Nibbana tangent parts 1 & 2 (Agnosticism)

by xeno6696 @, Sonoran Desert, Sunday, May 19, 2024, 16:24 (25 days ago) @ dhw

2) A monk’s experience doesn’t explain to me why I should rid myself of all the personal desires which are integral to my individuality and the fulfilment of which have given me the greatest joy in life. But I can understand totally that if my desires cause unhappiness for me or other people, then I need to make changes to myself.

I think 2 is the only spot where I can at least offer something. If you don't see the need for any given philosophy/religion/whatever, then I mean, you're done really. For me, it made a whole lot of sense that suffering is ultimately caused by a whole lot of unchecked ego. This is perhaps easier for me to understand growing up as an only child, I was already in a habit of asking myself 'am I being too selfish here?' That's not the only reason I engage with it, but it certainly allows for the Four Noble Truths to ring loudly. There's a lot of things about myself that have had to dissolve as a result of this process. I feel like you're asking me for some sort of reason that would justify you becoming Buddhist, and I really can't do that. Both out of respect of the teachings (Buddhism teaches non-proselytizing, monks are only allowed to teach when asked) and out of respect for your own subjectivity. It doesn't speak to you. I can't change that.

I can offer only this: that what you believe to be integral to your individuality, might not be as integral as you think. I'm fairly certain, the things important to you at 20 were different than now, and 20yrs from now, will still likely be different again. Still there, but lessened, replaced by some other stronger concern. Buddhism at root is a philosophy of change, and how to deal with it. It's not required, but the skills I've learned allow me a vantage point from which I can watch all of that while participating in it. More on that shortly.

It’s the latter that is clearly causing most of the difficulty, and you’ve tried to explain it here:

--
\"Why is it, Master, that ascetics fight with ascetics?\"

\"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics.\"


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