Sunday, July 01, 2007

More proof the Buddha was no Buddha

It’s likely that Siddhartha Gautama’s most famous phrase is:

“Life is suffering.”

If you’re a good Buddhist, life CAN’T be suffering, because you’re supposed to be in a state of satori. Rather, if the Buddha himself had actually obtained Buddhahood, he would have said, “Life appears to be suffering.”

Update, July 11: For some reason, Blogger's comment window isn't working for me today at work, either under my identity, or as an anonymous commenter. So, I'm posting here:

I don't think it's "sterile" nor do I think it's a matter of "dueling sound bites," the difference between "life is suffering" and "life appears to be suffering."

This hinges in part on other issues of Buddhism; I've already mentioned maya, which I know Theravada accepts, and I don't believe Mahayana rejects, at least. If life is an illusion, then the idea of suffering is ultimately an illusion.

It also hinges on the Buddhist rejection of atman, in another way. Arguably, can a good Buddhist even talk about "life" in this way if there is no reincarnation of an individual soul? I say not. In other words, what I see as implied invitation in the statement "life is suffering," for the listeners to agree that, "boy, yes, my life sure is suffering," or similar, can't logically follow if Siddhartha is enlightened enough to believe there is no "I" to be suffering.

Of course, I have other disagreements with the idea of karma, which I've blogged elsewhere on this blog. Frankly, I find it, more so in its Buddhist than its Hindu form (since Hinduism allows for an individual "soul"/life force which theoretically, at least, could remember the misdeeds of a past life which brought on an [apparentely] poor incarnation in this life), as appalling as fundamentalist monotheist ideas of hell.

Now, the people who have been posting here may see this as "village idiot anti-Buddhism" akin to "village idiot atheism." I don't. The original post and my comments to other commenters aren't snarky potshots but real issues. I made similar comments about Sam Harris' "End of Faith" on my Amazon review.

I find Buddhism to be a an interesting and enlightening psychological philosophy, but where it ventures into metaphysical issues as a religion, find it no more enlightening than any "Western monotheism."

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely not an expert on the Buddha, but I have to say that seems like a very weak argument to me. He knew about the whole appearance vs. reality thing. But saying what he said was a whole lot snappier and less confusing for the unenlightened.

It's also a little weird to say that a good buddhist is an enlightened one because very few reach that stage. It's the goal, not the starting point. And it's not easy to reach.

Gadfly said...

I agree in part. That's why my second-most favorite religious self-quote is:

"The only good Buddha is a dead Buddha."

monkeymind said...

Hi:

I clicked here from the Friendly Atheist site.

Could you be confusing the Buddhist concept of suffering or existential dissatisfaction with the Christian Science idea that pain, illness and death are illusions?

I don't think that Siddhartha Gotama claimed that his path would lead to invulnerability to the slings and arrows of existence, but rather that it was about learning not to "loose the second arrow" by our mental reaction to said slings and arrows.

I have always like Thich Nhat Hahn's translation of Buddha's 5 Remembrances:

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Gadfly said...

No, I'm not confusing the two ideas of suffering, and I just realized there's a related paradox. (I also don't think you can totally detrain existential suffering from physical pain, or the idea of it, at least, but that's another issue.)

First, I understand the idea of satori or enlightenment to be that you recognize existential suffering, as Monkey Mind calls it, is just as much "maya" as is physical pain.

So, my riff on the Buddha's comment stands.

Second, in Mahayana, buddhas remain on this plain even after achieving enlightenment; if they propagate Siddhartha's words, arguably, they are adding to the problem.

anxiousmofo said...

In Mahayana Buddhism, the First Noble Truth is that life appears to be suffering. Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika claims that nirvana and samsara are two ways of viewing the same thing. Life appears to be suffering; Buddhist practice allows one to change one's perception and enter into nirvana in this life.

I'm on shakier ground with Theravada and pre-Mahayana Buddhism, but I think that your wording of the First Noble Truth is the correct wording in that context as well: Buddhist practice allows one to see the genesis and the cessation of suffering, leading to a perception of this life as without suffering.

Gadfly said...

Whether or not Siddhartha said the phrase as it's now attributed to him (setting aside the question of whether such an individual person actually existed), it makes you wonder, then, "anxious," how the saying in its current form came to be attributed to him.

"Life is suffering" comes off as almost a commonplace; "life appears to be suffering" sounds like an invitation to a Socratic-type dialogue.

monkeymind said...

