What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

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Ervin
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What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by Ervin » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:02 am

I believe that for instance, the king Yama is a metaphor for your own mind judging you. The hungry ghost can be experienced in this life. Ie, if you are addicted to a drug, but you can't get that high, that you might have experienced once. Which people call " chasing a high", to me is like being a hungry ghost.

So, I was wandering, what the rest of you think on what's supposed to be taken literally, and what's not?

Thanks

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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:05 am

Ervin wrote:I believe that for instance, the king Yama is a metaphor for your own mind judging you. The hungry ghost can be experienced in this life. Ie, if you are addicted to a drug, but you can't get that high, that you might have experienced once. Which people call " chasing a high", to me is like being a hungry ghost.

So, I was wandering, what the rest of you think on what's supposed to be taken literally, and what's not?

Thanks

Such things are only "metaphors" in the modernist reading. Outside of those points of view they can both be directly experienced as phenomena, -and- have a allegorical purpose, those things are not mutually exclusive.

On the general question though, there is definitive and provisional meaning:

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... ve_meaning
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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:07 am

As Goethe famously quipped:
All that is transitory is but a metaphor.
Taking the attitude that the phenomenal world is sacred is the first and last practice of all. - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by muni » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:09 am

When it comes to the meaning,
You should know what is provisional and what is definitive,
And rely not on any provisional meaning,
But only on the meaning that is true definitively.


http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Four_reliances

The four reliances are making that clear. Also to rely on the provisional is to rely on conventional, by that excluding the ultimate. While the conventional can impossibly be excluded as being the ultimate. Therefore there is the teaching of the two truths, which are not two at all.
The so called ultimate is nature, and not something or some knowing far from home and “someone” is on the way to reach that. ( not sure how many shoes are used already to do so) At least this looks so by relying on the conventional or relying on the provisional.

The nasty metaphor the finger pointing to the moon is exactly saying what is said by that verse of the four reliances.
Last edited by Ayu on Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed quote.
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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by Ayu » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:00 am

dzogchungpa wrote:As Goethe famously quipped:
All that is transitory is but a metaphor.
Yes. I think, if one just observes his own life, this is perceivable, because there are things connected which are not supposed to have a relation.
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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:44 am

I was wondering, what the rest of you think on what's supposed to be taken literally, and what's not?
Deep question. First, recall that 'literalism' is often the kind of attitude that reads metaphors as being true in a way that was never intended. I think that is part and parcel of the situation of the modern world, as in some ways 'modern culture' is in a very confused and chaotic state. So one reaction to that is to grasp onto myths as kinds of guides or handrails that provide a sense of certainty in a chaotic world. You find that in biblical fundamentalism, for instance. But then, you should know that very ancient Christians - like, in the first century - ridiculed that kind of fundamentalism because it didn't understand metaphor as metaphor.

Another point is - if you're not a 'scientific materialist', then what is real? Nowadays many people - the proverbial man in the street - is guided by scientific materialism as to what is real and what isn't. Ask most folks 'What is the world made of?' and they will say 'atoms'. But this is not actually true any more, atoms themselves have quite an ambiguous or slippery character. So what is 'the fundamental ground of reality'? Actually, science doesn't know that, but many people assume it does. But in science itself, on the micro- and cosmic level, there are many crises around 'what is real'. There are many vast unknowns. So, bear that in mind.

The third point - consider the way in which the stories of devas, heavenly and hellish beings, and the like, are dealt with in the Pali texts. They're dealt with quite matter-of-factly, but there's not a lot of emphasis put on them. They are part of the worldview, but they're not given undue emphasis. Whereas, for the so-called 'modern world', it is simply assumed that all such things must be folklore or 'ancient superstition' or the like. Myself, I really don't think so, I do believe they have a basis in reality, but I also don't want to go to the other extreme and become unduly fascinated by such things. I think this attitude is called 'open-minded scepticism'.

I think understanding the 'six realms' as being in some sense both symbolic and real, is the correct attitude, or that is how I feel about it. I feel that the mythological domains of ghosts and higher realms and the like, are quite real, but at the same time, I don't particularly want to get fascinated by that. If we take refuge and practice correctly, the reality of the six realms of being will not become a cause of either fascination or aversion, and we have to adjust our understanding of the world accordingly. That is how I have come to view it.
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Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: What would you say is a metaphor, and what's not in Buddhist scriptures?

Post by byrneklay » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:47 am

There is nothing
to believe
or disbelieve

If you believe the Buddha
then there is nothing to disbelieve
unless
you disbelieve the Buddha

Our minds play tricks on us
They listen to the Dharma
and try to put it into a box
that does not exist.

Listen to the Dharma.
Accept or Reject.
That's it.

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