The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

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puravida
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The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by puravida » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am

Hello to everyone. I'm new to the forum and look forwarded to participating. I am currently experiencing some challenge in my practice.

As some backstory, I was raised in a Christian tradition and slowly gravitated away from it. When I started to explore Buddhism I found the idea that there is no permanent self troubling. It was hard to adjust to such a teaching after coming from a tradition that emphasized a highly personal view of a self so permanent that it was intimately integrated with a soul that survives death.


From a logical perspective I can see that the we take in all sorts of information from our senses, have ideas, concepts, emotions, and moods but we identify with that as an ego or permanent self. (I know I am over simplifying complex subject matter but I'm trying to be brief to get to a point) I also see that the idea of our personality as a permanent self is flawed. From observation we can see that someone who suffers a very traumatic brain injury may have a completely different personality after such an event, which begs the question where is that "person" that is so permanent. Another example would be someone who develops Alzheimer's and loses all sense of who they are and those around them in the final stages. So again, I see there is no permanent self.

In exploring mediation, I can see the analogy of a dirty body of water stirred up will eventually become clear if it comes to rest and allows the contents to settle. I can appreciate the value in pure awareness without concepts, ideas, cravings, etc. -just awareness.

Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.


I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.


Thanks in advance for reading and any replies.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:54 am

Hi Puravida, and welcome to the Forum!

You've raised a very important topic and one that is often subject to long discussion on Buddhist forums. Bear in mind in what follows that, although it's true I'm a Moderator here, my views on the matter are not representative of any Buddhist organisation but come from long meditation on similar kinds of questions to those that you raise.

First of all, and crucially, it's really important to understand just what is being by the denial of a 'permanent self'. Even though this is almost routinely described as the rejection of the idea of a soul, I think that is an incorrect depiction. The term 'soul' comes from another domain of discourse altogether, namely the Greek and Semitic traditions, respectively, and carries many overtones and connotations which are quite distinct from those found in the Indic traditions. So we should set that to one side.

The time of the Buddha was a period of intense spiritual and civilisational ferment, with different traditions advocating very diverse philosophical and spiritual views. The Buddha's movement was one of the 'forest-dwelling ascetics', and was consciously non-conformist in regard to the traditional Vedic orthodoxy. The Vedas are, as you probably know, the indigenous religious texts (originally completely oral in nature) that had been handed down since time immemorial and were memorised by the Brahmin priesthood.

It was within that context that the idea of a soul that transmigrates from life to life had become established. Although not every school accepted the idea of reincarnation, it was fairly mainstream amongst the Vedic religions. However if you study the depictions of the fate of the spirit at death in those scriptures, they vary widely. Some say that the spirits of the dead ascend to a realm near the Sun, others that they return to the underworld, still others that they take birth in animal form. These kinds of ideas were very widely believed in many ancient cultures and weren't necessarily the crisp and clear dogmas they were to become in subsequent centuries.

In that context, there was a widespread acceptance that performance of the appropriate rites, rituals and sacrifices - and sacrifices were central to Vedic religion - then well being in the next life was assured. And also religious doctrines were formulated which claimed that there was a higher self, a true self, which persisted unchanged from life to life, and that the goal of the religious life was to attain identification with that higher self.

In some of the scriptural sources, this true self is described in terms of being 'like a solitary mountain peak' or 'a post set fast', and that it has the attribute of changelessness, even though everything else around it changes. Furthermore, there was a belief that through the performance of the appropriate practices and rituals, identification with this true self or higher self, meant that one could, to all intents, be reborn in perpetuity - forever, in practical terms. And that kind of conception, I think, was the subject of the Buddha's criticism of there being a 'true self'.

But, it's critical to note (and contrary to a lot of popular opinion) that the Buddha doesn't say there is -no- self. When asked this very question, the Buddha answered as follows:
Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "Now then, Venerable Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then is there no self?"

A second time, the Blessed One was silent.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer got up from his seat and left.

Then, not long after Vacchagotta the wanderer had left, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "Why, lord, did the Blessed One not answer when asked a question by Vacchagotta the wanderer?"

"Ananda, if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of eternalism [the view that there is an eternal, unchanging soul]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, that would be conforming with those brahmans & contemplatives who are exponents of annihilationism [the view that death is the annihilation of consciousness]. If I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is a self — were to answer that there is a self, would that be in keeping with the arising of knowledge that all phenomena are not-self?"

