Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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tkp67
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tkp67 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:06 am

tobes wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:59 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:22 am
tobes wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:48 pm


I'm not really sure what you're saying here - is it something like: the Dharma can be reified?

Of course.

But: karma and dependent origination are not conceptual paradigms. They are the content of prajna.
Agreed but on the last point there is this to consider. This truth (contents of Prajna) exists. Our delusion keeps it from being revealed. From a point of personal perspective one person's cause in another person's obstacle. One person's skillful means is another person's lack.

If the mind automatically conformed to the teachings it was exposed to there would be no need for diversity in dharma. The essence of all of this is that practice is a developmental process which builds on own personal causes, conditions and capacities. In this way belief and non-belief in hell can both be used as a personal cause or obstacle depending on the person's own personal causes, conditions and capacities.

This diversity really reflects how boundless the conscious is since it all these conceptual paradigms are born of it. When we don't limit any resolve we are in essence abiding to that boundless capacity even though the resolutions of others may be disparate from those we need in our own path to achieve liberation.

Just because it plays out differently in our own personal existence doesn't invalidates deviations as they might be relative expressions.
Yes to the notion of relativity and upaya.

No to the notion that the Dharma is in the final analysis, subjective idealism.
Not doubting how the bolded was is implied but it wasn't meant to be. I would be curious to how my words inferred as much if you would be kind enough to explain.

:anjali:

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tobes
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tobes » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:12 am

Matt J wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:05 pm
So what do you (or other folks who believe in hell) suppose is a sufficient warrant to justify the belief in hell?

I had an interesting experience in college. I had a series of powerful dreams in which I found myself in hell. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. It was dark, unending, and contentless, with nothing but my own sheer terror. At the time, still in the throes of my Catholic/Christian upbringing, it seemed a confirmation of their teaching on hell.

Later on, when I became a little experienced with meditation, I discovered that what I had previously experienced as hell was in fact the sleeping state between two dreams. After some time with meditation, I now find this not to be an experience of hell, but an experience of peace. The fundamental experience was the same, but the meaning was not. Of course it is that way, because all appearances are empty and can be interpreted in many (perhaps an infinite) number of ways.

I am loathe to draw ontological conclusions from individual phenomenological bases, no matter how powerful or vivid those bases might be. In order to approach something that we may accept provisionally as "objective," we would need a wide consensus that does not depend on being born, raised, or indoctrinated into specific cultures. When you look at the available literature on NDEs and children with past life memories, there is not a sufficiently coherent patterns that points to the existence of hell.

Simon E. wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:48 pm
Yes, but still problematic.
If anyone follows my posts ( not something I would particular recommend ) they will know that I am not keen on folk religion and very opposed to cultural appropriation even when the culture being appropriated is that of a Buddhist country..
But I have no doubt that the hell/purgatorial realms exist and are literal. I have seen them briefly.
I think portraying them as rendered in Asian art is not helpful. I suspect that they take whatever form exists in our own subconscious states.
I don’t want to go into my own experience, but something EJ Gold wrote might be useful for moderns..
He said if you find yourself in car endlessly driving round and round and round a multi story car park and unable to find the exit you might want to ask yourself if in fact you have died...
There are a few epistemic issues to consider here.

The most primary one is why your cultural standpoint invalidates other cultural standpoints; you seem to be aiming for objectivity whilst in the same breath and without any real argument, dismissing different cultural standpoints as 'merely indoctrination'. How do you escape the charge of indoctrination (i.e. from your own culture)? What's doing the epistemic work in this move?

The other central one is how do those who 'believe' justify their belief? Well, I'm not a believer per se, but I am open to the notion of it on the epistemic grounds of so many other Buddhist insights: shabda pramana. A great many realised masters across a great many Buddhist traditions have asserted the existence of the 6 realms, including the Buddha. One can frame this in the negative: how good is the evidence that justifies refuting so many assertions by people who claimed direct yogic insight on the matter? What do we have that can genuinely overthrow or refute that?

If one has something, let's see it. Otherwise, some form of agnosticism seems not only prudent, but epistemologically pragmatic.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 am

I don’t think we can escape the indoctrination of our own culture.I suspect that no matter how long we immerse our selves in another culture at the moment of death it will be the Collective Unconscious of the culture in which we are reared that will emerge. If this is correct we had better be prepared for that.
But I have no ‘proof’ or citations to substantiate that other than what I know happens to western Buddhist practitioners in extreme but non fatal situations.
For example an experienced monk of my acquaintance..Three Year Retreat...more than 20 years a monk. Recognised as a Geshe..who when involved in a car crash, to his own dismay found himself praying to the God he had rejected at an early age.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tkp67 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:21 pm

I feel as if Shakyamuni's enlightenment solves the problems of belief in god(s) without invalidating the evolutionary purpose. IMHO life evolves conscious capacity and god realms are the evolutionary articulation of conscious before the buddha realm is realized.

