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Thread: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

  1. #11
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pythagoras View Post
    Zen koans are a good example, hard to distinguish what is literal, descriptive, or just poetic expression.
    That's a good example, because that, of course is their function. They should all (even when based of possibly historical events) be understood as a peculiar class of metaphor, intended to point to a thing which can not be expressed in words, but can be known.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pythagoras View Post
    Zen koans are a good example, hard to distinguish what is literal, descriptive, or just poetic expression.
    That's a good example, because that, of course is their function. They should all (even when based of possibly historical events) be understood as a peculiar class of metaphor, intended to point to a thing which can not be expressed in words, but can be known.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  2. #12
    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Buddhism isn't contradictory, if you do more than a surface level of research. It's just not western.
    世の中に潜み落下した「アレ」はねえか? 誰が書き換える 世界の汚れは?
    Do you have 'that' which lies dormant within society? Who can overwrite it, the filth in the world?


  3. #13
    Newbie LuxNur's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Quote Originally Posted by pragon View Post
    Is it atheist or polytheistic? Does it teach about the after life? I hear a lot claim to be Buddhists who believe in reincarnation. So many different branches of Buddhism. I used to have a big interest in it. Unfortunately, all these contradictions make my interest go downhill. Where does Buddha claim to believe in gods or any god? He himself never claimed to be one. It is nothing like Hinduism.
    Well the Tittha Sutta (Pali Canon) does come to mind. I think of Buddhism as an axiomatic religion, it deals not with overall cosmology or even metaphysics but the intersection of concepts (observable and occasionally speculative) that intersect on what would be a universal scale. At least in Theravada the concept of "God" (which itself in the Monotheistic sense is just, as correctly understood, a veiled personification of Ultimate Reality/The Absolute) is embodied in Nibbana. Not as an attainment of bliss or ecstasy (of which we find with concepts in other religions like Moksha or Jannah) but instead a form of cessation to the pure essence of things of which serves as the true ground of all phenomena. This thing itself which is inevitably omnipresent because all arises to it and all things inevitable achieve the return to it in due time (in theory). I do find it hard to disagree with really, especially when considering the nature of 'the conditioned' from 'the unconditioned'. Clearly through attachment we have metaphysically restricted ourselves, which has given rise (Pratītyasamutpāda) to matter/space/time etc. I think people get way too bogged down by anthropomorphic concepts when it comes to working out that question but no, Buddhism is neither atheism nor agnosticism but it also rightfully rejects any personal deity.

    When it comes to Mahayana and Vajranaya, we find more developments away from certain approaches found in Theravada, which makes the question more complicated to answer overall, so I'll limit it more to Theravada here.
    Last edited by LuxNur; 11 Dec 2019 at 16:03.

  4. #14

    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    I've heard a metaphor that learning Buddhism is like learning to ride a bike. Left and right may sound contradictory but sometimes you need to go right and sometimes left to stay on your path.
    baah.

  5. #15
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    As I see it, Buddha was a philosopher. He adopted the theory of reincarnation which was a recent introduction to the Hinduism of his day and made a pessimistic assessment of the human condition. Therefore he advocated leading a life which would break our attachment to the world and so prevent reincarnation. Gods simply don't come into it. To me the real inconsistency is simultaneously holding that we are attracted to life (hence reincarnation) yet it's said to be miserable! I find myself unexpectedly agreeing with Marx, that the purpose of philosophy should be to change things — Buddha's solution looks like cowardice.

    Naturally, his philosophy can be combined with many other views. Most Asian Buddhists are theists, many in the West who call themselves Buddhists are atheists. In China, Japan, and Vietnam, the idea of reincarnation has been dropped and the goal become to achieve enlightenment, after which life is no longer one of suffering, or to enter heaven after death. No doubt Buddha wouldn't accept those views (unless he achieved a second enlightenment!) but there's no patent on the term Buddhist.

  6. #16
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Not sure I would use the term "pessimistic assessment" :

    1st Noble Truth = life contains suffering (realist)
    2nd Noble Truth = the cause of suffering is attachment to illusion (diagnostic)
    3rd Noble Truth = the cure for suffering is breaking the attachment to illusion (prescriptive)
    4th Noble Truth = the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the breaking of attachment to illusion (optimistic)

    To identify a problem, learn the cause of the problem, find a solution to the problem, and put the solution into practice is NOT pessimissism. Identifying, understanding, identifying a cure, effecting the cure - this indicates hope that the chains binding human beings to their past errors can be broken.

    This is better described as "optimism."
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  7. #17

    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    I think that this is exactly what McCann eas referring to, and despite being the proud possessor of my own personal zen - I tend to agree.

    Life is viewed as a problem to be solved. This is a necessarily pessimistic view of life. Regardless of whether it's true or false.
    Last edited by Rhythm; 23 Dec 2019 at 08:34.

  8. #18
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhythm View Post
    I think that this is exactly what McCann eas referring to, and despite being the proud possessor of my own personal zen - I tend to agree.

    Life is viewed as a problem to be solved. This is a necessarily pessimistic view of life. Regardless of whether it's true or false.
    "Life is a problem to be solved" is far too broad a statement to be meaningful. In Buddhism, "the inevitable suffering that comes with life" is the specific "problem to be solved."

    If identifying a single problem in a broad system, and then finding a way to solve it is "pessimistic," then anybody who does anything to improve either their own condition, or the condition of others must be a "pessimist." In this case, the word suddenly becomes meaningless.

    However, examining a system, identifying a specific flaw, and determining that such a flaw can be fixed via specific actions, clearly shows optimism.
    Last edited by B. de Corbin; 23 Dec 2019 at 10:07.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  9. #19
    Newbie LuxNur's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    Not sure I would use the term "pessimistic assessment" :

    1st Noble Truth = life contains suffering (realist)
    2nd Noble Truth = the cause of suffering is attachment to illusion (diagnostic)
    3rd Noble Truth = the cure for suffering is breaking the attachment to illusion (prescriptive)
    4th Noble Truth = the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the breaking of attachment to illusion (optimistic)

    To identify a problem, learn the cause of the problem, find a solution to the problem, and put the solution into practice is NOT pessimissism. Identifying, understanding, identifying a cure, effecting the cure - this indicates hope that the chains binding human beings to their past errors can be broken.

    This is better described as "optimism."
    Yep this is correct. It's diagnosing a problem, not glorifying it.

  10. #20
    Silver Member Bartmanhomer's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Buddhism so contradicting?

    Many religions seem to contradict itself as a whole. Well for the fundamentalist ones anyway.

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