"No, lord."

"And if I — being asked by Vacchagotta the wanderer if there is no self — were to answer that there is no self, the bewildered Vacchagotta would become even more bewildered: 'Does the self I used to have now not exist?'"
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

(Incidentally, in the early Buddhist texts, the character of Vacchagotta is customarily associated with the asking of tricky philosophical questions.)

So this then unfolds into the explanation of dependent origination - which is the uniquely Buddhist principle that 'everything that exists depends on causes and conditions'. This goes for self also. Now, it would be foolish to try and compress the explanation of what this principle of 'dependent origination' (pratītyasamutpāda) into a single forum post. But the subtle and vital point is that it doesn't say that the self either does exist (which is eternalism) or doesn't (which is nihilism). That is the unique principle that underlies and was expanded by the Middle Way (madhyamaka).

So, while there is no permanent self conceived as an unchanging entity in the midst of change, there is still karmic continuity. Actions have consequences, or 'bear fruit' as it is usually expressed, even beyond the boundaries of one single physical existence. I suppose one way that this could be interpreted is that the quest for enlightenment unfolds over many lives. But on the other hand, there must obviously be a lot that we don't understand about that (speaking from a culturally Western perspective) so it is something that I am inclined to accept, but also hold lightly. I mean, there is an interpretation that 'the wheel of birth and death' actually operates moment-to-moment as much as life-to-life, so there's no need to go searching for anything beyond this life. But it's a deep and delicate question.

Anyway, that's enough for now, I hope that provides some direction for consideration of the question, and again, welcome.

:namaste:
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by catmoon » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:43 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
When I started to explore Buddhism I found the idea that there is no permanent self troubling. It was hard to adjust to such a teaching after coming from a tradition that emphasized a highly personal view of a self so permanent that it was intimately integrated with a soul that survives death.

I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.

Imagine a house built on stilts. But this is a peculiar house, for it is built on a single stilt. The stilt is decaying and needs to be replaced. If you remove the stilt, the house will fall and be destroyed. But if the stilt is not replaced, the house will soon fall and be destroyed. So it's good idea to be sure the new support is in place, well anchored, solid and sound, before removing the old one.

Since it is easier to destroy things than to build, a lot of people make the obvious mistake and start removing the support for their house before building the new support. I did this an so did many of my friends, and we all had to hack through a long period of meaninglessness as a result. Most of us were not even moving into Buddhism, but were university students being exposed to new ideas and views of the world.

So, what meaningful thing will support your existence if you remove the old supports? What matters? What has meaning? What lends value to our lives?

I think the answer must be that suffering matters, compassion matters, kindness matters. If you devote yourself to easing suffering where you see it, if you feel the suffering of others somewhat as if it were your own, and you help people where you can, you will not suffer the ills of nihilism. Life will seem full and rich and rewarding, you will be the captain of your own ship, and you will learn a great deal. As you learn, you will become more than you are, and move towards enlightenment.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Sherab » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:29 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Hello to everyone. I'm new to the forum and look forwarded to participating. I am currently experiencing some challenge in my practice.

As some backstory, I was raised in a Christian tradition and slowly gravitated away from it. When I started to explore Buddhism I found the idea that there is no permanent self troubling. It was hard to adjust to such a teaching after coming from a tradition that emphasized a highly personal view of a self so permanent that it was intimately integrated with a soul that survives death.


From a logical perspective I can see that the we take in all sorts of information from our senses, have ideas, concepts, emotions, and moods but we identify with that as an ego or permanent self. (I know I am over simplifying complex subject matter but I'm trying to be brief to get to a point) I also see that the idea of our personality as a permanent self is flawed. From observation we can see that someone who suffers a very traumatic brain injury may have a completely different personality after such an event, which begs the question where is that "person" that is so permanent. Another example would be someone who develops Alzheimer's and loses all sense of who they are and those around them in the final stages. So again, I see there is no permanent self.

In exploring mediation, I can see the analogy of a dirty body of water stirred up will eventually become clear if it comes to rest and allows the contents to settle. I can appreciate the value in pure awareness without concepts, ideas, cravings, etc. -just awareness.

Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.


I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.


