Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by wynn, Jul 23, 2010.
so do you think breaking them is a consequence of their not being suitable ideals to live by?
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It is my experience that they are not enough.
Keeping them has made me even more vulnerable, even more sensitive than I already am, taking in even more information than I otherwise do.
Without a suitable philosophy to address the increased sensitivity and information overload, what is one supposed to do?
And to make matters worse, it is precisely the society of those people who are the proponents of these regulative principles that is so impossible for me to fit in or get along with.
It is as if we are from different universes.
My understanding of the doctrine is nothing like theirs.
And I cannot but doubt that I understood anything at all, or in the right mood.
If being like them is what applying those scriptural instructions is supposed to lead to, then I am not sure I want to take part in their society.
I am finding it difficult to believe though that I could be so completely wrong.
If I am wrong, then there is no point for me to try to continue on this path.
This aside (namely the greater social framework of persons that do and don't abide by such principles), do you think the four regs stand at a higher (or at least, more ideal) level of performance?
They don't use the word, but I would guess most people get epistemological concerns on a regular basis. How can I know I trust him? How do I decide which expert is correct about the food I should give my child, they contradict each other? Though relationships, I think, raise epistemological issues most universally and regularly, so I would emphasize my first example. Another might be....he gave a perfectly rational explanation for his remark, still, I have the feeling he was being condescending, how do I decide? And while that was fairly 'fine' language, the basic issue, I would guess, runs right through all societal groups.
I think so.
But I don't exclude the possibility that I might be wrong on this - so many people fervently tell me that I am wrong. Although already the thought that meat-eating is somehow supposed to be superior to vegetarianism repulses me. Similar for the other principles.
What would you like to point out?
Of course. Philosophy doesn't deal with lofty issues that bear no relevance to everyday life. It just uses a language that seems fancier than everyday language.
do you think that being "told so" is a sufficient basis for clarifying the high end of behaviour?
Do you think the answer to the problem lies in investigation of vox populi?
the limits of acting to one's highest potential for as long as one draws the line at "what others think" or "how does this make me fit in with everyone else".
This is all fine and well - but it breaks down when it comes to devotees, and possibly other theists. Given how quickly these people tend to take offense, and that one is not supposed to offend them if one is to make any spiritual progress, I see no way to actually act in line with what I think would be the best course of action. Intelligent discernment and respect for theists are mutually exclusive, at least in my experience.
So I now have the choice: Either give in to the pressure from theists and act in ways that I find substandard; or be left isolated and make no progress at all.
Do you think these are the only two choices you are left with, having completed an exhaustive investigation of the issue?
There are some more options I can think of, but none seems feasible or within my reach:
- Waiting/praying for a direct divine intervention.
- Taking the Buddhist path and becoming enlightened (thus entering theism through the backdoor).
What other option can you think of?
if some or all of the people involved in these other alternatives offend you or display disparaging behaviour, what then?
Offending me or displaying disparaging behavior was never the problem. The problem was my not being able to make sense of what is going on.
I think that if I could say "This is right, that is wrong", there would be no problem, even if others did wrong.
But as it is, it is not clear what is right and what is wrong.
Perhaps, for example, it is right that devotees do not keep promises they have given to outsiders; perhaps as devotees, they simply have this privilege and outsiders (like myself) should see to it that they accept this.
Finding out what is right and what is wrong, or what a particular religious tradition holds to be right and wrong, however, is not easy to find out. In fact, it appears that without joining that tradition, one cannot find out. But how can one responsibly join a tradition without knowing what it actually is about?
so what if a buddhist doesn't keep their promise?
Does that cause a problem?
Or even is that act in a particular instance by a particular individual sufficient to speak for "buddhists"?
Buddhism, despite its strong notion of hierarchy between practitioners and the expectation to view everyone as enlightened, is very little like a theistic tradition as yours, as far as the weight of interactions between people goes.
Among devotes, situations and relationships exist that do not among Buddhist practitioners. Situations and relationships that make or break one.
Take, for example, prasadam. One is supposed to accept food from devotees.
In practical terms, this means that I have to accept food, and think it is prasadam, from someone who has promised me something, hasn't kept her promise and even chastised me when I reminded her. She is in charge of preparing, offering and distributing the food. If I don't take it from her, I don't get it.
I am quite sure this scenario of having to subject myself to the devotees even when I have severe reservations about it, will repeat in some form no matter which group of devotees I might go to.
As I am merely a guest/outsider, I do not have much choice but to either silently accept whatever treatment I get, or leave. And I resent this, given the treatment I get.
so the problem or challenge of buddhism (or any other life choice or way of being or whatever) is purely technical?
there are absolutely no political/social elements that come to play?
Or whatever political/social elements that come to play are unanimous in all and any social contexts one encounters?
(BTW the only personality who has a monopoly on prasadam is Krsna ... and of course one approaches him through a disciplic succession ... but I don't think its the common experience of anyone that all and any devotees that one encounters assume a position that make the model look like a flag pole) .... in fact I think to assume such an outlook is to hold devotees (or anyone for that matter) to an impossible criteria.
Of course not.
Is it? Given the kind of unconditional credence that devotees generally seem to expect (I conclude they have this expectation given their criticism and even disdain that follows if one doesn't do as that one particular devotee says one should), I would say they appear to desire to be seen as nothing less than rolemodels to look up to.
Separate names with a comma.