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The soul is a dirtbag

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The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/1/15 6:26 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Richard Zen 7/1/15 7:12 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/1/15 7:23 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Drew Miller 7/2/15 2:06 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/2/15 9:35 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/3/15 2:49 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/8/15 12:23 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/8/15 2:46 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/8/15 7:22 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/9/15 12:26 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/9/15 11:39 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag svmonk 7/9/15 12:32 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg 7/9/15 12:42 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/9/15 3:05 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/9/15 4:19 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/9/15 8:09 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/9/15 10:57 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/10/15 1:49 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/10/15 6:56 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/10/15 11:00 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag svmonk 7/10/15 3:02 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/11/15 11:50 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/10/15 11:52 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/11/15 11:49 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/11/15 12:50 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag svmonk 7/10/15 3:17 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/10/15 4:18 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag svmonk 7/11/15 2:59 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/11/15 4:47 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/12/15 9:55 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/12/15 1:05 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/12/15 9:57 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/12/15 2:21 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/9/15 2:45 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/9/15 2:26 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Psi 7/2/15 2:31 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/3/15 11:21 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Psi 7/3/15 12:14 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/3/15 3:04 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/4/15 11:59 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/4/15 2:26 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/5/15 10:17 AM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Eva Nie 7/5/15 12:41 PM
RE: The soul is a dirtbag Chris Marti 7/5/15 3:05 PM
The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/1/15 6:26 PM
Whatever people seem to call the "soul" just seems to be some sort of super-ego that travels through different human bodies, bringing their own shit and karma like passing a bucket of crap down some weird ancestral line. What the hell is the benefit of that to a current incarnation? Seems like just a bunch of homework left by dead people. How did this soul thing get such a good reputation?

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/1/15 7:12 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
I think it's problematic to be talking about a "soul" when people have different interpretations of what it is. The inner critic you are talking about is more like criticisms from authority figures in your early life taking shape in your brain and operating automatically. You should decondition it by letting it be and not feeding it further by aversion towards it. Most people have an inner critic. Even asking the inner critic "what do you want?" will bring out shallow interpretations that make the superego embarrassed and disappear. Doing a dialectical approach where different sides of yourself can allow an argument can free things up and maybe solve some problems.

Secondly the limbic system has warning systems that can override logic and take over. Use meditation to calm the alarm and feed it your deep goals so that all it wants is healthy self-development. The amygdala doesn't only remember negative situations in life. It can remember the positive ones and that is a good place to develop motivating imagery towards more goals. Times when you persevered and succeeded or where you showed brave resilience towards obstacles are good things to feed your brain and to try and repeat. Developing mental peace and creating environments for yourself where it pervades your life further can help guide those choices. 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/1/15 7:23 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
I agree, it's likely not just bad stuff that travels iwth you, although it may seem like that it if that is the direction of your focus.  I suspect one aspect of it is you keep getting the same thing over and over until you learn to deal with it and handle it properly.  Once you have dealt with it, IMO then you have a strength that you would not have had if you had never experienced it at all.  It's why many people have the urge to face challenges, because it strengthens you.  Otherwise, you stagnate.  Might be nice to relax for a while but for eons, would it still be nice to be exactly the same for eons with no new challenges?  Seems unlikely.   
-Eva 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/2/15 2:06 AM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Here is an interesting take on citta as "soul." Thought you might find it interesting. I did. 

https://youtu.be/tbqTXx7m9j4

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/2/15 9:35 AM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Richard Zen:
I think it's problematic to be talking about a "soul" when people have different interpretations of what it is. The inner critic you are talking about is more like criticisms from authority figures in your early life taking shape in your brain and operating automatically. You should decondition it by letting it be and not feeding it further by aversion towards it. Most people have an inner critic. Even asking the inner critic "what do you want?" will bring out shallow interpretations that make the superego embarrassed and disappear. Doing a dialectical approach where different sides of yourself can allow an argument can free things up and maybe solve some problems.

Secondly the limbic system has warning systems that can override logic and take over. Use meditation to calm the alarm and feed it your deep goals so that all it wants is healthy self-development. The amygdala doesn't only remember negative situations in life. It can remember the positive ones and that is a good place to develop motivating imagery towards more goals. Times when you persevered and succeeded or where you showed brave resilience towards obstacles are good things to feed your brain and to try and repeat. Developing mental peace and creating environments for yourself where it pervades your life further can help guide those choices.

I’m not talking about an ”inner critic”, that’s just thoughts, it has nothing to do with it. Neither am I talking about what Freud labelled the super ego, I am talking about the soul that apparently passes karma and crap along from body to body over time.

Developing mental peace for ”yourself” is just a postponement, and is more likely to prevent liberation than bring it, since it enforces the belief that there is a self that can find peace or attain something.

Eva M Nie:
I agree, it's likely not just bad stuff that travels iwth you, although it may seem like that it if that is the direction of your focus. I suspect one aspect of it is you keep getting the same thing over and over until you learn to deal with it and handle it properly. Once you have dealt with it, IMO then you have a strength that you would not have had if you had never experienced it at all. It's why many people have the urge to face challenges, because it strengthens you. Otherwise, you stagnate. Might be nice to relax for a while but for eons, would it still be nice to be exactly the same for eons with no new challenges? Seems unlikely.
-Eva


Well if you want to give it a positive spin you could say that it adds ”strength” since the illusory ”you” have to go through yet more pain, trauma, bullshit, fears etc. Now if we applied that logic to everything we would celebrate bullies, rapists and child molesters because they give us all these awesome traumas to go through so we can grow and expand. Which is kind of a valid point I guess.

Paweł K:
How did this soul thing get such a good reputation?

- wishful thinking that one is immortal
- wishful thinking that ones actions toward enlightenment carry to other lives
- wishful thinking that others will someday get punishment (usually much greater than their wrong doings)
- inability to see true nature of things

There also other issues. What good would do telling people there is no soul? People generally need some sort of law above them to keep them in check. Even if it is not making bad things of being done, it is at least force that work against them and not encourage them.