Seems all primordial humans worshiped agency that would rightly be identified as a product of the mind. Not that this invalidates/validates outside agency as a true external entity. Rather use of agency is reflective of the capacity, conditions and causes of the peoples of a given age. When we look at agency, what it represents, the purpose it provides it often seems as if it is meant to elevate local populations based on relevant mores and values.

My interpretive of the Lotus Sutra is that Shakyamuni is explaining the nature of consciousness is such that these realms are simply features of consciousness including the buddha realm. In my mind's eye this seems to be the framework for which sapient life circumscribes, i.e. the realms.

I think they are best understood as conceptual plateaus of consciousnesses thus the use of the word peak (vulture, eagle, etc)

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Bristollad » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:45 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 am
I don’t think we can escape the indoctrination of our own culture.I suspect that no matter how long we immerse our selves in another culture at the moment of death it will be the Collective Unconscious of the culture in which we are reared that will emerge. If this is correct we had better be prepared for that.
But I have no ‘proof’ or citations to substantiate that other than what I know happens to western Buddhist practitioners in extreme but non fatal situations.
For example an experienced monk of my acquaintance..Three Year Retreat...more than 20 years a monk. Recognised as a Geshe..who when involved in a car crash, to his own dismay found himself praying to the God he had rejected at an early age.
While I think it's a good point, it ignores that not every member of a community has the same relationship to the culture of that community.

I never accepted God to then reject Him later - even though I was born into a family of Chapel folk and happily attended Sunday School for many years, the idea of God just always seemed daft to me. I even tried to explain this to a visiting Methodist minister when I was five years old - I likened the idea of God to the idea of Father Christmas, could be nice but just not true.

When I almost died in hospital a couple of years ago, it was to Shakyamuni Buddha my mind turned. When I crashed my motorbike twenty years ago, as I was skidding along the road with a lorry coming towards me, I was praying that the dog I'd run over would have good rebirth (luckily I hadn't killed him, just broken a few of his ribs, broken his jaw and torn his ear - he recovered fully).

So, you're right. Cultural conditioning is strong but it's not everything.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:25 pm

Bristollad wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:45 pm
While I think it's a good point, it ignores that not every member of a community has the same relationship to the culture of that community.

I never accepted God to then reject Him later - even though I was born into a family of Chapel folk and happily attended Sunday School for many years, the idea of God just always seemed daft to me. I even tried to explain this to a visiting Methodist minister when I was five years old - I likened the idea of God to the idea of Father Christmas, could be nice but just not true.

When I almost died in hospital a couple of years ago, it was to Shakyamuni Buddha my mind turned. When I crashed my motorbike twenty years ago, as I was skidding along the road with a lorry coming towards me, I was praying that the dog I'd run over would have good rebirth (luckily I hadn't killed him, just broken a few of his ribs, broken his jaw and torn his ear - he recovered fully).

So, you're right. Cultural conditioning is strong but it's not everything.
Yup, let us also not forget that even "The West" is not a cultural monolith. I was born and raised in a lower class "atheistic" household. We didn't have gods to fear, mum was feared enough by herself. I was under a general anaesthesia few years back and there are many stories of people waking up from it and saying something funny or praying to god... not my case according to nurses I just sweared like a sailor.
The point is. In the end even our cultural identity can be hijacked or simply changed.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

Simon E.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:38 pm

What I was suggesting was that the Collective Unconscious of the country of origin is likely to have an effect on post mortem imagery for many but not all..Of course that theory depends on the existence of the Collective Unconscious.. :smile:
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tobes » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:41 am

tkp67 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:06 am
tobes wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:59 pm
tkp67 wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:22 am


Agreed but on the last point there is this to consider. This truth (contents of Prajna) exists. Our delusion keeps it from being revealed. From a point of personal perspective one person's cause in another person's obstacle. One person's skillful means is another person's lack.

If the mind automatically conformed to the teachings it was exposed to there would be no need for diversity in dharma. The essence of all of this is that practice is a developmental process which builds on own personal causes, conditions and capacities. In this way belief and non-belief in hell can both be used as a personal cause or obstacle depending on the person's own personal causes, conditions and capacities.

