Burn Buddha Burn

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boda
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by boda » Mon May 21, 2018 10:26 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:06 pm
boda wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 6:42 pm
That might be true if we humans were rational beings, but we’re not. A person may fully know that a myth is symbolic and not literal, and nevertheless it may effect them in unexpected ways. Take Seeker’s apparent belief that zen masters are ninjas or whatever. Seems innocent enough, yet it may indicate a kind of guru worship that at best serves no useful purpose and at worst is dramatically counterproductive.
Or it may lead to a suspension of disbelief that lasts long enough for a glimpse of something beyond rational mind (rationality is kind of overrated at times) that may lead to real change.

There is tonnes of stuff out there that rational mind cannot grasp and yet...
You appear to be suggesting that myth-making is useful in glimpsing something beyond. That may be true to an extent, however, the problem is that the glimpse that guides may be the glimpse that shapes what is seen, and what you end up with is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy and reification of traditional views.

I had a kind of mini revelation the other day when reading the book How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/366 ... -your-mind). Much of the book explores psychedelics (entheogen) as they relate to spirituality. A claim is that entheogens have a 'depatterning' effect. There are theories that this depattenring effect may be useful in terms of survival and evolution and that may be why psilocybin mushrooms, for example, may contain psychedelic compounds. A characteristic effect of psychedelics is a temporary dissolution of self, as well as other classic mystic qualities. Not sure how close this is to what a Buddhist may try to attain in medication but it seems to be in the same ball park. Maybe not, but anyway, there has been a great deal of clinical work done with psychedelics and there's a lot of evidence that it can be very beneficial for treating addiction and anxiety disorders. In a more recent study with terminal cancer patients, it proved to greatly reduce or eliminate existential anxiety.

So my mini revelation was that an awakening experience, via meditation or entheogens, can be depatterning, and this depatterning is the basis of iconoclasm. Real iconoclasm in zen is expressed in kensho, or deep samadhi I suppose. It never made sense to me before that any religion could have an iconoclastic quality because if such a quality became characteristic it would merely be another ‘pattern’.

It seems that organized societies and institutions, even religiously based ones, are somewhat at odds with awakening. This is very unfortunate. Long live the disco inferno!

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Wayfarer
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Wayfarer » Tue May 22, 2018 1:06 am

Myth provides a way of re-telling existential truths using allegorical language. Nowadays it is very popular to dismiss mythical thinking out-of-hand, but myths are nevertheless part of the fabric of existence (and modern life as well. It’s just that many of today's myths reflect the underlying technocratic or nihilist views of the culture that gives birth to them.)

There’s a great Joseph Campbell quote:
Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor

The kind of eye-rolling incredulity that the Dawkins of this world show towards anything religious is in large part due to the inability to think interpretively. That's why Dawkins style of militant atheism is strangely like the fundamentalism he so despises - they're both based on taking the symbolic as literal. It causes no end of conflict. I mean, if you never thought the Biblical creation account was literally true, then what would be the big deal about it being NOT literally true? :shrug:

Whereas in the Continental (e.g. European) philosophical tradition (to distinguish it from Anglo-American), there's a lot of emphasis on the discipline of hermeneutics - the interpretation of texts and symbolic and religious language, and I think it's a really important skill, especially nowadays.

It's not so much of an issue with Buddhism, on account of the Buddha having a very sophisticated understanding right from the beginning. But it's still a factor. One of the interesting books I encountered in Buddhist Studies was Roderick Bucknell's book on 'the twilight language':
the notion of "twilight language" is a supposed polysemic language and communication system associated with tantric traditions in Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism. It includes visual communication, verbal communication and nonverbal communication. Tantric texts are often written in a form of the twilight language that is incomprehensible to the uninitiated reader. As part of an esoteric tradition of initiation, the texts are not to be employed by those without an experienced guide and the use of the twilight language ensures that the uninitiated do not easily gain access to the knowledge contained in these works.
And that's also because these teachings are aimed at helping the student access the non-verbal, non-discursive aspects of consciousness itself - which is where symbolic language and myths are important. There are, I have heard it said, 'myths that a truer than history'.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Supramundane
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Tue May 22, 2018 2:49 am

myths are not real.

but they often tell a truth.

boda
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by boda » Tue May 22, 2018 4:38 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 1:06 am
The kind of eye-rolling incredulity that the Dawkins of this world show towards anything religious is in large part due to the inability to think interpretively. That's why Dawkins style of militant atheism is strangely like the fundamentalism he so despises - they're both based on taking the symbolic as literal. It causes no end of conflict. I mean, if you never thought the Biblical creation account was literally true, then what would be the big deal about it being NOT literally true? :shrug:
We all interpret things in a way that fits our narrative, you might admit. The BIG DEAL to the Dawkinians is things like this: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-ne ... -26095379/

Are Dawkinians “strangely like” this, murdering innocent women? No. They promote reform.

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Grigoris
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Grigoris » Tue May 22, 2018 7:18 am

boda wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 10:26 pm
You appear to be suggesting that myth-making is useful in glimpsing something beyond. That may be true to an extent, however, the problem is that the glimpse that guides may be the glimpse that shapes what is seen, and what you end up with is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy and reification of traditional views.
This can just as easily happen with knowledge, based on rational observation too. Consider Eugenics, for example. Or Malthusianism. Etc...
"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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