Second issue is that there are people called padaparama, quite a lot of them actually, and they cannot attain any level of enlightenment because they are just born that way. Now what would you tell them? "Oh, do not bother, just drop the whole thing because it is for people with crimson blood only". Would you do that? Would you tell them that all the awesome experiences are not for them and that it didn't even matter what they did because there is no soul? What good would that do? Buddhism and any other spiritual tradition would not survive because minority of people can actually get anywhere.

Buddha teachings are perfectly calculated for all possibilities and come from observation of large masses of people. Buddha kept to himself his original teachings after seeing how people react to it. He know that he need to trick people. Actually he did not so much tricked them, he did it in such a way that people tricked themeselves.

In some sense Christianity too. Most people are without slightest chance of divine union and believe in golden calf whereas Christian mystics believe in different God, they believe in Me (and in some sense also in you ~_^ ).

So to summarize, soul thing have good reputation because most people are literally closed minded and need stories that are on their mental level and those who are actual target for spiritual teachings can easily decode those teachings and attain what is encoded in them so they are kinda necessary compromise ^_^

BTW. I do not equate padaparama with faith followers. There are lots of atheists that are like that too. They treat science as religion and answer to question they didn't even bother ask in the first place. They only use it as a way to treat others like idiots whareas they are idiots themeselves, not any different than people they make fun of, just settled for different (better, closer to truth) answer but one can easily see that they believe in the same things and also skip glaring issues.


A-fucking-men brother.

Well, not sure about the idea that there are some that can’t wake up, that sounds like religious dogma, it’s just a habit of identifying with the me-thought and believing the ”me” to be real that needs to be seen through. Not that hard. Making it seem like a difficult thing is what is keeping religion and spirituality in business I guess.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/2/15 2:31 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:
Whatever people seem to call the "soul" just seems to be some sort of super-ego that travels through different human bodies, bringing their own shit and karma like passing a bucket of crap down some weird ancestral line. What the hell is the benefit of that to a current incarnation? Seems like just a bunch of homework left by dead people. How did this soul thing get such a good reputation?

I do not know what a soul is or could be, therefore, in my current experience, I do not believe there is such a thing as a soul.  I have never dseen  soul or talked to one or seen any scientific evidence of a soul.

But, I am very open minded and understand that I do not know everything, so, a soul could be.

And, I have has Out of Body Experiences, and memories or visions that seem most would call past life memories.
But, for me the OOBE is a sensation phenomenon of the mind, albeit a very good one, and one that may not be easily explained, and it may just be a case of not being out of the body , as a soul, but perception from other vantage points, like clairvoyance and clairaudience.

Past life memories, I have supposed , could yes, be a memory from the past, somehow carrying itself forward and through time as an energy pattern, then picked up by the mind and dispayed upon the screen of the mind, but , for me that does not prove personal ownership of such a memory. It is just a memory from a past life, not exactly a personal past life memory.

But, these are mainly experiential speculations, which from I speculate, that there is no soul.

Or maybe the soul, is just that which has still not been abandoned, the mind clinging to the soul formations, wishing for higher realms and all that.


Psi

P.S.  If the soul is unfinished homework, maybe we can use the ole, the god ate my homework excuse...  hehe, kind of a palindrome funny, uh, yeah, sorry

P.S.S.  And what if there is a God, and there is a Soul, and we surrender ourselves to go to heaven, and it was all a big trick, and God is actually a Soulivore, i.e. an eater of Souls, and the surrendering the Soul unto him just makes God's Soul Harvesting easier...  gobble gobble.  And, more necronomically efficient, i.e. Floods take too long to reproduce more Soul Food, and an actual Apocolypse would bring an end to any more Soul Harvest Crops.  Beside, the Apocolypse story is good and scary enough to turn many into Sheep Souls, Lambs for slaughter.

All speculation , for fun, of course , sorry if I am off topic.

Well, there is no I, just a topic, off course.... of course, not caused by me, per se, just old habitual formations...

Ah, jeez... emoticon

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/3/15 11:21 AM as a reply to Psi.
If everything is impermanent then how can their be a permanent thing called a soul? Maybe the soul is like the self -- just a construct.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/3/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
If everything is impermanent then how can their be a permanent thing called a soul? Maybe the soul is like the self -- just a construct.

Yep


Or maybe the soul, is just that which has still not been abandoned, the mind clinging to the soul formations, wishing for higher realms and all that.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/3/15 2:49 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:


Well if you want to give it a positive spin you could say that it adds ”strength” since the illusory ”you” have to go through yet more pain, trauma, bullshit, fears etc. Now if we applied that logic to everything we would celebrate bullies, rapists and child molesters because they give us all these awesome traumas to go through so we can grow and expand. Which is kind of a valid point I guess.

You think it's just spin?  Think of people you know who grew up coddled with an easy life and got almost everything they wanted in childhood.  Now think of those who had it tough, they grow up with different personalities.  In all the families I've known where one child was heavily favored, that child grew up lazy and spineless.  Whereas the ones who had it tough were either extremely damaged or overcame it and were very strong. 

Also it's your narrative that we would have to 'celebrate' bullies.  That's your spin.  I would just say that trials in life lead to learning and so do good things.  I respect the life that took me to now, both good things and bad things.
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/3/15 3:04 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
If everything is impermanent then how can their be a permanent thing called a soul? Maybe the soul is like the self -- just a construct.
It would not be permanently the SAME obviously.  Just like a child is not permanent.  The child changes and grows to something else, the cells in the body die and new ones are different than the old ones.  Later when the body dies, the materials are recycled into different materials, dirt, insects, etc.  Is your childhood self dead?  Did it disappear?  Will consciousness do something like that, grow, change, dissolve, reconstitute into something else or be reabsorbed?  Will it take eons but yet from another perspective time does not exist?  Is the current form for sure bad or inferior in some way?  Is a kitten inferior to an adult cat?  Is the seed inferior to the tree?  Seems like some people are very sure of their answers, which I think is interesting considering the evidence we are going on seems rather weak and even the enlightened ones don't seem to have any clear concensus on the fine and subtle details.  Once you think you already have all the answers, it makes it very hard if not impossible to learn anything. 
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/4/15 11:59 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva --
Seems like some people are very sure of their answers, which I think is interesting considering the evidence we are going on seems rather weak and even the enlightened ones don't seem to have any clear concensus on the fine and subtle details.  Once you think you already have all the answers, it makes it very hard if not impossible to learn anything. 