Thanks in advance for reading and any replies.
I think you gave too much importance to the idea of a lack of self. That is of much less importance than the idea of NOT grasping at a self. Why? Because it is the grasping at a self that leads to the samsara (the endless cycling through all kinds of existences) and not the mere idea of a self. In fact, when you explore the ultimate reality, whether there is a self or not becomes pretty ambiguous with concepts like there is neither one nor many.

Impermance is a useful idea as it implies that any suffering that is experienced will have an end. But when you focus only on the impermanence of a self without a good grounding of the practical reasons why the Buddha taught 'not self' or 'not finding a self', it could become a hindrance.

In the Mahayana, there are two groups of practices that should be cultivated: the vast and the profound. In the vast, one shifts one's focus away from the self and onto others, their suffering and why the practitioner should make effort to reduce or help deliver them from their suffering. In the profound, one focus on getting initially an understanding, then insight into the true reality as it is only with an insight into the true reality (wisdom) that one can truly help others to escape from the cycle of existence. Cultivating one without the other is a lop-sided cultivation.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:00 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Hello to everyone. I'm new to the forum and look forwarded to participating. I am currently experiencing some challenge in my practice.

As some backstory, I was raised in a Christian tradition and slowly gravitated away from it. When I started to explore Buddhism I found the idea that there is no permanent self troubling. It was hard to adjust to such a teaching after coming from a tradition that emphasized a highly personal view of a self so permanent that it was intimately integrated with a soul that survives death.


From a logical perspective I can see that the we take in all sorts of information from our senses, have ideas, concepts, emotions, and moods but we identify with that as an ego or permanent self. (I know I am over simplifying complex subject matter but I'm trying to be brief to get to a point) I also see that the idea of our personality as a permanent self is flawed. From observation we can see that someone who suffers a very traumatic brain injury may have a completely different personality after such an event, which begs the question where is that "person" that is so permanent. Another example would be someone who develops Alzheimer's and loses all sense of who they are and those around them in the final stages. So again, I see there is no permanent self.

In exploring mediation, I can see the analogy of a dirty body of water stirred up will eventually become clear if it comes to rest and allows the contents to settle. I can appreciate the value in pure awareness without concepts, ideas, cravings, etc. -just awareness.

Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.


I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.


Thanks in advance for reading and any replies.


You're just interpreting it from the wrong angle. It doesn't mean that nothing matters, in effect it means that everything matters. On a relative level things matter in relation only to other things, on the ultimate level things are and endless concatenation, with no repeats, only rhymes. The idea that this "doesn't matter" is a philosophical graft, and isn't related to it's experience - which inseparable from compassion. Compassion itself being the reaction of the ultimate to the relative.

In short, instead of meaning nothing, you could say it "means" that all phenomena are pure, even sacred in their own state.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Joseph » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:25 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:00 am
puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Hello to everyone. I'm new to the forum and look forwarded to participating. I am currently experiencing some challenge in my practice.

As some backstory, I was raised in a Christian tradition and slowly gravitated away from it. When I started to explore Buddhism I found the idea that there is no permanent self troubling. It was hard to adjust to such a teaching after coming from a tradition that emphasized a highly personal view of a self so permanent that it was intimately integrated with a soul that survives death.


From a logical perspective I can see that the we take in all sorts of information from our senses, have ideas, concepts, emotions, and moods but we identify with that as an ego or permanent self. (I know I am over simplifying complex subject matter but I'm trying to be brief to get to a point) I also see that the idea of our personality as a permanent self is flawed. From observation we can see that someone who suffers a very traumatic brain injury may have a completely different personality after such an event, which begs the question where is that "person" that is so permanent. Another example would be someone who develops Alzheimer's and loses all sense of who they are and those around them in the final stages. So again, I see there is no permanent self.

In exploring mediation, I can see the analogy of a dirty body of water stirred up will eventually become clear if it comes to rest and allows the contents to settle. I can appreciate the value in pure awareness without concepts, ideas, cravings, etc. -just awareness.

Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.


I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.


Thanks in advance for reading and any replies.


You're just interpreting it from the wrong angle. It doesn't mean that nothing matters, in effect it means that everything matters. On a relative level things matter in relation only to other things, on the ultimate level things are and endless concatenation, with no repeats, only rhymes. The idea that this "doesn't matter" is a philosophical graft, and isn't related to it's experience - which inseparable from compassion. Compassion itself being the reaction of the ultimate to the relative.