My (limited) understanding is that the phrase means something like "the default state of life is suffering or dissatisfaction." By training awareness you can free yourself of the cycle of clinging and aversion from which suffering originates.

Gadfly Sez:

"life appears to be suffering" sounds like an invitation to a Socratic-type dialogue.

I'm sure there are many Buddhists out there much better equipped than I to do dharma battle with you, if that's what you want.

Gadfly said...

Monkeymind, if you're correct, I'm ready to do battle, and I stand behind my post as written. If Anxious mofo is correct, the Mahayana version/understanding is an invitation to dialogue... but, I'm still waiting to here how "Life appears to be suffering" became "life is suffering." The two aren't the same.

anxiousmofo said...

I think that "life is suffering" is a description of a Buddhist teaching from the outside, as opposed to the way most Buddhists would describe Buddhism. I'm going to guess that "life appears to be suffering" became "life is suffering" because the latter lacks subtlety and complexity, and is very easy to remember. If we look at the words attributed to the Buddha in the Pali Canon, the phrase "life is suffering" doesn't appear.

In what is purported to be the Buddha's first speech after his enlightenment, the First Noble Truth is described thusly:

"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress: Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful."

That isn't the same as "life is suffering"; it would be more accurate to summarize it as "life contains suffering". The word translated as "stress" is "dukkha", which is also translated as suffering or unsatisfactoriness. The five clinging-aggregates are the elements which make up a person, the body and four elements relating to the mind. The description of the elements of the person as suffering is the closest thing in this passage to a claim that life itself is suffering; however, immediately following that description the second and third noble truths are described:

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming... And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving."

The cessation of suffering is nirvana. Because nirvana can be experienced in this life, then "life is suffering" is incorrect, because life includes at least the possibility of the cessation of suffering.

monkeymind said...

Hi Gadfly: I think the Buddhist concept of dharma battle is akin to the western concept of Socratic dialogue - 2 minds testing their understanding against each other.

However,I'm too tired just now, and not sure if I really understand the distinction you are making.

Gadfly said...

Anxious, from the speech you quoted, I stand by my post more firmly.

I believe that "life is suffering" is a more accurate shorthand for that than "life appears to be suffering," or similar.

If Siddhartha had said, "Birth (etc.) appear to be stressful," or, taking a more Western but Gnostic verbiage, saying, "To the uninitiated or ignorant, birth (etc.) is stressful," I would say I stand corrected.

But, from the speech as quoted, to do a quasi-Zen riff, it sounds like Siddhartha did not have Buddha-nature.

monkeymind said...

"First, I understand the idea of satori or enlightenment to be that you recognize existential suffering, as Monkey Mind calls it, is just as much "maya" as is physical pain."

"But, from the speech as quoted, to do a quasi-Zen riff, it sounds like Siddhartha did not have Buddha-nature."

Based on these quotes, I stand by my original observation that your are mixed up about what enlightenment meant, at least in the original Theravedan tradition.
In the descriptions of Buddha's life he grows old and gets sick and experiences all the pain that goes along with that. But, supposedly, he was able to remain grounded in present-time awareness and in the reality of interbeing, oneness of existence or whatever you want to call it. He didn't say "I am suffering" but "pain is happening in this corner of the universe."

So enlightenment for the Buddha(whoever he was) and his early followers did not promise freedom from pain or even rejection of pleasure as in the Hindu ascetic tradition, but rather it was about learning not to cling to pleasurable moments or reject unpleasurable ones, "letting each moment die its own natural death."

The last quote from Noah Levine's "Against the Stream."

anxiousmofo said...

Gadfly, you say 'I believe that "life is suffering" is a more accurate shorthand for that than "life appears to be suffering," or similar.'

"Many aspects of life lead to suffering" or "Life entails suffering" would be a better shorthand, if you look just at the description of the first noble truth.

But the portions of the passage which describe the second and third noble truths aren't consistent with an equivalence between life and suffering: suffering is caused by desire (or craving or attachment); the cessation of desire leads to the cessation of suffering.

This argument is sterile, as what we are discussing is which sound bite is a better oversimplification of Buddhism. Your conclusion that "The Buddha was no Buddha" depends on a reduction of Buddhism to your (incorrect) sound bite.

anxiousmofo said...

Sorry it's taken me a while to respond: I was checking the comments, and I didn't notice that you had replied earlier by updating the comment. You say here:

'In other words, what I see as implied invitation in the statement "life is suffering," for the listeners to agree that, "boy, yes, my life sure is suffering," or similar, can't logically follow if Siddhartha is enlightened enough to believe there is no "I" to be suffering.'

