Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by DGA » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:39 am

Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:21 am
Not to open a can of worms, there are are numerous accounts of some far out, morbid death rituals relating to the story in the Lotus Sutra involving self-immolation, as well as preemptive suicides as public spectacle related to Pure Land devotion. What they have in common is that they were intentional efforts to choose the time and circumstances of death to ensure a focused mind. There are some f'ed up stories of suicides gone wrong, last minute too late regrets followed by agonizing deaths... some unhinged folks thinking about this stuff a little too hard in the wrong ways.
Hold on. The only story of self-immolation I know in the Lotus Sutra is the story of the past lives of Medicine King Bodhisattva. This is the part where he packs his body full of incense and oil and sets it ablaze... as an offering to the three jewels. Are you sure that's an intentional effort to choose the time and circumstances of his death? In context, I thought he was trying to perfect his samadhi.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by DGA » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:43 am

Mr. G wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:09 pm
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 12590/full

Abstract:

It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, 1984). This paper examines the relation between attitudes about death and the self among Hindus, Westerners, and three Buddhist populations (Lay Tibetan, Lay Bhutanese, and monastic Tibetans). Compared with other groups, monastic Tibetans gave particularly strong denials of the continuity of self, across several measures. We predicted that the denial of self would be associated with a lower fear of death and greater generosity toward others. To our surprise, we found the opposite. Monastic Tibetan Buddhists showed significantly greater fear of death than any other group. The monastics were also less generous than any other group about the prospect of giving up a slightly longer life in order to extend the life of another.
I don't have access to the full article. It would be helpful to know if the three monastics that were interviewed belonged to a particular school. Different traditions have different emphases in practice, and different cultures basically.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:15 am

DGA wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:39 am
Queequeg wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:21 am
Not to open a can of worms, there are are numerous accounts of some far out, morbid death rituals relating to the story in the Lotus Sutra involving self-immolation, as well as preemptive suicides as public spectacle related to Pure Land devotion. What they have in common is that they were intentional efforts to choose the time and circumstances of death to ensure a focused mind. There are some f'ed up stories of suicides gone wrong, last minute too late regrets followed by agonizing deaths... some unhinged folks thinking about this stuff a little too hard in the wrong ways.
Hold on. The only story of self-immolation I know in the Lotus Sutra is the story of the past lives of Medicine King Bodhisattva. This is the part where he packs his body full of incense and oil and sets it ablaze... as an offering to the three jewels. Are you sure that's an intentional effort to choose the time and circumstances of his death? In context, I thought he was trying to perfect his samadhi.
That's part of the inspiration. Lots of streams of thought coming together including extreme ascetic practices and concern about the unpredictability of the moment of death. TBH, I'm not sure anyone really understands what was going on. Still, these practices were common enough that its a rich source for academic output that makes for some interesting talks at AAS.
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by dzogchungpa » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:29 am

DGA wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:43 am
Mr. G wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:09 pm
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 12590/full

Abstract:

It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, 1984). This paper examines the relation between attitudes about death and the self among Hindus, Westerners, and three Buddhist populations (Lay Tibetan, Lay Bhutanese, and monastic Tibetans). Compared with other groups, monastic Tibetans gave particularly strong denials of the continuity of self, across several measures. We predicted that the denial of self would be associated with a lower fear of death and greater generosity toward others. To our surprise, we found the opposite. Monastic Tibetan Buddhists showed significantly greater fear of death than any other group. The monastics were also less generous than any other group about the prospect of giving up a slightly longer life in order to extend the life of another.
I don't have access to the full article...