This diversity really reflects how boundless the conscious is since it all these conceptual paradigms are born of it. When we don't limit any resolve we are in essence abiding to that boundless capacity even though the resolutions of others may be disparate from those we need in our own path to achieve liberation.

Just because it plays out differently in our own personal existence doesn't invalidates deviations as they might be relative expressions.
Yes to the notion of relativity and upaya.

No to the notion that the Dharma is in the final analysis, subjective idealism.
Not doubting how the bolded was is implied but it wasn't meant to be. I would be curious to how my words inferred as much if you would be kind enough to explain.

:anjali:
Well, it seems to imply that the relativity of Dharma is tantamount to or synonymous with whatever conceptual elaborations one has that seem liberating. And so it follows that relatively speaking, all conceptual elaborations which one thinks are Dharmic, are Dharmic.: what is true and liberating for me might not be for you and vice versa.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tobes » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:44 am

Bristollad wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:45 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 am
I don’t think we can escape the indoctrination of our own culture.I suspect that no matter how long we immerse our selves in another culture at the moment of death it will be the Collective Unconscious of the culture in which we are reared that will emerge. If this is correct we had better be prepared for that.
But I have no ‘proof’ or citations to substantiate that other than what I know happens to western Buddhist practitioners in extreme but non fatal situations.
For example an experienced monk of my acquaintance..Three Year Retreat...more than 20 years a monk. Recognised as a Geshe..who when involved in a car crash, to his own dismay found himself praying to the God he had rejected at an early age.
While I think it's a good point, it ignores that not every member of a community has the same relationship to the culture of that community.

I never accepted God to then reject Him later - even though I was born into a family of Chapel folk and happily attended Sunday School for many years, the idea of God just always seemed daft to me. I even tried to explain this to a visiting Methodist minister when I was five years old - I likened the idea of God to the idea of Father Christmas, could be nice but just not true.

When I almost died in hospital a couple of years ago, it was to Shakyamuni Buddha my mind turned. When I crashed my motorbike twenty years ago, as I was skidding along the road with a lorry coming towards me, I was praying that the dog I'd run over would have good rebirth (luckily I hadn't killed him, just broken a few of his ribs, broken his jaw and torn his ear - he recovered fully).

So, you're right. Cultural conditioning is strong but it's not everything.
That's bloody impressive. Bodhicitta is hard enough when there isn't much stress; that it arose for you at that point is seriously auspicious. I tip my hat to this! :anjali:

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Matt J » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:53 am

I think you're reading too much into what I've written here. Which is part of the point--- what we see is colored by our minds, our experiences, etc.

I don't think what I wrote is culturally dependent, and I also wrote "provisionally as objective," carefully choosing my words. Imagine new celestial object appears in the sky one day, say a larger, red moon. Now imagine only I can see it. We would probably agree that it is likely dependent solely on my mind; i.e. it is a hallucination. Now let's say that only people in my town can see it--- no one else in the world can see it. We would probably say that it comes from something having to do with the town. In other words, things arise from causes and conditions. If the causes and conditions are sufficiently widespread, such as the appearance of our regular white moon, we can agree that the moon has relative or conventional existence.

For me, Buddhism isn't about rejecting one set of fixed concepts (modern Western ones for instance) and taking on a new set of fixed concepts (say, Medieval Tibetan ones)--- it is about seeing the problems with conceptualization to begin with. People don't go and see hell, they have experiences of hell. But what do these experiences mean? Buddha and other masters also established the existence of Mount Sumeru as the center of the cosmos, atoms made up of elements, the earth is flat, etc. Of course, conventional views change according to the evidence, and no view can be considered final until all evidence has been uncovered.
tobes wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:12 am

There are a few epistemic issues to consider here.

[SNIP]
"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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tobes
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tobes » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:19 am

Matt J wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:53 am
I think you're reading too much into what I've written here. Which is part of the point--- what we see is colored by our minds, our experiences, etc.

I don't think what I wrote is culturally dependent, and I also wrote "provisionally as objective," carefully choosing my words. Imagine new celestial object appears in the sky one day, say a larger, red moon. Now imagine only I can see it. We would probably agree that it is likely dependent solely on my mind; i.e. it is a hallucination. Now let's say that only people in my town can see it--- no one else in the world can see it. We would probably say that it comes from something having to do with the town. In other words, things arise from causes and conditions. If the causes and conditions are sufficiently widespread, such as the appearance of our regular white moon, we can agree that the moon has relative or conventional existence.