In Mahayana Buddhism (and maybe Theravada), the notion of an 'I' is the root of suffering: the notion of a self is the root of desire, and desire (as you know) leads to suffering. The Diamond Sutra repeatedly tells us that a bodhisattva has renounced the notion of an individual self. So if Gautama were fully enlightened, he would have renounced this 'I', but his listeners (who, presumably, weren't fully enlightened Buddhas) wouldn't have. That's how it logically follows.

Addle Allone said...

All of the Buddha's teachings are beyond lanquage. To argue semantics or verbalization misses the point. Drink coffee.

Addle Allone said...

"if the Buddha himself had actually obtained Buddhahood"

"My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless"

"I am. I am not, and therefore I am."

Match quote with philosopher.

Gadfly said...

I said the first, which I fully stand behind. It's a contrary to fact conditional sentence. I use "Buddha" as the common title for Siddhartha Gotama; I know more believe he got that title from reaching a metaphysical state called "Buddhahood" than I do the claim about most branches of Christianity that Jeshua bar-Yussuf obtained a metaphysical state (defined under influence of pagan religions) called Christhood as a divinity.

The second statement is, yes, from Wittgenstein -- the YOUNG Wittgenstein of the Tractatus.

The older Wittgenstein founded ordinary language philosophy and reputed, or at least distanced himself from, many of his Tractatus-era views.

Jacques Lacan said something similar to the third statement.

Addle Allone said...

Excellent! The third was Wei Wu Wei discussing the Diamond Sutra.

"Buddhahood" is not metaphysical. It is very ordinary. More ordinary even than you think. You are right to think it is absurd that the Buddha was a Buddha the way you think he was. He was not. You cannot think of what a buddha is.

I misunderstood when you told me to read Wittgenstein? Which one should I read? I was not aware that there was more than one. I like that quote.

As for enlightenment, be weary of anyone who is "sure" that they are.

As to my posting, I am completing the circle of critism, and as such enabling you to be a critic.

Thank me!

Gadfly said...

I HUGELY disagree with the claim that Buddhahood is not metaphysical, let alone the idea the Buddhism is not a religion because it isn't metaphysical.

Reincarnation, whether of a personal soul or an impersonal lifeforce, is metaphysical.

Nirvana, involving a metaphysical entity achieving it, is metaphysical.

Karma, being a nonphysical law that controls reincarnation, is metaphysical.

Ergo, Buddhahood is also metaphysical.

I apologize for not saying which Wittgenstein to look at. As he explictly rejects many of his former observations in his later writings on language and linguistic philosophy, and his writings there have big tie-ins with modern neuroscience, cognitive science, etc., and because I'm an editor and work with language, I prefer the later Wittgenstein.

I don't claim to be sure about a lot of things, but, my stance on that has nothing metaphysical about it. Rather, it has a bit of ancient Greek philosophical skepticism and a much larger dollop of existentialism.

Uncertainty about the world, and even pessimism about it, in no way leads me to postulate an escape to an immmaterial entity, whether western Heaven or eastern Nirvana/Nibbana. Rather, it's an invitation to dialogue within myself how, and in what ways, I will engage in the myth of Sisyphus, as Camus put it, or, "rage, rage against the dying of the light," as Dylan Thomas said.

Otherwise, empirically, I see nothing in the world to justify Buddhist beliefs any more than Christian ones.

Addle Allone said...

Well we agree on quite a bit!

I agree that reincarnation does not exist. Gadfly and Addle are not going to be reborn. Having a soul is a Christian idea, and is quite different from what zen calls "original nature" (and that original nature has nothing to do with eden, or some thing other than the ability to not color present moment with years of conditioning.)

Nirvana is not a place you go, but the ability to enjoy this life right now! If you are at peace, you are in Nirvana. If you are unhappy, you are in samsara. Zen has no concern with life after death. (And other than misquotes, Buddha was not either. Zen masters often tell students that if they are worried about what happens after death, they should see a Preacher!)

Karma is self induced, not metaphysical. People make themselves miseerable when they feel they have problems, and dwell on past deeds. There behavior is often shaped by the past. Karma is not a comic force that sends justice to evildoers, or rewards good people! people with no conscience would be free of karma.

So you see, we actually agree.

All of the things you described are probably correct descriptions of Tibetan Buddhism. I only practice Zen buddhism, which is free of Metaphysics.

In essence, the Tibetan Buddha is metaphysical, and the Zen Buddha was not. There are two Buddhas, just like there are two Wittgensteins!