Hi, Eva.

I'm not sure I understand your comment. You quoted my question about the idea of a permanent soul possibly being a construct and then asked a whole bunch of questions and then posted the statememts I quoted above. I agree entirely that answers to questions about things like the "soul", whatever that is, are very nebulous and depend almost entirely on beliefs but I'm not sure if that's what you meant to say. Can you please explain your meaning in more detail?


RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/4/15 2:26 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Eva --
Seems like some people are very sure of their answers, which I think is interesting considering the evidence we are going on seems rather weak and even the enlightened ones don't seem to have any clear concensus on the fine and subtle details.  Once you think you already have all the answers, it makes it very hard if not impossible to learn anything. 

Hi, Eva.

I'm not sure I understand your comment. You quoted my question about the idea of a permanent soul possibly being a construct and then asked a whole bunch of questions and then posted the statememts I quoted above. I agree entirely that answers to questions about things like the "soul", whatever that is, are very nebulous and depend almost entirely on beliefs but I'm not sure if that's what you meant to say. Can you please explain your meaning in more detail?
First part was just a comment on your quoted statement trying to make a point about nebulousness of the concept of 'permanent.'  Questions were a way of showing lack of definition of 'permanent.'  It is buddhist dogma that things are not permanent but how is that word defined?  Obviously things change with time.  If something changes, is it permanent or is change enough to demonstrate it is not permanent, but yet it still exists too?  I don't see an obvious answer myself so it wasn't a test of knowledge or anything, just wondering how people define it and deal with those concepts.  The devil is in the details. 

Second part about people being sure of their answers was just a general comment on no one in particular and not you, sorry if it came off that way, I was changing subjects without warning.  This will probably come off as sounding really harsh and whiny, but it's more of an observation that I can't think of a nicer way to say.  Just the way some people write, it can easily be interpreted as 'this is how it is exactly on authority of me being more advanced than you' as if they have really good evidence for their exact views and interpretations in every detail and it's all so very obvious and the only successful way to go, as if there wasn't 100s of different texts and quotes from reputable sources that could potentially conflict as well as others that could potentially corroborate.  I find I learn much more when I can explore different perspectives instead of being super attached to just one.  I think it's natural to have special respect for the things that worked well for oneself but seems like some people think their view and way that worked for them are the only valid options for success or truth.  Perhaps it's just human nature to want to have a clear answer for things instead of living with all that vast area of ambiguity and not knowing for sure. 
-Eva 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/5/15 10:17 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Okay, Eva.

In my original comment I was posing a hypothesis and simply posing the idea that a belief in a permanent soul might be in contradiction to the idea of impermanence. Of course it depends on what kind of "soul" one believes in, or postulates. 

Thanks for your elaboration!

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/5/15 12:41 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Okay, Eva.

In my original comment I was posing a hypothesis and simply posing the idea that a belief in a permanent soul might be in contradiction to the idea of impermanence. Of course it depends on what kind of "soul" one believes in, or postulates. 

Thanks for your elaboration!
My point was believing in a reincarnating soul  would not be in contradiction if the definition of permanent is 'unchanging.'  Does anyone actually believe that the soul existing eons (assuming that it does) not change at all?  If it changes, is it permanent or impermanent?  Does my 5 year old self still exist?  Well not really, the cells in by body have entirely changed over many times since then and my mind, thoughts, feelings, are quite different.  You could say vestiges of  my 5 year old self remain but that's about it.  So was my 5 year old self permanent?  I'd say not, but yet in another way the biological chemicals are still out there and I am not gone.  As for the thoughts and feelings of that time, one might think some of it still exists as memory but other than that, I can't say for sure. 

An argument is sometimes made that reincarnation is not possible because that means the soul (or something) is permanent.  but I disagree.  First of all, just because something exists for a long time does not make it permanent.  The soul could exist for 5000 lifetimes and then disappear or whatever and that would still mean it is impermanent.  But also what if it changes to something very very different than it was, recombines with 'all that is' or whatever, it is not gone yet it is not what it was before?  Is that impermanent or permanent?  If people are going to use the requirement that something be impermanent as an argument, well then what is their definiton of impermanent?  I find it rather strange that this term 'impermanent' is bandied about as basic Buddhism, but there seems to be a lack of thought and clarification on definition.  I would have thought the definition would have been hammered out and clearly delineated long ago.  If everything is supposed to be impermanent, what exactly is the definition? 
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/5/15 3:05 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva, the most common, and probably the most apt, definition of impermanence I've ever heard is that impermanence is change. Nothing stays stays the same forever.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/8/15 12:23 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:


Well if you want to give it a positive spin you could say that it adds ”strength” since the illusory ”you” have to go through yet more pain, trauma, bullshit, fears etc. Now if we applied that logic to everything we would celebrate bullies, rapists and child molesters because they give us all these awesome traumas to go through so we can grow and expand. Which is kind of a valid point I guess.

You think it's just spin?  Think of people you know who grew up coddled with an easy life and got almost everything they wanted in childhood.  Now think of those who had it tough, they grow up with different personalities.  In all the families I've known where one child was heavily favored, that child grew up lazy and spineless.  Whereas the ones who had it tough were either extremely damaged or overcame it and were very strong. 