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/ ... cience.pdf
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:55 am

I was thinking about this more today, and it strikes me that in fact it is pretty much impossible cultivate Bodhicitta, or at least compassion, without some measure of fear. I am not sure that lack of fear is a good indicator of good spiritual training at all, one could argue the opposite in fact. Or, at least, one could argue the the context and "type" of fear have everything to do with it's spiritual utility.
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by amanitamusc » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:57 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:55 am
I was thinking about this more today, and it strikes me that in fact it is pretty much impossible cultivate Bodhicitta, or at least compassion, without some measure of fear. I am not sure that lack of fear is a good indicator of good spiritual training at all, one could argue the opposite in fact. Or, at least, one could argue the the context and "type" of fear have everything to do with it's spiritual utility.
Your true nature ,essence,nature and compassion.You don't need fear to have compassion.You are compassion.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Mantrik » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:17 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:55 am
I was thinking about this more today, and it strikes me that in fact it is pretty much impossible cultivate Bodhicitta, or at least compassion, without some measure of fear. I am not sure that lack of fear is a good indicator of good spiritual training at all, one could argue the opposite in fact. Or, at least, one could argue the the context and "type" of fear have everything to do with it's spiritual utility.

It is possible to simultaneously fear rebirth in the hell realms and have confidence in practices like Phowa. I don't think the fear is necessary for everyone, but does motivate a lot of people, perhaps used by Buddhist teachers in the same way Christian clerics use their own version of rebirth in hell to scare their flock.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:16 pm

amanitamusc wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:57 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:55 am
I was thinking about this more today, and it strikes me that in fact it is pretty much impossible cultivate Bodhicitta, or at least compassion, without some measure of fear. I am not sure that lack of fear is a good indicator of good spiritual training at all, one could argue the opposite in fact. Or, at least, one could argue the the context and "type" of fear have everything to do with it's spiritual utility.
Your true nature ,essence,nature and compassion.You don't need fear to have compassion.You are compassion.
This article is likely not primarily about the view of Dzogchen or Tantra practitioners though, at least not in the sense the above refers to. Maybe it'd be more accurate to say that in the cultivation of relative Bodhicitta (which i'm gonna go out on a limb and assume the category of "Monastic Tibetan Buddhists" is going to be very familiar with), fear of one kind or another often plays an important part.
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by DGA » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:06 am

I started a thread to discuss one of the Nichiren-specific issues (one of them that opens onto others) that came up in this thread. Maybe some here might be interested.

viewtopic.php?f=59&t=27784

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Bristollad » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:06 pm

Going back to the original topic, Jay Garfield is a co-author on the paper and it's available from his website here:

https://jaygarfield.files.wordpress.com ... ndself.pdf

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by liuzg150181 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:07 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:06 pm
Going back to the original topic, Jay Garfield is a co-author on the paper and it's available from his website here:

https://jaygarfield.files.wordpress.com ... ndself.pdf
Interesting paper,skimmed through the paper and had some questions in mind:

"Tibetan Buddhists from monasteries in Byalkuppe and
Mundgod, India; Lay Tibetans from Northern India; and Tibetan Buddhists from Bhutan."

"Indeed, this explanation actually fits with a traditional Buddhist distinction between innate self-grasping and philosophical self-grasping. The latter is the conviction in the reality of the self as a result of philosophical or religious doctrine, and it is regarded among
Buddhist philosophers as eliminable simply through philosophical reflection. The former,however, is regarded as immune to mere philosophical reflection, and it is argued that only prolonged meditation can dislodge it. None of the participants we studied were
long-term meditators (Tsongkhapa, 1991), and one important question for future research (S. Nichols et al. / Cognitive Science (2018)
17)will be whether highly experienced practitioners of meditation would in fact show reduced fear of self-annihilation."


I had googled Byalkuppe and Mundgod with regards to the Tibetan Buddhist schools that exists. It seems the Byalkuppe is a Gelug-dominated area(intersparsed with Drikung Kagyu and Nyingma),whereas Mundgod is only Gelug,so I can safely presume that the sample taken for monastic is biased towards Gelug school?

Afaik since Gelugpa approach is very academic,esp as opposed to practice school Nyingmapa and Kagyupa(and also Jonangpa i believe),this would jive with the point above regarding distinction between "innate self-grasping and philosophical self-grasping" and the sampled not being long-term meditators(though it is not stated whether that refers to sutric or tantric stuff).

