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How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?

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The Ten Precepts requires abstaining from things like (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/dasasila.html):

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ? It's destroying the human organism complexity into a creature that just eats and meditates.

It seems to me that the Buddha was aiming for the equivalent of wire-heading (https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Wireheading) but instead of connecting the brain to constant pleasure machine, he is advocating for annihilation of all desire until cessation (para-nirvana).

RE: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?
Answer
10/22/18 10:58 AM as a reply to yoni cohen.
Check out this interview with Thanissaro - he discusses some of this on page 3 and 4. http://www2.oberlin.edu/alummag/spring2004/feat_monk.html


RE: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?
Answer
10/22/18 12:10 PM as a reply to yoni cohen.
Gal Harth:
The Ten Precepts requires abstaining from things like (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/dasasila.html):

sexual activity, intoxicating drinks and drugs, dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics, lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place, accepting gold and silver (money).

If this is not life-denying, then what is ? It's destroying the human organism complexity into a creature that just eats and meditates.

It seems to me that the Buddha was aiming for the equivalent of wire-heading (https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Wireheading) but instead of connecting the brain to constant pleasure machine, he is advocating for annihilation of all desire until cessation (para-nirvana).

aloha gal,

   The activities you describe, such as accepting and using money, are in fact life-denying. Whereas, giving and receiving the dhamma is life-affirming. Back in the day, sadhus and shramanas were called "renunciates" because they were determined, as the buddha was, to seek the ultimate human happiness in a world of misery and destruction. Biological life by its nature is superabundant, and superabundance, dionysus like, leads to destructive behavior.

   I was at the kona walmart yesterday, and despite my 35 years in hawaii, I was deliberately overlooked by a local clerk so she could serve a later-arriving customer who was also a local. This annoyed me, despite my basic outlook that every human being is another servant of god, whatever they think or do. I decided that fewer trips to walmart were in my future.

   Consider sexual activity. Rabbits do not breed like us. When I was born there were about 2.5 billion people in the world - way too many, considering there were only a few hundred thousand elephants. Now there are 7.5 billion human beings, three times as many as in 1950. An absolutely unsustainable rate of increase. It is very likely we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of earth, we just haven't crashed yet. Global warming is already evident in hawaii and it wont be long before the icecaps have melted away and the sea inundates coastal cities.

   Suppose many millions of men and women became theravadan monks and nuns, faithful to the precepts. This would be the most peaceful way to reduce our "natural" superabundance.

   What it is about intoxication people are attracted to I don't understand. Toxic means poison. Ditto meat - it is simply bad for you and I find it unappetizing. The other activities are mainly frivolous for one seriously dedicated to the dhamma and aiming to be an exemplar for the happiness of all beings. (I listen to music much of the time, and often find it dhamma-affirming; but I am not a monk. It is not for everyone.)

   Our culture - particular this current generation - sees everyone around them obese, diseased and miserable and generally fails to draw the appropriate conclusions. This seems to me analagous to lemmings casting themselves off of a cliff on a broad front.

   Face the fact that the global human society has completely lost its way and is doomed to more or less imminent destruction without a sea change in consciousness. 

   Theoretically this is a buddhist forum. The dhamma has tough sledding here though. 


terry


When a great house is about to crumble,
a stick cannot keep it from falling.
Unable to sleep on a clear night,
I toss in bed, chanting this poem.

ryokan

RE: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?
Answer
10/22/18 1:08 PM as a reply to yoni cohen.
Also, I like C.S. Lewis's answer to your question:

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

RE: How being a Theravada buddhist monk is not nihilistic and life-denying?
Answer
10/22/18 3:23 PM as a reply to yoni cohen.
The moments in life where I've felt the most life-affirmation came not from any of the indulgences forbidden by mentioned precepts.

J C:
Also, I like C.S. Lewis's answer to your question:

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."


   "Life's a beach, and then you dive" as we say.

t