Gadfly said...

I still disagree with some things.

The Buddha WAS worried about karma and nirvana; if he hadn't been, he would have never started his movement to reform Hinduism.

Ergo, he was a metaphysician.

On reincarnation, I mentioned either a personal soul or an impersonal life force being reincarnated, as I know most schools of Buddhism don't believe in a personal soul, but do believe in a life force.

You didn't deny believe in "something," call it a "life force" or whatever, being reincarnated, or attaining nirvana to avoid reincarnation. You only denied reincarnation for a personal "you."

I disagree on your understanding of karma, or at least challenge you to consider its implications. If Adolf Hitler felt good killing 6 million Jews, do you believe he could feel so good to "enter" nirvana?

As for nirvana not being a "place you go," that's part of what makes it metaphysical by definition. Many Christians who aren't literalists about everything in the bible believe similarly about Heaven.

And, I find the idea of a non-person life force being reincarnated according to a metaphysical law of karma as offensive as Christian fundamentalists' hell.

Besides, Zen isn't fully Buddhism anyway. Really, it's Taoism with a Buddhist overlay, and if any religion is metaphysical, it's Taoism.

Addle Allone said...

Ah, the Gadfly will never concede. You earn the title.

Is becoming worm food reincarnation? If it is, I believe in reincarnation. We all come back as worm food. (Then a worm gets eaten by a bird, etc.)

Energy is neither created or destroyed. That is the only reincarnation, and all scientists agree.

If killing jews made Hitler happy, then he was in Nirvana. I kid, of course.

I doubt he was a happy person.
The real Nirvana, is a state beyond the happiness FROM FORM. If it takes form to make you happy, this is not Nirvana. If your happiness is not dependent on outside conditions, that is the real Nirvana.

As for Hitler's karma, he shot himself, right? A perfect example of karma. Thank you.

I would say that the Buddha was not "worried" about anything, thus he was a Buddha.

I am not aware of the reform angle of his teaching.

This is the most important question, from my standpoint:

Is it possible that you have misunderstood Zen Buddhism?

Gadfly said...

I'll admit Zen is less metaphysical than other forms of Buddhism. I still don't believe it's nonmetaphysical. I know I'm going to be worm dirt and don't engage in any spiritual practices.

In other words, I don't need to practice Zen. If I need psychology, I'll tap into purely secular psychology.

If I meditate, and I do, I can meditate on purely secular thoughts. Or, as I have, I can obtain exactly the same brain state and other physiological changes through self-hypnosis.

So, there's nothing special about Zen meditation, either.

The Buddha was born in Hindu India (assuming there was an actual person named Siddhartha Gotama). According to the Buddhist tradition of his upbringing, it's clear that seeing old age, death, etc., brought up Hindu-based metaphysical worries about his karmic state.

Buddha wandered the earth, eventually sat under the bodhi tree, etc.

BUT, if he had been a nonmetaphysical atheist, he never would have done any of that. He simply would have said "people get old, people get sick, people die." He wouldn't have worried and wrestled with this world being "maya," which established "maya" as a metaphysical concept and implies there is another world beyond this one.

And karma, because it's not physical, but actually exists to "force" reincarnation, must by definition be metaphysical.

And, because it seems clear that, even if it's anti-philosophical (or claims to be so) and anti-theoretica, Zen still has a metaphysical base, because it's still based on those same metaphysical concerns.

As for Zen ultimately being partially Taoism with Buddhist trappings on top, no, I've not understood. Any history of China, or more specifically, a history of Buddhism, will spell that out. It was the only way Taoism could survive.

As I said at the top of the post, yes, Zen is less metaphysical, and certainly less visibly metaphysical, than other branches of Buddhism.

Is it metaphysics free? No, not a chance.

Maybe Zen practitioners don't examine the roots of Zen closely all the times.

Let's take something else... satori.

The pre-satori "sleepiness" that is implied is a metaphysical sleepiness, not just a psychological one, certainly not as modern psychologic is understood.

I suggest the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_Buddhism

(Oh, and chanting and liturgy? Which I haven't even mentioned before, except as a general allusion to "philosophy of religion"? Very religious.

I know that the anti-religious cachet of "spiritual but not religious" can be important to many people, but if it's not true, it's not true.

I quote from the Wiki article, emphasis added by me:

"Chan continued to be influential as a religious force in China, and thrived in the post-Song period; with a vast body of texts being produced up and through the modern period."

Oh, and it takes two to stop giving up. You still have the option of "detaching" whenever you want.