In short, instead of meaning nothing, you could say it "means" that all phenomena are pure, even sacred in their own state.
Wonderful post ! :)
Doesn't matter is a philosophical graft !!

THere isn't nothing, there are appearances !!

:applause: :cheers:
"When you play in dirt, you get dirty" - Jimmy McNulty

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Queequeg » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:51 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.
Have you considered that you might be getting ahead of yourself?

Buddha did not teach nihilism. If you follow the Buddha's path, it will not lead to nihilism.

You are speculating and worrying about something you've conjured from your imagination. You've intuited some things from some things you've learned, but don't actually know what lies down that path because you have not walked it yet. Its like thinking about going to Yosemite Park and thinking about how you will be eaten by wolves and bears. Its possible that you might stumble off the path and get into some danger like that, but all but impossible if you stay on the beaten path.

Consider focusing on the practices before you. Don't worry about looking ahead or even evaluating how you are presently doing. Just do it. You'll find what lies down that path soon enough. Ten years, 20 years, 30 years down the line, you'll see how far you've come.

Fare well.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:50 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.
This reminds me of when I was a teenager, and went vegetarian, and someone said to me,
"I tried doing that, but there was always a big empty space on the plate where the meat used to be"

As you say, the Judeo-Christian tradition emphasizes the self. That's a pretty big chunk of steak on the plate.
So, in a way, maybe you are kind of waiting for, or expecting something in Buddhism to take its place,
because if you are used to having that, even though you aren't intentionally trying to substitute something else for that,
there's a sort of subconscious craving. And when there isn't anything there, even if the teachings feel right,
exactly what you are saying, the sense of everything being pointless and meaningless arises.

The best ("best" meaning most practical) way of dealing with this is to generate bodhicitta,
the desire to attain realization in order to benefit others, to help free others from suffering.
If you keep this as your motivation, that the reason you meditate and study the teachings is for the benefit of all beings,
then you will find there is a lot of meaningfulness to your practice.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Matt J » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:36 pm

First of all, the Buddha has said there is no self, but so what? Is it true or not? At this point, no self is only heard a rumor. Shabkar compares practice to finding out if there is a tiger in a part of the forest. If you hear a rumor that there are no tigers, that may or may not be the case--- we will harbor doubts. However, if you look in the forest yourself in and around every tree, you will see for yourself there are no tigers and you will have no doubt.

A lot of times, emptiness and no-self seem pretty depressing. However, with no self, you may lose a self, but you gain infinite possibilities. If you had a fixed, enduring, permanent self, then experience would be impossible. If you were bored, you would always be bored forever and ever. This would be bad news for us because we have ignorance. A changeless self would always be ignorant. Everything would be frozen at its birth--- birth would be impossible because there is no change in a universe of selves. Life would be meaningless because, already having a self, no change or transformation is possible. Everything that happens in this life would have no impact on you whatsoever, because you have this permanent, enduring self. To paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh, you lose the self but you gain the universe.


puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am

I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by takso » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:26 am

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.


I hope I can get some help with this struggle. I'm coming from a "personal" experience of trying to follow Buddhist precepts, not one of trying to logic chop or be overly philosophical.


Thanks in advance for reading and any replies.
The path of liberation can be made simple and straightforward. All you need is simply to appreciate and taste it without hesitation. Be ready and gear up for your mind transformation. It’s all about making observation without identifying with the thoughts. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. Simply, it means that your mind stream would need to be in an equanimous state all the time. Yes, equanimity is the healing potion that you need all this while. Just enjoy along your liberation - right here, right now!
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by puravida » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:34 am

Thank you so much to all for the very thoughtful posts and insights. It's comforting to receive word from those further down the path, who have been walking it far longer. It's very supportive and I really appreciate it.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Nirveda » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:36 pm

puravida wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:02 am
Now to my point, or what I am struggling with. I feel like by letting go of the ego, attachments, and seeking pure awareness, I am inching closer to nihilism where nothing matters and everything is ultimately meaningless. This is not a place where I want to be.
Strictly speaking, you're not letting go of anything. The ego doesn't exist, so there's nothing to let go of. It's more accurate to say that the illusoriness of illusion will become apparent. The language can be confusing here, but the perspective makes a difference. You can't get rid of something that never existed in the first place. In fact, the ego illusion is the source of the fear in the first place. Seeing through the illusion does not create nihilism or fear, it leads to peace, joy, and compassion. So fears are completely understandable and quite common. But that's not where all of this leads.

