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February 07, 2012


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Brian, I've seen these sort of interpretations many times before. The problem lies in the fact that there are occasional passages and quotes, especially in later Buddhism that seem support this perspective. Two and a half thousand years of Buddhism has inevitably given rise to many sects, teachings, cross-fertilizations, interpretations and reinterpretations.

So it's all a bit messy. But I would say that the teachings of Nagarjuna (approx 2nd CE) would be a fairly reliable place to begin an investigation. Most if not all Buddhists would agree that the writings of Nagarjuna were an attempt to reinstate the core Buddhist doctrines that may have become distorted over time (and at this point we're only 700 or so years in!) His philosophical writings are firmly rooted in the original teachings of the Buddha.

His teachings (and the teachings of the Buddha) rigorously deny the existence of fixed essences of any kind. The idea of a God or eternal soul in Buddhism is just a ludicrous non-argument (about as nonsensical as a teleological interpretation of evolution.)

As for nirvana, it's stated by Nagarjuna that nirvana is samsara rightly seen. It's not a transcendent place where the 'wise' get to hang out. He famously states “there is not the slightest distinction between samsara and nirvana. The limit of the one is the limit of the other.” The key here is that a deep seeing of no-self, of the reality of dependent arising, is samsara rightly seen. This is the 'unborn' nature of reality. There never was an independent you that was born and will die and transmigrate and suffer the endless rounds of rebirth etc. All there is is the flux of conditioned arising - or the turning of a great event. (Of course this is not to deny the conventional sense of persons and the forms that surround us.)

Now this conditioned arising or unborn nature of reality might possibly be interpreted as some kind of mysterious ultimate reality - but on this the Buddha was silent.

A magnificent summation, Jon. I always knew I was a Buddhist in drag!

Jon, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I was hoping you'd weigh in on this subject, given how much you know about Buddhism.

Yes, the Buddha apparently (he never wrote anything himself) was silent on several important subjects. What irks me, though, is the attempt by RSSB to fill that silence with unfounded assertions about what the Buddha supposedly REALLY meant to say, as if anyone knows.

I also think Jon did a good summation.

However, how do we know what the Buddha said or didn't say, taught or didn't teach? How do we know this character even existed as such...THE Buddha? Nepalese records indicate he may have been the last of six or seven patriarchs of the Nepalese "church" that was in revolt against the Brahmans whose teachings were brought to full fruition by Sakyamuni. Of course I don't know if this is true or not.

Many buddhists or buddhist scholars think they know, but it is most likely a tradition that they have been taught to believe, or believe to be authentic through opinion based on research that will always be questionable. In other words, whatever the consensus is, it is still just opinion.

The words of this supposed Buddha person were not put into writing until four centuries after his death and in a language different than his. Four hundred years. different language.

So, whatever words were recorded, they were not his. He is credited with so many different words by various scholars that if he had said them all he probably died of a throat hemorrhage.

And now RSSB purports to know what he said or intended.

Churchless! What dark fear drives this constant need to demonstrate the "wrongness" of so many others, old chum? In what way could divergence of opinions on such esoteric matters be relevant to vastly more pressing questions about how we should conduct ourselves on this earth?

I have a need for reality, for truth, for honesty. When I see people claiming that something is true, and it isn't, that bothers me. As noted before, and will be noted again, "I like..." is a lot different from "I know."

The author of this "Buddhism" book, and the publisher, claimed that certain statements about Buddhism are true. I provide evidence that they're not. I'm not arguing that what Buddhism says is absolutely, scientifically, evidentially proven -- just that what is said in the book about Buddhism, and what Buddhism says about itself, are quite different.

Have to ask... Why are you concerned about what I write on my blog? Why do you feel the need to criticize what I choose to write about? Check out the First Amendment. Free speech is a wonderful thing. Disagreeing about what is said is fine; disparaging the act of saying itself is something else.


There is only movement in this universe space-time movements called DHARMA

First centrifugal seeking more ego , next centripetal seeking less ego?
without much free will, . . alltough
you are free to like what you experience , relatively 'DO' or not like

At All times :

a Principle, . . the reason for an all times/spaces creation

and the vertical Community of the Saints is the embodiment of that
One per universe is Huge even !

Long live the centripetal Anahabad Shabd to bath in



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