My Experience with Buddhism Pt 1 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 15, 2022, 16:27 (525 days ago) @ xeno6696

M att: This is a full plate my friend! I think I've lived such an otherwise normal life I still feel a bit awkward that anything about it would be terribly inspiring, lol. I've long sensed camaraderie with your take on things. The other reason I quit orbiting this site is because I realized after a bit "why am I defending being sceptical?" Human nature seems to send folks down to fill in all gaps with explanations. Maybe some things just don't have explanations? I'd developed a sort of "If all you're doing is arguing about existence, aren't you missing out on something immediately around you within your existence?" The ending song of Life of Brian has always held a great deal of significance. >

dhw: I was devastated when my elder son was diagnosed with an incurable cancer(though he's responding well to treatment at the moment), and I don’t know how I'll be able to endure the consequences if he dies before me. But we both know that we must accept transience. He makes the most of every moment, and so do I. If Buddhism helps you to accept your past and enjoy your present, then great. But don’t listen to podcasts like Ajahn Brahmali’s!

I should bring up the loss of my son in 2006, at age 45. Still miss him and our shared love of baseball. Stopped following the Astros for eleven years but could finally return.> >

Matt: This is a full plate, friend, and I send you virtual hugs from Tucson. I recently had what I could best describe as a "vision" or "waking dream." I met my wife at a Deftones concert just 25yrs and a few days ago. In the vision I was in an attic with a sort of golden glow. I was flipping through one of my old CD books, and found the CD released a couple weeks before that concert. I felt a pang, because she was no longer in my life in this vision. I put the CD on, and as the first song spun up, I began to weep. Then the CD started skipping, because of course CDs don't last forever either. When I came to I was crying in real life.

There's a stoic practice that I believe in but haven't practiced lately, where you imagine losing your loved ones. The reason they did this was to account for the fact that we take those around us for granted... the stoics didn't want us doing that, so you try to imagine their loss to create these kinds of feelings. This enables a fresh kindness. I *do* kind of understand what you're going through. I send you hugs from tucson, dhw! >

It's funny that you say that last bit about Brahmali, that one is the only teaching that comes off as brash, I'm currently going through a workshop where he brings you to the life and times of the Buddha in the hope to gain what kind of truly different system he discovered compared to his contemporaries, the Jains, the Ajivakas, and then the orthodox Hinduism at the time. (Hinduism hadn't developed as a system yet, the caste system was evolving but hadn't been codified yet.) The idea here is to place the Buddha's words in the time and places where they brought rupture to traditional Indian life. I'm still offput by that interview I shared, but he's a great source of knowledge about this time period.

Xeno: I don't understand myself to be anything more than the confluence of consciousness and conditioning that was born 40 odd years ago, and if things go the way I figure they will, will eventually support daisies. I won't get to take any of those thoughts with me. So they're not *me*, in an ultimate sense.

They were you. But the current confluence of consciousness and conditioning may change, and so your “self” may change, but it will still be your "self". Gotama may also have changed before he became his wise and compassionate “self”.

I appreciate your conception of the self, I just don't share it! I've meditated enough at this point to have a strong grasp on my mind and I think I share the ancient Hindu desire to find the stable piece of footing: my thoughts are in *my* head but I don't identify with them as my "self." If you've ever had a vision of causing someone harm and you're like "no I'm not like that" that's how I am with everything now. My thoughts don't define me, my actions do that. Or to put another way, I don't experience my thoughts as part of my identity as a person. IF I defined myself by my thoughts, then I'd be a very crazy person indeed. My thoughts are typically a raging flood and I can go from exquisite kindness one moment to terrible cruelty in the blink of an eye. I can choose not to be defined by that great mass of contradictions, and that's just what I'll do! =-)

A great educational thought. I am the person I project to others and that is myself. But the raging stream of thought goes on in all of us. That is an internal 'self'.

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