Also it's your narrative that we would have to 'celebrate' bullies.  That's your spin.  I would just say that trials in life lead to learning and so do good things.  I respect the life that took me to now, both good things and bad things.
-Eva

Another word for spin would be "perspective" and from one perspective the more adversity the better. This body/mind system has had a pretty hard life with poverty, loss, trauma, homelessness etc which you could argue has given it a bunch of valuebale experiences. Valuebale for who though since there is no "me"? In the end it's just a bunch of silly sensations that the mind makes up a story about. I don't "believe" in persons, it's just bodies doing their thing, with an insane mind attached to it trying to claim ownership and pretend that it is doing it.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/8/15 2:46 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:

Another word for spin would be "perspective" and from one perspective the more adversity the better. This body/mind system has had a pretty hard life with poverty, loss, trauma, homelessness etc which you could argue has given it a bunch of valuebale experiences. Valuebale for who though since there is no "me"? In the end it's just a bunch of silly sensations that the mind makes up a story about. I don't "believe" in persons, it's just bodies doing their thing, with an insane mind attached to it trying to claim ownership and pretend that it is doing it.
Reminds me of when in hypnosis using highly suggestable (ie easy to hypnotise) people, you could hypnotise someone and tell their subconscious (whatever that is), that there is a giant chasm in the middle of the room and therefore you must not walk in the middle of the room because  you will fall in.  Then the hypnotised subject is instructed to not consicously remember what was said and then is wakened.  If after that, the subject walks around the room, you will notice he/she always walk around the edges of the room, never the center, even if this is a longer route.  But the most interesting part to me is that if you ask that person why he/she went the long way, he/she will not say it's becuase of a big chasm.  The subconscious was told that but the conscious mind has no apparent knowledge or recollection of it so apparently just comes up with a plausible explanation, like 'I need the exercise,' or 'one of my legs is shorter causing me to not walk straight.'  A lot of the explanations are quite silly probably becuase it's hard to come up with a decent explanation for doing strange things.  Yet even in regular life, we often see people doing illogical things and giving illogical justifications for them. 

Anyway, the whole conscious mind is quite bizarre sometimes.  Could our entire conscious mind be nothing but an excuse making epiphenomenon that thinks it's in charge but is only riding along with zero control?  If so, then what is it riding on and what is the point of trying ot do anything via conscious mind like meditation, moral behavior etc?  Why bother deciding to sit on the pillow?  If some other influence determines actions or perceptions, what is the other influence/influences?  If conscious mind is just along for the ride, does it have any usefulness or reason for being or was it just an accident or byproduct like dog poop out of a dog?  If the dog poop has conscious awareness and mistakenly thinks it's running the show, then where/whyfore did the conscious awareness develop in the first place?  Seems like there are some holes in the explanation so far.  ;-P  Not that it makes the explanation wrong but none of the stories about existence as yet seem complete or anywhere near so from my perspective. Even illusions, projections, and dreams, have some kind of origins, one tends to assume..       
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/8/15 7:22 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:

Anyway, the whole conscious mind is quite bizarre sometimes. Could our entire conscious mind be nothing but an excuse making epiphenomenon that thinks it's in charge but is only riding along with zero control?

That’s actually exactly as it seems to work. Very good description.


Eva M Nie:

If so, then what is it riding on and what is the point of trying ot do anything via conscious mind like meditation, moral behavior etc? Why bother deciding to sit on the pillow?

That’s a silly question since the conscious mind is not doing any of the decisions. If it can’t decide to sit on the pillow, neither can it decide to not sit on the pillow.

Eva M Nie:

If some other influence determines actions or perceptions, what is the other influence/influences?

I like to call it the universe or God.

Eva M Nie:

If conscious mind is just along for the ride, does it have any usefulness or reason for being or was it just an accident or byproduct like dog poop out of a dog? If the dog poop has conscious awareness and mistakenly thinks it's running the show, then where/whyfore did the conscious awareness develop in the first place? Seems like there are some holes in the explanation so far. ;-P Not that it makes the explanation wrong but none of the stories about existence as yet seem complete or anywhere near so from my perspective. Even illusions, projections, and dreams, have some kind of origins, one tends to assume..

Maybe the whole point of the conscious mind (or ego mind) is to provide the setup for the magnificent joke of awakening.

Why did it develop? As a hunting tool. The ability to look at the past and project a future from it was a great benefit for the body when hunting. If a deer is running along and you throw your spear at where it is, you will miss. But if you can calculate from where has been and figure out where it is going to be, you may hit it. And you’ve now discovered a time machine! Unfortunately this time machine that doubles as a calculator went insane and thought it was running the show, which created a whole lot of fuss and funny nonsense. That’s one explanation.

Getting an explanation for the question why does not however influence reality even a little bit. The sun shines whether we know why or not, the rain falls whether we think it is because of the god of thunder or because of meteorological reasons. Your ”conscious mind” is not running the show, and this can be easily verified by Direct Pointing. Of course this is not something the ego mind *likes* or thinks makes any sense, but who gives a fuck? It's just the retarded mind, the least intelligent piece of the body.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/9/15 12:26 AM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:


Eva M Nie:

If so, then what is it riding on and what is the point of trying ot do anything via conscious mind like meditation, moral behavior etc? Why bother deciding to sit on the pillow?

That’s a silly question since the conscious mind is not doing any of the decisions. If it can’t decide to sit on the pillow, neither can it decide to not sit on the pillow.
Ok, touche!  Actually makes sense in that the thoughts show up but we can't see where they come from. 
Eva M Nie:

If some other influence determines actions or perceptions, what is the other influence/influences?

I like to call it the universe or God.
Maybe we only need to see where thoughts come from to figure it out.  ;-P  Anyway, story seems very very full of holes if we can't see beyond that limit. 
Eva M Nie:

If conscious mind is just along for the ride, does it have any usefulness or reason for being or was it just an accident or byproduct like dog poop out of a dog? If the dog poop has conscious awareness and mistakenly thinks it's running the show, then where/whyfore did the conscious awareness develop in the first place? Seems like there are some holes in the explanation so far. ;-P Not that it makes the explanation wrong but none of the stories about existence as yet seem complete or anywhere near so from my perspective. Even illusions, projections, and dreams, have some kind of origins, one tends to assume..