Gadfly said...

Oh, and lets not forget this bit of UNenlightenment from Zen masters in recent times.

This is from the Wiki article on Zen, but was also mentioned by Hitchens in his book:

"The Japanese Zen establishment—including the Sōtō sect, the major branches of Rinzai, and several renowned teachers— has been criticized for its involvement in Japanese militarism and nationalism during World War II and the preceding period."

In other words, Zen has its immoral dirty laundry just like other religions.

Addle Allone said...

WIKIPEDIA? No self respecting editor would use Wikipedia as a source in a newspaper, so I'll leave that alone. (you guys still confirm sources, right?)

If a religion is a shared set of beliefs (according to the dictionary) Then even ATHEISM is a religion. Atheism is the shared belief that there is no God.

Having you explain satori (or any Zen concept) is like having a lifelong vegan tell a carnivore about a porterhouse steak. You have no experience with it.

Yet when the carnivore tells the vegan what a steak is, (even thought the only real way is to TASTE IT), the vegan says "You have it all wrong. I have read about it in books. Books written by other vegans." Would you find that crazy?

And You still confuse the followers with the message. It is no reflection on the message when its practitioners do the wrong thing. Buddhists have kiled more people than any other religion.

Which has no bearing on the truth of enlightenment.

Even if NOT ONE person gets the real meaning of a message it does not change what that message means.

I think the reason you are so critical of Christians, and Buddhists, is that you share a major trait with most of them.

Your mind is CLOSED to any theology but yours, (which is atheism, the BELIEF that there is no god) and you dont let your misunderstanding of what others believe stop you from considering yourself the final authority on what it is that they ACTUALLY believe. Even when they tell you.

I am used to this because conservative Christians tell me about Buddha all the time. That and the fact that I am going to hell. (I laugh because hell is just for Christians. You should like that.)


You are a religious fanatic, and you just don't know it.

No, you don't need Zen, but neither should the vegan be considered an expert on steak.

Gadfly said...

Wikipedia isn’t perfect, but it’s not a fount of ignorance like you claim. And the history of Zen Buddhism is readily available in scads of online and hard copy sources, all of which square with the basic outline of Wiki’s post.

Don’t blame either me or Wiki for your ignorance about the roots of Zen Buddhism. Blame yourself.

In fact, for your edification, here’s the link to About.com’s webpages about Zen Buddhism. (And yes, the page title says Zen Buddhism.)

I don’t have any experience with being a unicorn, either, but I can explain the idea of “unicornness” perfectly well, even though it, like satori, doesn’t exist.

Besides, I told you I HAD experiences all the physiological states associated with deep mediation, arguably even with satori, without any metaphysical background to my experiences. You must have read right past that one.

Stubbornness on your part is part of your failure to detach.

And, atheism isn’t about belief. Rather, it’s an outsider’s attempt to define what I don’t believe. That’s part of why I don’t normally use the term about myself.

I prefer “naturalist.” I see the world around me and know it exists. I don’t have anything to believe, because I don’t worry about nonexistent metaphysical states like you do. Nor do I throw up my hands and shout “ineffable” when pinned in either a logical or empirical corner.

Beyond that, that old canard that “atheism is really a religion, too” gets repeated by religious people all the time. You really just identified yourself as one by saying that.

And, your vegan/carnivore argument has a false dilemma the size of a Mack truck. A vegan who used to be a meat eater perfectly well knows the taste of steak.

And, I consider my deep hypnotic states of the past to be physiologically equivalent to satori, or similar. So, I think I have tasted.

As for saying religions can’t be judged by their adherents, that’s not really true. In fact, it’s a version of a logical fallacy called the bull’s eye fallacy. Try reading the Skeptic’s Dictionary, online at www.skepdic.com.

This is directly parallel, as I noted before, to conservatives claiming George W. Bush (or fill in the blank with someone else) isn’t a “real” conservative.

“So and so isn’t really enlightened.”

I also find it interesting the way you try to avoid referring to Zen Buddhism; it’s sounding more and more like a dodge, an attempted avoidance of admitting Zen Buddhism’s roots.

But, not on this blog we don’t.

Finally, to hoist you by your own petard – if Zen Buddhism really is so ineffable, I might be more enlightened than you.

Addle Allone said...

The only real philosophy is no philosophy. -Krishnamurti. (no metaphysics involved)

Your attachment to any philosophy is an attempt at finding an answer to "who am I?"

if you were truly content with your beliefs, you would have long stopped looking for an answer.