Speaking of which:

Another limitation of our study is that we focused on a single Buddhist tradition, and
it will be important to see whether the findings hold for other traditions as well. Buddhist
traditions differ from one another in doctrinal detail, with respect to practice, with respect
to relations between lay and monastic communities, and in degree of piety. We have
examined only one of these traditions

the Tibetan tradition as it is represented in the
Indian exile community and in Bhutan.


Ironically,despite the mention of different Buddhist traditions,I didnt see any exposition of different Tibetan schools. Does Jay Garfield assume that all TB schools are of one mold and only differs in names and lineages?

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Way-Fun » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:50 am

If it is true that monastic Tibetan Buddhist fear death more, the question remains, so what?


The ignorant hope to enlighten darkness with light. The Bodhisattva of Darkness enlightens darkness through the dharma gate of darkness.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by seeker242 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:45 am

Saw another article on this study. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/02/02/is ... buddhists/
One caveat to the findings highlighted by the researchers is that, although their monastic Buddhist participants meditated every day, none of them were highly experienced, long-term meditators with many years of practice.
That's a pretty big caveat.
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by marting » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:13 am

seeker242 wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:45 am
Saw another article on this study. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/02/02/is ... buddhists/
One caveat to the findings highlighted by the researchers is that, although their monastic Buddhist participants meditated every day, none of them were highly experienced, long-term meditators with many years of practice.
That's a pretty big caveat.
Does anyone have the questionnaire used in the study?

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by marting » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:53 am

marting wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:13 am
seeker242 wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:45 am
Saw another article on this study. https://digest.bps.org.uk/2018/02/02/is ... buddhists/
One caveat to the findings highlighted by the researchers is that, although their monastic Buddhist participants meditated every day, none of them were highly experienced, long-term meditators with many years of practice.
That's a pretty big caveat.
Does anyone have the questionnaire used in the study?
Nevermind, got it.

Quick thoughts from a quick skim:

-I don't think Buddhism denies, suppresses, or ignores the biologically rooted emotional sense of self, much less through philosophical belief, but the authors seem to think it should and are surprised that it doesn't.

-How well did the Tibetans and Bhutanese understand the study compared to the Americans and Indians (where Western culture and language are no big issues)? Always a nagging question. Two things I noticed is that Tibetan and Bhutanese cultures are similar, and there were no Western Buddhists.

-Driving home the point through the Milarepa example at the conclusion appeared clumsy. I don't think one's humanity and ability to feel is undermined from Buddhism.

-To those who claim to have little or no fear of death, get real. :lol:

-Pretty sure relating to an experience can differ between individuals even if the event, emotion, or feeling is experienced or expressed in the same way.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Bristollad » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:30 am

liuzg150181 wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:07 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:06 pm
Going back to the original topic, Jay Garfield is a co-author on the paper and it's available from his website here:

https://jaygarfield.files.wordpress.com ... ndself.pdf
Interesting paper,skimmed through the paper and had some questions in mind:

"Tibetan Buddhists from monasteries in Byalkuppe and
Mundgod, India; Lay Tibetans from Northern India; and Tibetan Buddhists from Bhutan."

"Indeed, this explanation actually fits with a traditional Buddhist distinction between innate self-grasping and philosophical self-grasping. The latter is the conviction in the reality of the self as a result of philosophical or religious doctrine, and it is regarded among
Buddhist philosophers as eliminable simply through philosophical reflection. The former,however, is regarded as immune to mere philosophical reflection, and it is argued that only prolonged meditation can dislodge it. None of the participants we studied were
long-term meditators (Tsongkhapa, 1991), and one important question for future research (S. Nichols et al. / Cognitive Science (2018)
17)will be whether highly experienced practitioners of meditation would in fact show reduced fear of self-annihilation."


I had googled Byalkuppe and Mundgod with regards to the Tibetan Buddhist schools that exists. It seems the Byalkuppe is a Gelug-dominated area(intersparsed with Drikung Kagyu and Nyingma),whereas Mundgod is only Gelug,so I can safely presume that the sample taken for monastic is biased towards Gelug school?

