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Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?

http://www.theonion.com/articles/failure-ive-learned-to-appreciate-little-things,38186/

The whole article is genius. I especially like this part:
"Take it from someone who’s never finished anything he’s started: It’s the journey that counts, not the destination."

Seriously, though. Do they have a point? Are we deluding ourselves?

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/18/15 8:57 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
The Zen folk have an earlier "take-down" of Buddhism: If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him.
(i.e., absolutely claiming buddhist "attainments/releases" ultimately is deluded; extinguish this grasping and its causes, too).

And the Thervadin raft sutta is often used to explain a Buddhist "take-down" as well: Use the raft (a model of learning/study in step-wise stages, e.g. paths) to get to the farther shore, then lose the raft; what remains (in a healthy trainee): the "shore" of understanding of how things are (conditions) and the compassion for all living-dying beings who may be affected/motivated adversely by conditions.

The Onion author is able to experience a moment of pleasant sensations, perhaps without adding mental unpleasantness (such as would be added by really thinking one is a failure). That ability could be called skillful, since living and dying and everything in between can be quite a chase/hunt between pleasantly and unpleasantly sensed conditions. If a pleasant moment arises in the midst of misery-- well, that's the Zen koan about strawberry cliffhangers, no?


Way back the Onion did an article called "I am the serenest", I think, about competive gurus of tranquility...

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/18/15 10:45 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/18/15 11:34 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
The Zen folk have an earlier "take-down" of Buddhism: If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him.
(i.e., absolutely claiming buddhist "attainments/releases" ultimately is deluded; extinguish this grasping and its causes, too).

And the Thervadin raft sutta is often used to explain a Buddhist "take-down" as well: Use the raft (a model of learning/study in step-wise stages, e.g. paths) to get to the farther shore, then lose the raft; what remains (in a healthy trainee): the "shore" of understanding of how things are (conditions) and the compassion for all living-dying beings who may be affected/motivated adversely by conditions.


The emptiness of Emptiness is a pretty good take-down too. It swallows its own tail in the end, just like the Consciousness prop in Direct Path advaita.

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/19/15 6:14 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:
The Zen folk have an earlier "take-down" of Buddhism: If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him.
(i.e., absolutely claiming buddhist "attainments/releases" ultimately is deluded; extinguish this grasping and its causes, too).

And the Thervadin raft sutta is often used to explain a Buddhist "take-down" as well: Use the raft (a model of learning/study in step-wise stages, e.g. paths) to get to the farther shore, then lose the raft; what remains (in a healthy trainee): the "shore" of understanding of how things are (conditions) and the compassion for all living-dying beings who may be affected/motivated adversely by conditions.

The Onion author is able to experience a moment of pleasant sensations, perhaps without adding mental unpleasantness (such as would be added by really thinking one is a failure). That ability could be called skillful, since living and dying and everything in between can be quite a chase/hunt between pleasantly and unpleasantly sensed conditions. If a pleasant moment arises in the midst of misery-- well, that's the Zen koan about strawberry cliffhangers, no?


Way back the Onion did an article called "I am the serenest", I think, about competive gurus of tranquility...
If you meet the buddha on the road kill him means that you should not put the "dharma" on a pedistal and worship it, creating a Buddha concept, enlightenment concept etc. Its the actual practice etc not creating, knowing or worshipping the teachings or making a concept of Buddha himself that gets you where you are going. So it is absolutly not a "take down" of Buddhism. Its points to the essence of Buddhist practice.  And the saying is a Chan koan not Zen.

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/31/15 11:28 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
"The emptiness of Emptiness is a pretty good take-down too."

Can you elaborate a bit more on this?

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/31/15 5:42 PM as a reply to wwyww.
wwyww:
"The emptiness of Emptiness is a pretty good take-down too."

Can you elaborate a bit more on this?


I like practice paths that eventually undercut their own foundations... and in the process they take everything else with them. E.g., in Direct Path advaita you gradually withdraw and disentangle your identification from every phenomenal thing, using the notion of pure witnessing consciousness. But in the end the whole Witness paradigm (Consciousness and arisings) itself collapses because it's inherently unstable. When you reach the end of that path there's nothing left of it as a path. And I see some kinds of Buddha dharma as similar. Emptiness undercuts fixed notions of self, world, identification and relationship... and then it undercuts itself, after having done its work. I see this as another instance of the stick that stirs the fire, or the raft that's abandoned when you reach the far shore.

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
3/31/15 6:33 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
It only applies to people who want to sidestep life, or rationalizes their failures. Otherwise no.

Besides historical Buddhism regarded being a monk as a full time profession, a livelihood that had to be earned by doing one's practice in order receive alms without debt. Otherwise you'd be a thief, it was also a very honorable profession in that society back then.

The Samannaphala Sutta recounts how the King Ajatasattu would honor and provide requisites for any of his former servants and underlings if they went forth into the homeless life, implying his great regard for people who went forth. We can also extrapolate that such virtuous and diligent beings were in fact great men and women, who were well regarded during that time and culture, as worthy.

But using Buddhism as a crutch or a rationalization, is not excusable, it amounts to being a dilettante. Don't be a dilettante.

Dilettante meaning someone who identifies as Buddhist or spiritual but does not perform the practice, instead said person just wears robes, meditates, drinks tea or whatever. You get what I mean.

RE: Is this the best take-down of Buddhism ever?
Answer
4/1/15 5:42 PM as a reply to Matt Lorean.
There’s beauty all around you if you stop to notice it. In the song of a bird, or the leaves of a tree, or the laughter of a child at the park who you can pretend is yours until the fantasy becomes too sad even for you. These are the things that can bring you joy every day, because attempting to look literally anywhere else in your life for pleasure would not only be entirely fruitless, but would indeed lead you to spiral into a paralyzing state of shame, depression, and bitterness at an existence that could only reasonably be deemed a total waste.
This is definitely the most venomous part, and I can relate to it, and because of that I really feel the need to address it. It is how I felt a lot of the time about 6 months ago, like a complete failure trying to pretend to enjoy life by telling myself that all my failures didn't matter.

However what if it is possible to actually not see those "failures" as important (at least not as important as enjoying the moment) and to actually be at peace, rather than just pretending? That is basically the path I am on now. Each time there is a feeling I acknowledge it, figure out what it is about, and question whether its object really matters compared to the vital importance of being at peace[1].

I would point out that the alternative is to see those failures as important and to live a life of chasing success. At least my method has a shot at real satisfaction, that is if i can get beyond just pretending.

I think that i want happiness, but I often can't imagine it being possible to have an enjoyment of life not based on feelings of pride, hope, and achievement. Letting go of those things seems like dooming myself, but whenever it actually happens for periods of time there is a priceless freedom, clarity, and peace that unquestionably outweigh success and accumulation.

[1] being at peace seems way more important when I consider that I am a mortal flesh and blood body only alive at this moment occurring now, whose accomplishments mean nothing in the face of inevitable oblivion