians by such as these ? They have their parallels in other religions too, which only serves to sully their respective religions.

    I read an article recently, about some young boys who were bought up in a Buddhist monastery. They claimed to have been horribly beaten and abused there for many years. Don't worry - I won't judge you by this. Also, there was an article in our press here (Australia) a couple of years ago, about two Buddhist monks attempting (unsuccessully) to rape a pretty young lady tourist who had gone into a weekend stay at their monastery. I do not, from this, surmise you rape women.

    You sound as strident about this as those 'nasty' Christians ..

    I don't think I would ever try to intimidate or force anyone to respect my beliefs - in fact, I enjoy having my beliefs challenged in all areas, including spirituality. And if someone is overbearing, the world is usually big enough to give him a wide berth.

    I re-read those posts, but they're not quite clear - my fault, I'm sure. If you like, you can give a summary of the main ones for the purpose of discussion.
     
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    My experience is different.

    Sure, many members of various religious deonimnations claim they respect outsiders and their personal boundaries, and that they are just engaging in "rational exchange" etc. But there is often that ever so subtle, yet so powerful attempt to thwart the non-meber.


    I'm sure there are some people who are like that, although I haven't met many.


    I too can tell you stories about Buddhists that will make you cringe.


    Why? If someone approaches me to preach to me, I shoo them off.


    Sometimes one just has to intimidate or force people to leave one be, because this is all that some people understand.
     
  14. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    Sure, because everybody thinks their religion is 'the one'. Including Buddhists perhaps ? Is there not subtle attempts here in this very thread, to thwart the other ?

    Well, yes - at least you're right in your certitude that there are.

    I too can tell you stories about Christians that would make you cringe, including one story of a Christian priest who tried to molest one of my children. I can also tell you a story about another Christian involved in works of charity, etc, particularly with youth on skid row, who I would nominate for sainthood, were I of that inclination - so humble, benevolant and utterly selfless and helpful was he REGARDLESS of their beliefs or lack thereof. It's a big world out there.

    OK.

    I'm sure if one is trying to force their belief on you and being overbearing, that would be appropriate.

    In your last couple of posts, the juxtaposition of your view of the close mindedness of other religions, togeher with your own close mindedness in relation to them, is interesting.

    What religion are you BTW ? Buddhist ?
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Refusing to bare one's soul to just anyone at the drop of the hat is not closed-mindedness.


    None.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  16. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    This is a very accurate statement.
     
  17. Lakon Valued Senior Member

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    OK - I don't think I was asking you to do that. Religious zealots, BTW, are often more insecure and unstable than most people. I've come across some in my time, and boy .. their mental instability comes through loud and clear. Don't get too caught up in it. It's life unfolding for them, the way that it needs to for them to learn from THEIR mistakes.

    OK.
     
  18. kmguru Staff Member

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    Nice to hear that....
     
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Really? Enlightenment is whatever one wants it to be?
     
  20. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    You know better than that, even from outside looking in.

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  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Wow.
    Yes, I'm totally convinced now that you're enlightened!
     
  22. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    It's not happiness, it's something else, a shift in how we use our consciousness, an ability to step back from identification with self, in order to allow the self to express itself with more freedom.
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Removing impediments to enlightenment IS the Buddhist path to enlightenment, right? So in a sense, there is something that people can do. Doing them is the whole point of Buddhist practice, of becoming a monk and so on. (At least that's the case in Theravada, which I'm most familiar with. It might be different in Zen.)

    But yeah, nirvana is classified as a/the unconditioned dharma in all the abhidharmas that are still extant. (Theravada and Sarvastivadin.) It isn't something that's brought into being by causal/karmic conditions. So nirvana isn't an object of consciousness that's created or generated by Buddhist practice. Buddhist practice isn't aimed at generating enlightenment, it's aimed at removing what obscures enlightenment.

    I think that pretty much all versions of Buddhism would agree on that.

    The Pali suttas certainly seem to emphasize direct experience. People can hear Buddhist enlightenment preached, they can read about it in authoritative scriptures, they can think about it philosophically and logically... but they still aren't going to really know it until they know it firsthand.

    The Pali suttas at least tend to speak of nirvana in negative terms, in terms of the elimination of suffering. That suggests that it might be said to be realized when all forms of suffering, and the conditions that bring about suffering, are removed. So it might not be a conventional object of experience in its own right at all. It might not be something that one looks at and recognizes. When all forms of suffering are finally gone, that's it.

    As I understand it, in Christian salvation is all about getting right with God. It's about restoring a broken interpersonal relationship. There may or may not be an experiential aspect to that, but experience isn't really its central focus, like in Buddhist enlightenment.

    But yeah, I think that your comment probably holds true for all forms of religious experience. One doesn't really know it until one knows it.

    That seems to leave religious experience fundamentally subjective. It might be totally convincing to the one experiencing the experience. But that person's experience isn't persuasive to other people who aren't sharing the experience. That's going to be as true for Buddhist religious experiences as for any other.
     

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