Maybe the whole point of the conscious mind (or ego mind) is to provide the setup for the magnificent joke of awakening.
Why live on for decades afterward then?  Anyway, I didn't think the joke was THAT funny to be worth all that!
Why did it develop? As a hunting tool. The ability to look at the past and project a future from it was a great benefit for the body when hunting. If a deer is running along and you throw your spear at where it is, you will miss.
That doesn't explain why consciousness developed unless you think that the whatever that is behind consciousness can't do those things.  But it would HAVE to be able to do those is the conscious mind is actually not in control at all.  If the conscious mind has some special ability, then it would be calling some of the shots on its own.  If it's all coming from elsewhere then the elsewhere must have all the same capabilities. 

Getting an explanation for the question why does not however influence reality even a little bit.
Nope but I see no reason to stop inquiring and looking deeper and deeper.  Why just figure out a tad of it, laugh, and then stop looking?   Or I gues you'd say that the thing behind the conscious me thinks I should keep looking.  The conscious me will be going along with the program then!  ;-P 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 11:39 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Yeah the "Where do thoughts come from?" question has been bugging my mind for a while, and the explanation(s) that have arrived are so weird that I don't expect anybody to take them seriously... but here we go:

Thoughts are either beamed into the minds, or the minds pick them up from a sort of mental field, kind of like radio waves. It *seems* as if the more energetic blocks or contractions you have in the upper chakras, the more thoughts you pick up. At least that is my experience, as the blocks clears from ”upstairs” less thoughts show up. These contractions or blocks seem to be psychological stuff that is stuck in the system, the two main culprits being the question ”Why?” and ”Who?” that are both unanswerable (the answer to ”Why” is impossible, the ”Who” assumes something that does not exist). Basically I think the source of thoughts is either aliens from a parallel dimension having fun with us, or Satan. There. I said it.

Another important (somewhat) question is ”Do thoughts actually have any impact or influence?”. Basically, can a thought ”do” something. I’m not sure. Other than obscure reality, that is.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 12:32 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Hi Mattias,

Basically thoughts come out of emptiness and the content is shaped by your sanskaras (roughly translated as "drives"). If you can get to access concentration and apply sufficient mindfulness to separate out the rising, duration and cessation of thoughts, you'll see thought bubbles form and bubble up into consciousness. Since the drive to define yourself in relation to other things (including people) is about the strongest you've got, typically that's what the thought bubble will be about when it bursts into consciousness. If you apply stronger mindfulness before they fully bubble up, you can watch them settle back again. Doesn't work if you're in full jhana though.

About the rest: space aliens, Satan, etc., dunno. Hasn't been my experience at any rate.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 12:42 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Mattias,

Basically thoughts come out of emptiness and the content is shaped by your sanskaras (roughly translated as "drives"). If you can get to access concentration and apply sufficient mindfulness to separate out the rising, duration and cessation of thoughts, you'll see thought bubbles form and bubble up into consciousness. Since the drive to define yourself in relation to other things (including people) is about the strongest you've got, typically that's what the thought bubble will be about when it bursts into consciousness. If you apply stronger mindfulness before they fully bubble up, you can watch them settle back again. Doesn't work if you're in full jhana though.

About the rest: space aliens, Satan, etc., dunno. Hasn't been my experience at any rate.
Well on one level I assume that *everything* comes out of emptiness, but that answer does not satisfy this mind. There seems to be an intelligence to thoughts, since they are not actually "random" but keep trying to tell stories, pretend to interact with the environment, distract from what is going on etc. That seems to be the act of an intelligence, not just emptiness+sanskaras.

As an experiment, what answer do you get if you ask "Where are you thoughts coming from?" inwards and then stay silent. Once you get an answer, ask "Is that 100% true?" and see what you get. Would be interesting to compare notes.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 2:26 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:
Yeah the "Where do thoughts come from?" question has been bugging my mind for a while, and the explanation(s) that have arrived are so weird that I don't expect anybody to take them seriously... but here we go:
I suspect that a lot of the stuff out there beyond normal Earth awake consciousness may involve concepts and idea that are just so alien to us, so beyond what we can understand at this level that they have to be very very much interpreted by what we do know and then sound stupid.  Imagine the first time a scientist tried to tell people that your cough was caused by little bitty invisible monsters hiding inside you.  Everyone thought it was super stupid because we did not yet understand the concept of germs.  Now imagine us earth consciousnesses trying to process a concept 100 times more foreign to us than germs.  It may not translate all that acurately. 
Another important (somewhat) question is ”Do thoughts actually have any impact or influence?”. Basically, can a thought ”do” something. I’m not sure. Other than obscure reality, that is.
Well one could suspect it's all just random accidental stuff, the self as a side effect that comes out of other side effects of other side effects, all random, no purpose, totally empty in that way.  Consciousness is all illusion inside the Earth illusion, an illusion that somehow fools itself into thinking it is not an illusion, not sure how that would be possible but I'm not sure how anything is possible really.  Interesting concept that's sort of like that all existence is just an illusion  but I haven't seen enough evidence to assume that it's 100% hard core true though all the way through.  Could be a more simple thing is that all we can comprehend around us is illusion, but might be a stretch to try to extrapolite beyond what we can comprehend and assume we know about the rest of it past that is the same.