All of which is a substitute for God. Like splenda for sugar.

Your fanaticism may not be a religion, but it's the same thing: intolerence.

Am I a Zen Buddhist? The words are meaningless. I do not believe in spiritual authority. Buddha? Jesus? Gadfly? throw them away. But if you HATE them, they are still in your house. Love/Hate. What is the difference?

If you had ever experienced sartori, by the way, you would never call ineffability bullshit.

If you were enlightened, you would never use the word "more" before it.

Who ever is enlightened? Answer that and I will submit to your buddhahood.(if you open your mouth you lose, I'll give you that hint)

And you ARE already enlightened, you are just too smart to know it. But don't say ignorance is the key!

As for me and my detachment, petard, avoidance, etc.

Personal attacks are the last refuge of a scoundrel.(or whatever that was. I dont have to tell you, Really great stuff.)

Anyway, that wont work, but I remember third grade! The swing was awesome. The slide was big.

I read some of your Amazon reviews. The amount of stars given are in proportion to how closely the authors match YOUR preconceived notions. Why is that? When was the last time you read something without judging it as you read? Maybe you do need Zen. That is what Zen fixes. (but you can call it anything you want, secular psychology, cat, fire hydrant.)

But I am a detective! I find motive for criticism!

because it appears to open dialogue on your blog. It seems to be the ONLY time. (motive? I rest my case your honor)

But never think I am posting for you. I already have your number (456)

I post for THEM.

Gadfly said...

I'll agree that language, due to being imperfect and human, can sometimes not fully describe something. Nonetheless, I always make the best linguistic effort possible, rather than just throwing my hands in the air and crying "ineffability."

Again, I think it's a dodge.

Who said I was looking for an answer? Boy, you derive all sorts of false deductions from things I say.

If you feel my pointing out your lack of logical deduction skills is a personal attack, to quote an old saying, that's your problem, not mine.

Interesting you mention "God" by title, too. I didn't bring him up.

Intolerance? I'm not trying to convert you to materialism, just explaining how Zen Buddhism is metaphysical. If setting out the tenets of materialism (it's not a philosophy) sounds like intolerance to you, again, that's your problem.

If you're practicing Zen discipline for anything beyond, let's say, psychological self-help, you're worried about some sort of ultimate authority, be it a personal being or not.

Love/hate what's the difference? Bullshit. We're human beings with human emotions.

I don't retreat from being human. I'm not afraid of being human. I don't try to escape from being human.

IMO, that's another way to define religion: an attempt to escape from being human.

And, I'm going to hoist you by your own petard again: If enlightenment is ineffable, how do you know whether it involves the word "more" or not? You don't.

So, maybe YOU'RE not enlightened.

A detective? No comment.

Oh, my millions of readers love you posting for them.

And, isn't that another lack of detachment... being hung up on numbers? Again, you brought it up, I didn't.

Gadfly said...

If, per Zen, there is no such thing as right or wrong, at least for the enlightened, why does Addle continue to post here in an effort to convince me I'm wrong?

That's what it is, though I'm sure Addle will deny that, too, in the next post.

Addle Allone said...

What you said was proof Buddha was no Buddha.

Gadfly is no Gadfly.

Addle is no Addle.

Who said enlightened? Not I.

Can't reason with crazy, much less convince.

Millions?

still in third grade.

still post for millions.

Addle Allone said...

Oh Yeah, this whole time i have been saying Zen is for psychologocal self help, but Gadfly does not listen!

Gadfly!

Stephen!

Gadfly said...

MU to you, not just to your next-to-last post. I "unask" you. OK, Addle is no Addle, even if Addle is addled.

I call you a sea slug.

The sarcasm of my verbal blows makes me a good Zen master.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gadfly. It seems you have not quite understood the 'three turnings of the wheel'. Also, you seem to incorrectly assume that life is real but suffering is appearance. Buddhist metaphysics is much easier than the 'western' kind, so you'll probably not have a problem with it if you can find a good book.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gadfly. It seems you have not quite understood the 'three turnings of the wheel'. Also, you seem to incorrectly assume that life is real but suffering is appearance. Buddhist metaphysics is much easier than the 'western' kind, so you'll probably not have a problem with it if you can find a good book.

Gadfly said...

@Anonymous the latest: If life is unreal then there is no suffering!

I will admit to not understanding Buddhism perfectly. However, it is easy, from what I see, to refute Buddhism by Buddhism.

I give Siddhartha credit for wrestling with the issue of pain in life, but his answers, and even more, the lack of logic in the system, are just wrong.