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November 02, 2014

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As stated in the Shrimala Sutra, it is the third truth which is the most important. Actually Shrimala says that there is only this ONE truth - if conditions are gone, suffering perishes.

I said it elsewhere - the Palicanon and Mahayana/Zen Buddhism are two different religions. You may stick to a literal understanding of the Palicanon, but that is no real argument. Physical pain can NOT be overcome by the eightfold path, therefore either the Buddha is proven wrong or one should interpret his teaching differently: It is our mental misconception that we can work on, there is nothing we can do about ageing, sickness and death (besides medical research, pain management etc.). Even if we do not desire our body, it will hurt, and that can be seen on EEGs, in the amount of stress hormons and so on. Whatever the mind achieves, the body is still able to shut it down, e.g. through shock.

Besides, birth (included in the definition of the first truth) is not suffering for the born as he/she is not able to differentiate suffering from non-suffering at that time. The logic of putting birth in line with (later, conscious) ageing and sickness is flawed. Due to the scientific knowledge of Buddha's time, he simply could not know that. The "I" is not constructed at birth (or before), a baby is not even able to detect himself in a mirror.

It is actually easy to understand the full of Buddha's teaching in the Palicanon - but difficult for many to acknowledge the flaws and contradictions in it.

Gui Do:

The Buddha taught that the psycho-physical body is suffering (the first noble truth). He taught that desiring this psycho-physical body is the cause of suffering (the 2nd noble truth). He also taught that stopping (nirodha) our desire for it is the third noble truth. But most important of all, he found a way to yoke with the transcendent (the unconditioned). This is the fourth noble truth. You only understand half of Buddhism, the conditioned side. There is a whole other side to Buddhism. The unconditioned, transcendent side which culminates in pari-nirvana.

Even if this happens, the body will "win" over the mind, it will dictate its functioning, its limits, its end. Even if in a disconnected state from the body, inducing strong pain on that person would proof that his mind will respond to it, as it cannot exist without the body and is always dependening on it. If a part of this body, the brain, looses its function due to dementia, this mind is not even able to produce insight like here anymore. Believing that a disconnection of the mind from the body, a non-identifying with it, would end suffering, is wrong. The suffering that Buddha wanted to end was the suffering from wrong thoughts, from illusions about what we are. One of the illusions would be that we can eradicate pain by creating a dualism of body and mind. Thus the Buddha himself very profanely died from eating pork meat (or mushrooms). The simple material cause and effect brought him to an end, but it did not change what he thought about it. which simply means he refused to suffer mentally from it on top of his obvious and witnessed physical suffering.

Blow on the back of your hand. What do you feel? Do you feel something happening TO you? Do you feel something arising AS you?

Your descriptions seem to suggest dissociation, splitting off from the body and sensate experience. To become a man in a bag of skin.

The alternative is to become that bag of skin whilst at the same time being aware that there is this awareness like a flashing "power on" light that is also somehow not it.

Dissociation has a feeling of being trapped in a body, of dragging one around. Association has with it a lightness, a feeling that moving is natural, that the body is a symphony of sensations some of which we label as not fun.

Your writing can be very intellectual and analytical, cold, as if trapped in concepts and explanations. Adding more on top risks compounding the error.

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