So it goes back to, do the self have any purpose or use?  Does it contribute anything to the game? Or is it totally random and useless? 
-Eva

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7/9/15 2:45 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Mattias,

Basically thoughts come out of emptiness and the content is shaped by your sanskaras (roughly translated as "drives"). If you can get to access concentration and apply sufficient mindfulness to separate out the rising, duration and cessation of thoughts, you'll see thought bubbles form and bubble up into consciousness.
I see it a tad differently, kinda like eddies in a more calm area.  They stir a tad and some just subside and some form into regular thoughts that can be better identified.  But in the spirit of working with what I can personally experience, what I do not know is what is beyond that bit I can see.  How are the eddies formed?  The bit I can see is the eddies stiring and forming into thoughts.  What is behind the eddies?  You can say it's emptiness or giant aliens from mars, but I can't see there personally and I am not big on assuming things.  The conscious mind tends to be egocentric, maybe it just assumes when it can't detect something, then nothing is there, but that does not mean nothing is there, only that nothing has thus far been detected there.   
Since the drive to define yourself in relation to other things (including people) is about the strongest you've got, typically that's what the thought bubble will be about when it bursts into consciousness.
Hmm, kind of an interesting subtle way of saying it.  Are you implying that the bubbles are more undefined in content in early creation and then later develop according to personality as they 'bloom.'?

If you apply stronger mindfulness before they fully bubble up, you can watch them settle back again. Doesn't work if you're in full jhana though.
Yeah but the question is what parameters are behind the development of the bubble in the first place?
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 3:05 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg:

Well on one level I assume that *everything* comes out of emptiness, but that answer does not satisfy this mind. There seems to be an intelligence to thoughts, since they are not actually "random" but keep trying to tell stories, pretend to interact with the environment, distract from what is going on etc. That seems to be the act of an intelligence, not just emptiness+sanskaras.
Yeah, we are born here, develop, and die, why bother with all that?  There is this whole giant game we play all our lives which does not seem random.  Seems like the Earth game at least in a large part creates the sanskaras, then why does the Earth game get created, it doesnt' seem just random chaos.  Why is there illusion and a consciousness that sees the illusion?  How does emptiness have differnent kinds of emptiness, how does the illusion get created if it's all just random?  If we don't exist at all, why do we think we exist?  Why is there consciousness in something that is said not to exist?   
As an experiment, what answer do you get if you ask "Where are you thoughts coming from?" inwards and then stay silent. Once you get an answer, ask "Is that 100% true?" and see what you get. Would be interesting to compare notes.
I have tried, have not gotten any answer thus far, just kind of a weird feeling sometimes, kind of a roiling around feeling in the mind and feeling of irony. 
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 4:19 PM as a reply to Mattias Wilhelm Stenberg.
Um.... thoughts are objects, like anything else. So they are always dependently co-arising, like everything else. At least that has been my experience. And I agree that you can, if you are still enough, see them arise, what causes them, and how they disappear or lead to more thoughts.

My experience is also that thoughts, like everything else, are empty, so they do not arise from emptiness, although it can seem as though they do. They are empty, like everything else.


emoticon

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/9/15 8:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:

And I agree that you can, if you are still enough, see them arise, what causes them, and how they disappear or lead to more thoughts.
Ok then what causes them to arise? 
My experience is also that thoughts, like everything else, are empty, so they do not arise from emptiness, although it can seem as though they do. They are empty, like everything else.
People here often use the word 'empty' but do not explain their definition.  I looked online and definitions seem to vary.  According to this definition http://www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f6.htm explanation, everything apparently comes from the 'great void,' they said according to Buddha that 'empty' means empty of 'self existence.': 

"The sutras often use the word "great void"
to explain the significance of sunyata. In general, we understand the "great
void" as something that contains absolutely nothing. However, from a Buddhist
perspective, the nature of the "great void" implies something which does not
obstruct other things, in which all matters perform their own functions. Materials are
form, which by their nature, imply obstruction. The special characteristic of the
"great void" is non-obstruction. The "great void" therefore, does not
serve as an obstacle to them. Since the "great void" exhibits no obstructive
tendencies, it serves as the foundation for matter to function. In other words, if there
was no "great void" nor characteristic of non-obstruction, it would be
impossible for the material world to exist and function.
....
The "great void" is not separated from the
material world. The latter depends on the former. We can state that the profound
significance of sunyata and the nature of sunyata in Buddhism highlights the "great
void’s" non-obstructive nature.
...
Buddhism on the other hand, promotes the value of a
continuous cessation (falling). This cessation does not imply that it ceases to exist
altogether. Instead, it is just a state in the continuous process of phenomena. In this
material world, or what we may call this "state of existence", everything
eventually ceases to exist. Cessation is definitely the home of all existences. Since
cessation is the calm state of existence and the eventual refuge of all phenomena, it is
also the foundation for all activities and functions.
--
The so
called ego is a deluded illusion which does not exist in reality. Its existence depends on
the combination of both physical and mental factors. It is a union of organic phenomena.
Thus we call it the empirical ego. It is a mistake to cling to it as an infatuated ego.

-"

OK, so my interpretation of the above belief system is,
-everything in this existence comes from or out of the great void (and also goes back there eventually,) whatever that is, but I wonder if it is related to that ohm primordial vibration concept. (if anyone has experience with experiencing that ohm experience thing, please chime in here)
-Things in this existence do not have self existence, instead they are dependent on other things, which IMO is not the same thing as saying they don't exist at all. The illusion is thinking (the ego thinking) they have independent self existence, which I agree, I don't think we or anything in this existence has independent self existence.  But that's not IMO the same thing as saying we don't exist AT ALL.  
-Eva 

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7/9/15 10:57 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva, great questions. It seems we pretty much agree on most of this with the exception of the "void" part.

In my observation it is other thoughts, emotions and sensory phenomena that cause thoughts to arise. That is the essence of dependent origination. There isn't anything else available. Yes, it may appear that there is a great void from which all things might spring, but dedicated meditative obervation shows that there isn't.

"Emptiness" is basically the realization that all objects are dependently arisen. They have no essence that can be found that is separate from other objects.

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7/10/15 1:49 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Eva, great questions. It seems we pretty much agree on most of this with the exception of the "void" part.

In my observation it is other thoughts, emotions and sensory phenomena that cause thoughts to arise.
Then what caused the first thought, emotion or sensory phenomena to arise? 