Another perspective is that the illusion of an ego is an illusion of separateness, isolation, and alienation. The flip side of the belief of existing in that way is the belief that it will one day end. There's a subtle (or sometimes not-too-subtle) existential dread in belief of being a separate self. So naturally there's clinging to that notion, that illusory experience because of the belief that it goes away, that will mean figurative or literal death. But again, that's not where this ends up. The experience of emptiness, not-self (which sound very pejorative in English) is one of lightness, freedom, and the loss of dread and fear.

Finally, the concerns about meaninglessness are also common and understandable, but also ironically the opposite of what happens. Insights into dependent origination, interdependence, the interconnectedness of everything, the lack of separation makes life highly meaningful. It's only in imagined isolation that can people fall into error of thinking that life is meaningless. Fortunately, in reality, nothing can possibly exist in the separate way that we imagine it. Everything exists in dependence on causes and conditions, so nothing can ever truly be isolated or separate. It's *awareness* of this interconnectedness of everything that makes life full of meaning.

Consider this quote from Jay Garfield (from The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way):

"It is ironic that it is the urge to guarantee more reality and significance for ourselves than emptiness appears to allow that leads to a view of life as perfectly impossible and pointless. That is, though we are led to ascribe inherent, independent existence to ourselves and to the world of phenomena we cherish—in part, in order to assign them the greatest possible importance—this very importance would be completely undermined by such inherent existence and independence. For in that case, all activity and all consequences of activity would be impossible. The resultant life would be static, detached, and utterly meaningless. Only in the context of emptiness—what might appear to be the greatest threat to meaningfulness—can a meaningful life be understood."

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by tkp67 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:08 am

On a grand scale this is a result of the information age.

Likened to a home depot the various mantras regarding the meaning of life are so seemingly varied and abundant that most people abandon parsing through the complexity for common denominators that reveal the true nature of the human condition for the nihilistic notion that the complexity is too obtuse to be understood and that this distilled means life is meaningless and at meaning is personally relevant.

This is a rekindling of the same difficulties that have arisen in the past when external elements of belief became intellectually as meaningless when understood as pure allegory. To the uninitiated this is a normal reaction to the over whelming amount of information and very reflective of the people, their capacity and the elements shaping their perspective.

This is the "way of the world" or more accurately put mainstream perception in a capitalistic materialistic instant gratification driven society and if such a thing as collective karma exists I would say this is rightful fruit thereof.

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by Supramundane » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:12 am

to apprehend the Buddha's concept of self, the notion of conventional truth and ultimate truth is very helpful. please take a look at it. things will be much clearer.

in some ways, the human species is more of an 'individual' than one single human being in the grand scheme of things, if you know what i mean.

our life in this world is a mere heartbeat of time.

with this in mind, perhaps you should be thinking more of your successor than yourself?

the individual is simply an expediency and not an end in itself...

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Re: The Experience of Buddhism Sliding into Nihilism

Post by TrimePema » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:04 am

puravida wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:34 am
Thank you so much to all for the very thoughtful posts and insights. It's comforting to receive word from those further down the path, who have been walking it far longer. It's very supportive and I really appreciate it.
Hello dharma friend,

All I can say about your experience is in my experience this is normal - mistakenly labeling some type of awareness as pure when it isn't, exactly that. Recognizing when we have made this mistake is crucial - actually this is pretty much the path.
I make this mistake pretty much all the time. Also, I have to say it's wonderful you've even had this intuition of awareness itself. But you have to understand the difference between pure awareness which is wisdom and merely being aware of things, which is dullness and ignorance. This is like the difference between meditation and mind-made meditation or more specifically between knowing and not knowing you don't know or the even trickier not knowing you dont know when you think you know because youve decided knowing is something that it actually is not.

The best advice I can give you is: Please find a teacher you trust.
Why? Because they will help you recognize pure awareness and gain confidence in that.

Not too tight, not too loose.
Relax. Open
Vast openness.

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