Saturday, October 20, 2007

Patriots, gurus, scoundrels and martyrs

If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, alleged misunderstanding is the last refuge of a martyr. That’s doubly true if the martyr is a religious, metaphysical leader or similar type of guru.


Addle Allone said...

The fish says bullshit.

Gadfly said...

Isn't detachment the heart of Buddhist practice? (Yes, I can be sarcastic, too.)

Addle Allone said...

First, I hope this is fun for you, and not mortal combat, as I have no ill will towards you.

Second. done with correct mind, there is no practice, heart detachment, or buddhism.

Gadfly said...

Yeah, yeah, because there's no "I" to detach or practice, and no Buddha either. There's no Buddha because I met him on the road and to make sure he stayed dead, I shot him with a silver bullet, then dipped a stake in garlic and put it through his heart.

But, if there's no "I," "you" can't know that "you" need enlightening in the first place. I know, I know, you're going to say that's another of the wonderful paradoxes of Buddhism, while I say it's another conundrum you can't avoid.

Reminds me of a guy I heard in an AA meeting. He said "When I'm dumber than dirt, then I'll know I get it."

I'd rather hold on to my finely honed intellect, with all the existential problems it causes in the modern world, and be ME; if I need a muse, I'll follow Albert Camus and not Siddhartha Gotama.

Addle Allone said...

If there is no "I", who takes a shower in the morning?

I get your frustration with the whole thing, but my main point is that the seeming paradoxes are made by the very buddhists that make you want to pull your hair out.

The whole can be explained by science, which you should appreciate. It is more akin to mental health than religion. I recently read a "pop" psychology book that did a good job of explaining why our brains don't work in the infallible manner we think they do. They create sometimes, rather than merely report!

You think the dalai lama and the pope have no robes, and from what I have read written by the dalai lama, I would say his understanding of zen is not correct, and really tibetan buddhism is much closer to catholism than zen. You are not coming back in another life. Energy, however, is neither created or destroyed.

Your intellect is exactly what you need to design a house, or compose a symphony, or figure out a twenty percent tip at the restaurant. And it is not the intellect that causes problems.

it is when we allow the past or the future to obliterate our enjoyment of right now that we let our intellect rob us. If I judge all dogs by the one who bit me ten years ago, and live in fear, that is not correct practice. If I think about my project due in school tommorow while I make love to my wife, that is incorrect also.

None of this means you cant plan for the future, since it is coming, right? But I don't have to worry or imagine what it will bring, just be prepared and react to what actually happens, rather than spend an ounce of energy predicting my emotional response to stuff that may or may not happen.

All the metaphysical, religious crap is insignificant. None of that was what Buddha was about. (though you would never know that from the dogma that has sprung up over his bones) Nor does he have a patent on the experience of enlightenment. I have read descriptions by many, many people from all facets who describe it.

The problem, and the part I think that bothers you the most, is that by simply telling someone what it is, you rob them of the ability to discover it themselves, which is the only way to truly get it. It is not ineffable between two people who "get it", but then they would never need to discuss it. The discussion is only to try and help people who are seeking.

And I know that you are not seeking, and thats o.k. I am not trying to convert you. The beauty of saving all sentient beings is that there is nothing to save.

Alan Watts has written about it, but before "getting it" myself, I read over the passage and didn't even recognize he was giving away the store.

I agree with something else you wrote. There can never be any spiritual authority outside of yourself! You have all the answers already! The problem is our brains are a bit like hal from space odyssey, not necessarily operating in our best interests!

so there it is. an "intellectual" discussion of zen.

Gadfly said...

Actually, nothing "bothers" me. My "issue" was Buddhism's claim to be not a religion, which I still say is wrong.

I've read many books on cognitive science and neuroscience. I do appreciate the ideas and wrestlings with trying to discover the mind -- and the fact that these books are metaphysics-free.

My beauty is that I don't need any saving, and not because I "have the answers already inside my mind." There is nothing we need saving FROM; not any illusory beliefs about maya or anything else.

Addle Allone said...

Religion is a shared set of beliefs, and Zen Buddhism is an experience. If Zen is a religion, so are a roller coaster ride, and a morning commute. I do not pretend to know about the other forms of Buddhism. I would say lumping Zen and other forms together is like saying Baptists and Episcopalians agree on the issue of homosexuality.

If you will look at my previous post, you will also see that I said nothing needs saving. But that does not mean you do not suffer from illusion.

For you a better question would be "are you happy?"

With nothing but your blog to rely on, I would say that is a valid question. You are dissatisfied with everything from coffee beans and television programming, to other philosophies that do not mesh with yours.

You speak of illusory beliefs, and illusions. Here is an example: The perceived differences between coffee beans. You make the differences. If coffee tastes bad, spit it out. If coffee tastes good, drink it! When you get bad coffee, and carry that coffee cup around in your head and let it affect your day, you are not in correct practice.

Some cultures eat bugs. Are bugs gross or a delicacy? They are what you think they are. If you grew up with your grandma cooking roaches and gravy, you would probably think it is normal to eat bugs. This is conditioning.

It is this conditioning that is the source of suffering. When things are not how you think they should be, or worse, when you imagine how they will be, or dwell on how they were, you cause your own suffering. Original nature is clouded by an illusion that we have control, and that is erroneous. Letting go has a healing effect.

In this way all the problems can be solved. If you are single, be single. If you are married, be married. If you are hungry, eat. If your get angry, yell, but then let it go. Zen does not make robots. (Laughing has been said by some to be the greatest meditation.)

Categories, preferences, and differentiations are made by this conditioned "I" that you think has to be a "you" to recognize that there is no "I". Bugs are bugs. Beans are beans. Neither have an intrinsic nature other than the one you make for them.

If you argue that point, you are ignoring physics and molecular theory. If you agree and say there is no difference between bugs and beans, then what crawls up your leg in the summer?

If you cannot agree or disagree, how do you answer?

You know the answer; it is “ineffable.”

Addle Allone said...

Just so I know, you do know the differences between the religion of the Dalai Lama, and Zen Buddhism, right?

Gadfly said...

The Dalai Lama is not a Zen practitioner, but he is a Buddhist, to answer that first question. And, my critique is of some of the main features of Buddhism in common.

To the degree that Zen practitioners engage in Zen practice to address metaphysical questions, it's still a religion. Sorry, you can't beat that one.

Emotionally, I consider myself at least more happy than unhappy. I like being a critic at times.

Conditioning is unavoidable. You try to raise a baby without any linguistic contact, you get a dead baby. Actual experimental results by Frederick II Hohenstaufen.

And, the idea that we have an original nature that can be unconvered, sans conditioning? Absurd. There is no state of nature to which to return, contra you, Rousseau and many others. There is no "golden age" or "golden nature."

Homo sapiens simply is. No Edenic pasts.

Addle Allone said...

I pledge to never tell a fish about water again.

Thank you for your teaching.