Rebirth PART ONE (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Friday, December 23, 2022, 15:58 (538 days ago) @ xeno6696

Well there ya go, at least in my book this DOES make Buddhism more of a religion than a philosophy, though I suppose it's up to the individual precisely where to take it.[/i]

Thanks for this. The flat tire seems to me like a symbol for all of the above, except that once you’ve fully understood the true nature of existence, whatever that may be (a process which seems to entail becoming oblivious to all the ”cravings” that make life such a pain and such a pleasure), you will live happily ever after until your body dies its final death. And then your non-soul – totally independent of the “conditioned existence” (i.e. life on Earth) – will be at “unruffled peace”. I can’t see where the “store consciousness” fits in, since that is full of all the miserable memories of your past lives and presumably all the nasty things you did before your sufferings ceased, and yet that seems to be the only thing that doesn’t die when the body dies. In fact, to be honest, I can’t see what state could be more unruffledly peaceful or more “fully unconditioned” than permanent death. You say the Buddha didn’t specify. I’m not surprised.


Matt: So in practice, what Buddhism is warning us against in regards to "cravings" are the issues involved with getting yourself wrapped up in them. Particularly, when we start to "identify" with them. Or in the case of addiction where the phenomenon is more black and white--where some sort of obsession develops. And I don't know where you get the idea that the goal is to be oblivious of cravings--when I turned towards (and not away from) alcohol cravings I wasn't supposed to "dismiss" them or "ignore them." I was to penetrate the events... to "roll with them" as it were. To understand them as transient phenomena; that they were "not self" and that they were a mental response. That they had a beginning, middle, and an end. To be "oblivious" would be more like "willful ignorance" and that's not something I think the Buddha taught at all. The fact is that most people "get caught up" in events and lack a layer of detachment or observation in what's going on. It's possible you've never had an unhealthy attachment to something and I'm talking Greek to you. But if you've ever had a moment where you've asked yourself "why am I doing this" and its a behavior you repeat frequently, the goal in Buddhism is to maintain that question for all things you do.

Probably, the best analogy for what it is--instead of "being oblivious" to cravings, is that you become a film critic for what's going on in your head. And some people *hate* film critics or engaging in that kind of thing--you might be one of them--but for me it actually enhances what's going on because I'm fully awake and aware of what's happening as its happening. A film critic that silences the critical commentary: Picture muting a Tennis match and just watching the match.

Now, the part of Buddhism that goes beyond being an internal film critic is the meditation. Meditation *necessarily* makes you less reactive. I absolutely don't get caught up in events like I used to--gone are violent swings of emotion. And other things slow down too. Acquisitiveness in general (both material and spiritual) decrease. Engaging in Metta meditation regularly built the space I needed to recognize my mom as a victim herself, though heaven help me for her unwavering tendency to try to damage.

So the decrease in cravings comes as a part of a regular and deepening meditation practice. And those practices include things like loving kindness and appreciative joy for others, compassion, and love for all beings great and small. To me, everything about the path is about dissolving the barriers we tend to erect between ourselves and other people. "Nibbana" to me, seems to represent a final dissolution where you more or less join into the greater body the universe. So it seems to me that in the literary sense, we melt the boundaries between ourselves and the rest of the universe and join it in an "ultimate" sense.

Honestly, it's the closest thing I've seen Buddhism have that orbits the same mystical cloud that St. John of the Cross or Theresa of Avila wrote about.

Recognizing your mom as a victim is a major step. The Buddhist approach to self-control is what I think happened to me from my parent's teachings.


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