For me, Buddhism isn't about rejecting one set of fixed concepts (modern Western ones for instance) and taking on a new set of fixed concepts (say, Medieval Tibetan ones)--- it is about seeing the problems with conceptualization to begin with. People don't go and see hell, they have experiences of hell. But what do these experiences mean? Buddha and other masters also established the existence of Mount Sumeru as the center of the cosmos, atoms made up of elements, the earth is flat, etc. Of course, conventional views change according to the evidence, and no view can be considered final until all evidence has been uncovered.
tobes wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:12 am

There are a few epistemic issues to consider here.

[SNIP]
Sure Matt J, I may well have been reading too much into what you have written.

I think everything we all write is culturally dependent - the mere fact of writing in English and not Japanese renders this impossible to avoid.

Leaving aside the charge of subjective idealism, I still think that you're in the business of reifying one side of the equation ("the fixed concepts of medieval Tibet") and not thinking seriously enough about the kinds of reification that maybe be going on here and now.

The point about the former is this: when the yogi from 14th C Tibet offers verbal testinomy about his/her realisation, that may be grounded in forms of insight that are precisely experiential and precisely not conceptual. But you deny this as mere cultural belief; conceptual not yogic. And I ask: on what basis can you really deny this? It is ultimately a dogmatic move of assuming something about the yogi - that they are offering fixed conceptual beliefs about something rather than direct experiential insights.

Now, if we go off and read texts left by such a yogi, then sure, we could develop all kinds of fixed conceptual beliefs about its content.

But this is true of every single Buddhist text and every single Buddhist insight. Going right back to the first discourse of the Buddha on the 4NT's - the point was never to take this as gospel and hold the belief of it, the point was to meditate on it until it becomes one's own experiential insight.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tkp67 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:26 am

tobes wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:41 am
tkp67 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:06 am
tobes wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:59 pm


Yes to the notion of relativity and upaya.

No to the notion that the Dharma is in the final analysis, subjective idealism.
Not doubting how the bolded was is implied but it wasn't meant to be. I would be curious to how my words inferred as much if you would be kind enough to explain.

:anjali:
Well, it seems to imply that the relativity of Dharma is tantamount to or synonymous with whatever conceptual elaborations one has that seem liberating. And so it follows that relatively speaking, all conceptual elaborations which one thinks are Dharmic, are Dharmic.: what is true and liberating for me might not be for you and vice versa.
I do think relativity is paramount. I don't get the leap that equates conceptual elaborations as being dharma opposed to them being either detrimental, neutral or beneficial in regards to a person's own personal liberation. To think the conscious just pumps out nothing but pure delusion and nothing else until cessation is what your notion seems to imply. The buddha taught dharma according to the conditions, causes and capacity of the audience. Assuming that these would be homogeneous doesn't seem reasonable as it does not reflect reality during the buddha's lifetime until now.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Ayu » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:39 am

My teacher says: when you focus on beneficial thoughts, speech, deeds, then you're occupied with good things and there's no room for deeds that lead you to hell.

If you read the ferocities of hell, you have to inform yourself about the benefits of merits as well. Only one thought of bodhicitta can burn away tons of bad karma.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Bristollad » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:22 am

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:38 pm
What I was suggesting was that the Collective Unconscious of the country of origin is likely to have an effect on post mortem imagery for many but not all..Of course that theory depends on the existence of the Collective Unconscious.. :smile:
I'm not sure the theory of a collective unconscious is correct, but that's not saying the phenomena it tries to explain isn't occuring. A bit like acupuncture - I believe sticking needles in people, in particular places can have therapeutic effects but the 5 element theory, meridians and so on, I'm not so sure of. However, it does allow for the diagnosis and treatiment of people so I think of it as either true (and my doubts are unfounded) or a useful fiction (like telling someone to breathe in through the soles of their feet - it's not actually possible but the instruction works).

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by futerko » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:32 am

Bristollad wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:45 pm

...the idea of Father Christmas, could be nice but just not true.
Whaaaaaaaaatttttt?!?! :o



I think that this highlights one of the big limitations of mind-body dualism - we say that Santa Claus is not real, only imaginary, but in fact he doesn't really fit into either category very well, especially when we consider that many people's lives are governed by pieces of paper with a picture of George Washington's face on them.

...and then we go to the Buddhist centre, they give us a piece of paper with a two dimensional picture of e.g. Vajrasattva and we go and do our sadhana and try to visualise Vajrasattva 'into reality' - of course, if we cannot understand what makes the paper with George Washington on 'real' while the paper with Santa is not real, even though more people globally recognise Santa than George Washington, then we are going to struggle to make our practice effective. I think it is impossible to really understand the doctrine of emptiness (or the hell realms) from within a view defined by mind-body dualism.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tobes » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:11 am

tkp67 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:26 am
tobes wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:41 am
tkp67 wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:06 am


Not doubting how the bolded was is implied but it wasn't meant to be. I would be curious to how my words inferred as much if you would be kind enough to explain.