That is the essence of dependent origination. There isn't anything else available. Yes, it may appear that there is a great void from which all things might spring, but dedicated meditative obervation shows that there isn't.
I didn't come up with the void idea, I copied it from a Buddhist site.  I would be curious how dedicated meditative observation proves that something doesn't exist.  You know what they say about how you can't prove a negative, ie just because you don't find something doesn't prove it doesn't exist, it only proves you couldn't find it thus far (maybe it doesn't exist but maybe it exists and you just didn't find it)

"Emptiness" is basically the realization that all objects are dependently arisen. They have no essence that can be found that is separate from other objects.
Definitions of emptiness/sunyata also are not agreed on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

A quote:
Theravadan teachers like Thanissaro Bhikku
hold that emptiness is not so much a metaphysical view, as it is a
strategic mode of acting and of seeing the world which leads to
liberation:
The idea of emptiness as lack of inherent existence
has very little to do with what the Buddha himself said about
emptiness. His teachings on emptiness — as reported in the earliest
Buddhist texts, the Pali Canon
— deal directly with actions and their results, with issues of pleasure
and pain. To understand and experience emptiness in line with these
teachings requires not philosophical sophistication, but a personal
integrity willing to admit the actual motivations behind your actions
and the actual benefits and harm they cause.[35]


RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/10/15 6:56 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
 I would be curious how dedicated meditative observation proves that something doesn't exist. 

If you can see the arising of thoughts and how sensory phenomena, other thoughts and emotions are their cause, without seeing them coming from a void, over and over and over again, then why have an uneccessary void in the picture? 

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7/10/15 11:00 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
One more comment in an effort to make this more clear:

In my experience "void" is as much a construct as any object, and it can be a block to further inquiry if we accept the void as the "final" answer. It was not for me. Further questioning and probing revealed that it is fabricated, like the chair I'm sitting on, the curiosity I'm feeing right now, the feel of the keyboard as I type this. Further to that, it seems that there may be no "final" answer, and that we have to get used to the idea that everything we perceive is fabricated (empty of essence or inherent existence), including space and time, and even causality, as causality requires time, which is also a fabricated construct if examined carefully. I plan to keep investigating and will revise this explanation if experience requires it.

All of perception has gross and subtle qualities to investigate, which is why I keep saying "from my experience" because that's all I have to go on. I try to avoid the trap of belief. 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/10/15 3:02 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Hi Chris,

I kind of like this way of putting it:

             Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
             Form is no other than emptiness, emptiness is no other than form.

These are the central lines of the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, also known as the Heart Sutra. It's a Mahayana sutra, and one that, in my experience, perfectly expresses the nature of human experience. Form and emptiness are not the same but also not different. They perfectly interpenetrate. But naturally Your Mileage May Vary.

Regarding causality, from a formal standpoint, the only way to prove a cause and effect relationship is to have an event "outside the box", against which the presumed cause and presumed effect can be compared. If that outside event is compared against the cause with respect to its relationship to the effect and found not to have any influence whereas the cause does (from a statistical standpoint that can be made quite precise), then the cause can be said to be proven to be a cause. However, from the standpoint of the entire universe from the beginning of time, there is no outside and so no cause and effect.

If you happen to be of a mathematical inclination, I'd suggest checking out Judah Pearl's book Causality. Peral develops a precise definition of what constitutes a cause and an effect.

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7/10/15 3:17 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Hi Eva,

Well, Than Geoff is a Theravada monk and the Theravada teaching typically doesn't emphasize emptiness as much as the Mahayana (see my post to Chris).

I can only say that, for myself, emptiness is not a strategy and its not metaphysical. It's an experience that needs to be cultivated in the sense that you need to look for it. The path/fruit experience that constitutes First  (and subsequent) Paths is an example, as are subsequent fruitions, but these are by no means the only ones. You can sense it in many places. Shinzen Young has a practice called "Noting Gone" that you can use to develop a sense of it. Check out his web site if you want to know more. Shinzen is basically a Zen master, though he's incorporated some vipassana practices that he's found effective into his teaching.

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/10/15 4:18 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Eva,

Well, Than Geoff is a Theravada monk and the Theravada teaching typically doesn't emphasize emptiness as much as the Mahayana (see my post to Chris).

I can only say that, for myself, emptiness is not a strategy and its not metaphysical. It's an experience that needs to be cultivated in the sense that you need to look for it.
See, I tend to find that a bit suspect.  If it is truth, then you should be able to find it without being told about it in advance and specifically looking for it.  (Or maybe you meant USUALLY that is how it is done?)  Because it is possible to hypnotise people into seeing dancing purple spotted monkeys or anything else and you can also hypnotise yourself into experiencing just about anything if you try hard enough.  If you are told you MUST see something in order for such and such good thing to happen, and then you spend mass hoards of time working really hard to experience, you will often experience it, whatever it is.  Belief systems in place in advance strongly influence experiences.  
The path/fruit experience that constitutes First  (and subsequent) Paths is an example, as are subsequent fruitions, but these are by no means the only ones.
IME, it is not necesary to experience emptiness in the exact way you describe in order to get path or fruition.  You also don't HAVE to know about paths or fruitions or be trained in specific beliefs to have them.  That is why I put more trust in those aspects that people experience even with no prior knowledge and having not tried specifically to have them.  What do people see that have little or no expectation?  I think it's not always the same as what people see who have prior trained expectations.
-Eva  

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/10/15 11:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
One more comment in an effort to make this more clear:

In my experience "void" is as much a construct as any object, and it can be a block to further inquiry if we accept the void as the "final" answer.
I suspect that attachment to anything as the FINAL answer could be a block to further inquiry be it belief in void or belief in lack of void. 