Afaik since Gelugpa approach is very academic,esp as opposed to practice school Nyingmapa and Kagyupa(and also Jonangpa i believe),this would jive with the point above regarding distinction between "innate self-grasping and philosophical self-grasping" and the sampled not being long-term meditators(though it is not stated whether that refers to sutric or tantric stuff).

Speaking of which:

Another limitation of our study is that we focused on a single Buddhist tradition, and
it will be important to see whether the findings hold for other traditions as well. Buddhist
traditions differ from one another in doctrinal detail, with respect to practice, with respect
to relations between lay and monastic communities, and in degree of piety. We have
examined only one of these traditions

the Tibetan tradition as it is represented in the
Indian exile community and in Bhutan.


Ironically,despite the mention of different Buddhist traditions,I didnt see any exposition of different Tibetan schools. Does Jay Garfield assume that all TB schools are of one mold and only differs in names and lineages?
My guess based on the little information given is that the selected sample of monastics were students from Sera and Drepung - but I can't be sure. I'm not convinced by the paper I must admit - there would seem to be so many factors that could have influenced the results that have not been addressed that I'm not sure the results are very meaningful. I'm also not sure about the discussion of the results and what they mean, for instance this sounds very dubious to me:
We propose that even for the monks and nuns, there remains a persistent and powerful sense of identity yielded by episodic memory and prospection within biological life.
The claim that episodic memory generates a sense of personal identity even among monastics is reinforced by looking at work within Tibetan Buddhism. Autobiographies are a primary genre in Tibetan literature. The autobiographies are by people who are held to be of high spiritual attainment (e.g., Gyatso, 1998, 103). It might seem incoherent for an enlightened Buddhist to write an autobiography — how can one affirm an autobiography while denying the self?
It is certainly clear that these texts make liberal use of the first person singular. The official rejoinder to this alleged incoherence is that these works treat the author as merely a “conventional” person, not an enduring ultimate self. It is possible to speak of persons in this merely conventional fashion, but Tibetan autobiographies suggest that this is not always consistently upheld. Often in these works, the author is reporting a past experience, and the recollections certainly do not seem to present the distanced perspective afforded by thinking that there really is no persisting self. Rather, they suggest a clear identification with the past experiencer. Consider, for instance, the most famous work in this tradition,The Life of Milarepa. We find the author describing a scene from years earlier in which he had returned to his ancestral home and found human bones among a heap of rags. He writes,

When I realized they were the bones of my mother, I was so overcome with grief that I could hardly stand it. I could not think, I could not speak, and an overwhelming sense of longing and sadness swept over me. (Quintman, 2010, p. 118; see also Shabkar, 1994, p. 32; Kongtrul, 2003; 172–3)

This passage is hardly a dispassionate report that a conventional person consisting of fleeting traits included a set of perceptions. Instead, it seems to be a recollection of a devastating personal experience. It is most plausible that Milarepa, in reflecting on this terrible event, could not suppress the sense that he had the experience of discovering his mother’s bones, even if, in a different register, he would deny that there is
any self in which he consists, or that he is now the same person who endured that experience.
It seems like they thought that someone who has conquered self-grasping (Milarepa) should be suffering from depersonalisation disorder. :shrug:
One would hope that Jay Garfield at least would know the differences between the approaches of the different TB schools.

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Grigoris » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:32 am

Way-Fun wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:50 am
The Bodhisattva of Darkness enlightens darkness through the dharma gate of darkness.
What in tarnations are you talking about???
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by marting » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:37 am

Nichols et al wrote:This passage is hardly a dispassionate...
That's where their heads are at.

:coffee:

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Way-Fun » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:44 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:32 am
Way-Fun wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:50 am
The Bodhisattva of Darkness enlightens darkness through the dharma gate of darkness.
What in tarnations are you talking about???
The "Bodhisattva of Darkness" is the one who is afraid. How do you awaken in the midst of fear?

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Re: Monastic Tibetan Buddhists Fear Death More

Post by Grigoris » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:08 pm

Way-Fun wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:44 am
The "Bodhisattva of Darkness" is the one who is afraid. How do you awaken in the midst of fear?
Seems to me you are making this up as you go along...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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