:anjali:
Well, it seems to imply that the relativity of Dharma is tantamount to or synonymous with whatever conceptual elaborations one has that seem liberating. And so it follows that relatively speaking, all conceptual elaborations which one thinks are Dharmic, are Dharmic.: what is true and liberating for me might not be for you and vice versa.
I do think relativity is paramount. I don't get the leap that equates conceptual elaborations as being dharma opposed to them being either detrimental, neutral or beneficial in regards to a person's own personal liberation. To think the conscious just pumps out nothing but pure delusion and nothing else until cessation is what your notion seems to imply. The buddha taught dharma according to the conditions, causes and capacity of the audience. Assuming that these would be homogeneous doesn't seem reasonable as it does not reflect reality during the buddha's lifetime until now.
There are confusions here which I entirely take responsibility for.

I'm not even sure what we're talking about on this point, but I'm really just trying to say that upaya is not a free for all - conventional (conceptual) Dharmas still have to conform to the three marks of existence et al.

I'm certainly not denying upaya.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:27 am

truthb wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:03 pm
Hi all-

I have been tinkering with Buddhism for years, meaning taking little bits of pieces and now I am diving in deep and really imersing myself in the Mahayana tradition.

Looking at the Hell realms, and it seems incomphrehensible to me that someone could do enough bad things in one lifetime to warrant 1 billion years of torture.... and that is the shortest term in a hell realm, some are MUCH longer.

Any insights?
Sometimes it helps to go back to the OP.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by tkp67 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:55 pm

tobes wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:11 am
tkp67 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:26 am
tobes wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:41 am


Well, it seems to imply that the relativity of Dharma is tantamount to or synonymous with whatever conceptual elaborations one has that seem liberating. And so it follows that relatively speaking, all conceptual elaborations which one thinks are Dharmic, are Dharmic.: what is true and liberating for me might not be for you and vice versa.
I do think relativity is paramount. I don't get the leap that equates conceptual elaborations as being dharma opposed to them being either detrimental, neutral or beneficial in regards to a person's own personal liberation. To think the conscious just pumps out nothing but pure delusion and nothing else until cessation is what your notion seems to imply. The buddha taught dharma according to the conditions, causes and capacity of the audience. Assuming that these would be homogeneous doesn't seem reasonable as it does not reflect reality during the buddha's lifetime until now.
There are confusions here which I entirely take responsibility for.

I'm not even sure what we're talking about on this point, but I'm really just trying to say that upaya is not a free for all - conventional (conceptual) Dharmas still have to conform to the three marks of existence et al.

I'm certainly not denying upaya.
If the true nature of phenomenon are empty then when it is not empty it is being filled by a projection of the mind in accordance to the realm in which that mind accords. This makes conceptual elaborations potential causes but not specifically dharma. Not all dharma traditions require the same causes so this is not all inclusive. Traditions that do focus on realms and cause put greater priority on the recognition of such so understanding these elaborations does lead to recompilation of such. YMMV.

Personally I think some people have causes such as suffering which other people thankfully don't require to experience the same way to find liberation which is why it may be hard for some to appreciate the potency of such catalyst.

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:30 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 am
For example an experienced monk of my acquaintance..Three Year Retreat...more than 20 years a monk. Recognised as a Geshe..who when involved in a car crash, to his own dismay found himself praying to the God he had rejected at an early age.
I want to hear more of this story.

Was he a westerner?
Was he a Christian before he became a Buddhist?

If he prayed to the god and then survived, did he convert after, or what ?

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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:53 am

He was.
He had no overt connection to Christianity except for the usual rites of passage, celebration of Easter, Christmas etc.
His family were not church goers.
No he did not convert. He is still a monk. The point of the story was that while he was semi conscious for a few minutes it was the imagery of his childhood culture that rose into his mind. I think that is something which may happen more often than we think. When he told his teacher about this his teacher was not at all bothered by it. It said it was to be expected, he told my monk friend about another student who was sitting with his dying mother. The student was praying that Guru Rinpoche would ease his mother’s death, at that moment the student saw a bright flash and his mother died..above her head the student glimpsed the form of the Virgin Mary. “ Padmakara came in a form that the mother would trust” said the Lama.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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