good to learn or evaporate

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
Post Reply
User avatar
tomschwarz
Posts: 766
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:31 am

good to learn or evaporate

Post by tomschwarz » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:28 pm

hello buddhist friends,

it is said that being human is a great achievement because we can/could make progress particularly well on the path to enlightenment. so question: are we suppose to learn something now? it sure does seem like we should learn something (to be kind, accepting, 8-fold path, generous, disciplined, patient, caring, wise, learn about buddhism, etc...). but if our consciousness itself is at the root of the origination of fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, then should advanced buddhist move on to (personal) evaporation?

after some (path of) preparation and accumulation (of love, peace and kindness) don't we need to get on with loosing our concsiousness? ethics, meditation and wisdom practice (practice of buddhism) was a great training ground for selflessness. But when the rubber meets the road (e.g. we die) then all that consciousness is going to go the way of the dinosaurs, no?
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

User avatar
Wayfarer
Global Moderator
Posts: 4233
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: good to learn or evaporate

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:12 am

It seems to me you're stuck between what you see as the modern-scientific worldview, which only deals with physical reality, and your Buddhist aspirations, which point at something beyond that.

It's really worth meditating on this sutta, which is the Ananda Sutta, SN 44.10. This translation is by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Notice that the Buddha doesn't answer the question 'is there a self' at all; he maintains silence. When asked later by Ananda why he is silent, he gives the answer below - which is neither 'yes', nor 'no'. I would meditate on that.
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?'"
My interpretation is - when we die, we die. But our 'unfinished business', so to speak, will continue to give rise to forms which appear as 'me and mine' in some future existence. Those beings that appear, are neither the same as us, nor totally different - they all undergo the various sufferings of the phases of existence, just as we ourselves do here and now. So the path is to understand and liberate ourselves from what it is that 'drives the wheel of birth and death'. It is a very deep and profound matter but that is the nature of the Buddhist path.

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

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 1120
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: good to learn or evaporate

Post by Aryjna » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:52 am

tomschwarz wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:28 pm
hello buddhist friends,

it is said that being human is a great achievement because we can/could make progress particularly well on the path to enlightenment. so question: are we suppose to learn something now? it sure does seem like we should learn something (to be kind, accepting, 8-fold path, generous, disciplined, patient, caring, wise, learn about buddhism, etc...). but if our consciousness itself is at the root of the origination of fundamental ignorance, the cause of all suffering, then should advanced buddhist move on to (personal) evaporation?

after some (path of) preparation and accumulation (of love, peace and kindness) don't we need to get on with loosing our concsiousness? ethics, meditation and wisdom practice (practice of buddhism) was a great training ground for selflessness. But when the rubber meets the road (e.g. we die) then all that consciousness is going to go the way of the dinosaurs, no?
If there was nothing left at death then everything would be much simpler. No need to practice, you could just jump off a balcony and everything would be wonderful.

Post Reply

Return to “Dharma in Everyday Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 43 guests