1st May 2003, 05:56
a few years ago there was this very discussion topic, either in this forum or one of the others. at that time, i was not able to participate in that discussion.
i would be very greatful if that presvious disucssion can be "unarchived" if that's what happened to it, or we can start anew if that would be easier.
hmm... i suppose that some sort of specificity in regards to what i'm asking would be in order.
i'm very aware of the main points of the Theological argument however i'm specifically interested in your (that's rather vague, sorry) considered opinion on the 4 Noble Truths and the Noble Eight Fold Path.
The Four Noble Truths are:
1. Suffering exists.
2. Suffering has identifiable causes, namely desire to be and to have.
3. The causes of suffering may be terminated.
4. The way out of suffering is the Noble 8 Fold Path.
The Noble Eight Fold Path is:
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration
i'm happy to provide more information on any of these various topics if that will facilitate our discussion.
1st May 2003, 07:47
You want general comments? Well, I had a Buddhist (umm...I think he was a monk or some position similiar to that of priest) for a professor in college. He taught us some pretty cool things. We even did Samadhi at his house. It was a nice experience. He introduced us to various aspects of Buddhism which were very interesting. However, our conversations would end up on the existence of God. He was a philosophy professor (I think the class was philosophy of religion, I don't even remember). Anyway, by the end of the semester he became real open to the idea of God's existence. It was a very deep and telling time. I really liked the guy. I haven't heard from him in quite a while.
Well, all that to say that the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight Fold Path are incredibly deep observations of man regarding how we can achieve the riddence of suffering. However, one thing that always puzzled me is the self-control of desire. What I mean is how is it possible to cleanse oneself of all desire to the point that it not longer resides within you? To me that's like washing away part of your humanity? (please excuse my ignorance)
My professor told us a story, I forgot who it was maybe Buddha himself, that he left his family and everything and ended up sitting in front of a wall for 9 years overcoming his will to desire. That's quite astonishing! That's a feat I could probably never achieve. Maybe I have the story wrong, if I do please correct me. By the way are you Buddhist or Hindu? If you don't mind me asking of course.
Edited by - Ronnie on 05/01/2003 00:47:18
1st May 2003, 10:31
i must say, i'm enjoying our discourse thus far :) thank you :)
i'd like to ask a question and then proceed with my reply to your previous post.
i'm asking questions of the nature of God and so forth.. should i use the general verbage of Islam in terms of reference, i.e. Allah instead of God when asking questions?
ah! yes, you have mixed two stories.. though they are both foundational stories, as it were. i shall explain as best that i can.
before i proceed, i should say that my philosphical school is called Prasangika-Madhyamika, which is a technical way of saying that my views do not represent the entirety of the buddhist philosophical thought. the view that i put forth are done so to clarify my own understanding if anyone gains any benefit from them it is due to their own good karma.
the first reference you make of Buddha leaving home is correct.
He was born a prince in a medium sized kingdom in the modern India-Nepal border region. His father, the king, loved him so much that he desired to protect him from the realities of life, namely old age, sickness and death. to that end he kept the prince surrounded by beautiful women and men to care for his every need. one day as the prince was reclining he heard music the likes of which he'd never heard. it awakened something within and prompted him to want to visit the land that could produce such a beautiful music.
the king, fearing his son would see the old age, sickness and death of the people of the city, he ordered the guard to clear all of the people suffering in those conditions from the street so that a parade could be had for the prince. to make a long story short, the prince saw an old man, he dismounted from his elephant and followed him into a working neighborhood where he saw people that we're diseased, old, frail and finally, death itself. he realized that all beings will suffer in this same manner once in their lives before they die and he was overcome with compassion for their end.
he returned home to the castle that evening and related to his father what he'd awakened to, even he would get old, get sick and die. all of the beings that were alive now would die, old and sick... and he vowed to find out how to overcome old age, sickness and death. his father, upon hearing this vow, ordered the castle to be locked and his son prevented from leaving. he visited his wife's chambers for that very night she had give birth to his son. when he saw him, his heart broke in compassion for the suffering that was sure to come and he vowed to find a way out. early the next morning, a mysterious mist had decended over the courtyard, it was as if the entire world was asleep except for Guatama and the Elephants. the prince woke his attendant and he prepared their horse for travel.
he spent 5 years practicing with the ascetics, meditating all day, living in austerity, denying the body through harsh deprivation to liberate the mind. one day, as he was meditating, a voice drifted to him upon the wind from the river nearby.. "the strings of the lute must be just so.. if they are too tight, they will break and if they are too loose, they cannot play." at which point he realized that the path of asceticism was not capable of final liberation from suffering. he "awakened" to the Middle Way.
the other story that you are referring to "Sitting in front of a wall for 6 years" is the story of Bodhidharma, he is the one that brought Buddhism to china where it became known as Cha'an and then to japan where it's known as Zen. legend has it that, in order to sit in front of the wall without sleeping, he cut his eyelids off and where they fell, tea trees grew thus bringing tea to china.
yes.. the will to desire cannot be cut off, it's part and parcel with being a human and having life here. there is, in our view, another way however :) we posit human desires occur for a very specific reason and if that reason can be overcome, then no matter how many (pardon the analogy) "infected branches" there are, if the root of the tree is destroyed and removed the "infected branches" take care of themselves.
suffice it to say, the reasoning behind the philosophy can be rather lengthy and complex, and since this isn't really a forum to discuss Buddhism, per sey, i think that i should leave it as it is :)
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