It was not for me. Further questioning and probing revealed that it is fabricated, like the chair I'm sitting on, the curiosity I'm feeing right now, the feel of the keyboard as I type this. Further to that, it seems that there may be no "final" answer, and that we have to get used to the idea that everything we perceive is fabricated (empty of essence or inherent existence), including space and time, and even causality, as causality requires time, which is also a fabricated construct if examined carefully. I plan to keep investigating and will revise this explanation if experience requires it.
Everything WE PERCEIVE may well be fabricated but that does not mean that everything everywhere in all of infinity is fabricated.  Infinity is infinite, might be a bit cheeky to pass such a judgement on all of infinity from just one tiny little limited vision corner way over here!  ;-P 

All of perception has gross and subtle qualities to investigate, which is why I keep saying "from my experience" because that's all I have to go on. I try to avoid the trap of belief.
IME a good piece of advice but not always that easy to follow.  ;-P  I brought up the void thing because when people come and say anything similar to 'This is how Buddhism says it is..' if I look, i usually find that it's not an agreed upon answer across all Buddhism.  If someone came on here and said, "Buddhism says all things spring from the void," I'd probably be tempted to quote other stuff that said just the opposite, I do have a devil's advocate tendency in me sometimes, if I see lots of pat answers with logical holes, seems all too natural to poke a stick in the holes and see what comes out.  ;-P
-Eva

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/11/15 11:50 AM as a reply to svmonk.
These are the central lines of the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, also known as the Heart Sutra. It's a Mahayana sutra, and one that, in my experience, perfectly expresses the nature of human experience. Form and emptiness are not the same but also not different. They perfectly interpenetrate. But naturally Your Mileage May Vary.

I agree, svmonk. I've always loved the Heart Sutra. It's pretty much the gold standard for the Mahayana tradition. It expresses the interrelational nature, the "two sides of the same coin" nature of pereception in poetic and accurate language.

BTW,  there are quite a number of ways to anaylze cause and effect, and time and space. There are analytical approaches and phenomenological approaches, but in my experience they all tend to confirm the conceptual nature of the big three. It's interesting that modern physics has trouble defining time, too. Maybe it's because time is not a property of the universe, but an artifact of perception/consciousness. 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/11/15 11:49 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva -- 

If someone came on here and said, "Buddhism says all things spring from the void," I'd probably be tempted to quote other stuff that said just the opposite, I do have a devil's advocate tendency in me sometimes, if I see lots of pat answers with logical holes, seems all too natural to poke a stick in the holes and see what comes out...

Yes, I see that you do this a lot. I'd suggest being a bit more careful with it, though. That kind of commentary tends to devolve into  a philosophical argument. There's nothing wrong with philosophical discussion and it can be helpful to practice, too, but it's pretty obvious that if I say "the sky is blue" someone will be able to find a website that will argue the the sky is not blue. Where does that kind of back and forth lead us, ultimately? It seems to lead to an argument about sources, and what or who is the most authoritative source for this position or that position. That may not necessarily be "bad", either, but with so many "expert opinions" available on the web, it might become an endless pursuit.

It can also be confusing because folks in Buddhism(s) tend to describe the same phenomenon in different terms - terms that may seem at first to be describing different things but upon closer examination aren't. This may then lead to the kind of inter-tradition warfare that you can find on Buddhist websites. That's not really very productive, IMHO.

emoticon 

Just sayin'

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/11/15 12:50 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Eva -- 

If someone came on here and said, "Buddhism says all things spring from the void," I'd probably be tempted to quote other stuff that said just the opposite, I do have a devil's advocate tendency in me sometimes, if I see lots of pat answers with logical holes, seems all too natural to poke a stick in the holes and see what comes out...

Yes, I see that you do this a lot. I'd suggest being a bit more careful with it, though. That kind of commentary tends to devolve into  a philosophical argument. There's nothing wrong with philosophical discussion and it can be helpful to practice, too, but it's pretty obvious that if I say "the sky is blue" someone will be able to find a website that will argue the the sky is not blue.
They sky it not always blue, sometimes it's grey, brown, orange, pink, purple, or black.  ;-P ;-P

Where does that kind of back and forth lead us, ultimately? It seems to lead to an argument about sources, and what or who is the most authoritative source for this position or that position.
That is not where it leads me, it leads me to be exposed to different perspectives and to not get as attached to any one position. 

That may not necessarily be "bad", either, but with so many "expert opinions" available on the web, it might become an endless pursuit.
Is an endless pursuit bad?
It can also be confusing because folks in Buddhism(s) tend to describe the same phenomenon in different terms - terms that may seem at first to be describing different things but upon closer examination aren't.
I don't see how such discussion is bad, although perhaps sometimes they really are describing different things sometimes.  The field is far from unified.  IME, the best teachers know how to describe the same thing from many different angles.  A student that does not understand from one angle can sometimes easily understand from another angle.  Also, this board is described as being for advanced practitioners, I don't see a reason to fear a bit of confusion if that is the case. 

This may then lead to the kind of inter-tradition warfare that you can find on Buddhist websites. That's not really very productive, IMHO.

emoticon 

Just sayin'
I agree that warfare is not super productive, however, I also do not think it's a good idea to avoid potentially interesting types of discussion due to fears of something that may or may not happen.  If it happens, then it can be handled at that time, but it may not happen at all or any more than it usually does or maybe it will happen less.  Often, things don't pan out as expected and so far there have been no huge wars apparently caused by my numerous times of stating that various Buddhists sources do not agree on this or that on various threads, so looks like the threat is not a huge one.  Maybe it would be different if I came on and said that my way (whatever that is) is right and your way is wrong, but that is not how I approach the issue and not how I think of it.  I also personally think that it's often productive to scrutinize assumptions.  Humans have a tendency to take what others said in the past and follow and defend them without much scrutiny.   People tend to more easily see the holes in other peoples' logic than they see them in their own.  But IMO, with scrutiny of one's own assumptions, along with some discomfort, can also come a wider understanding.  I personally learn the most about my ideas when people come and poke sticks at the holes in them.  ;-P
-Eva 

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7/11/15 2:59 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Hi Eva,

I didn't say it was "truth", I said that it was my experience. In Buddhism, you're encouraged to find out for yourself. Like I said in my reply to Chris, Your Mileage May Vary. You may have a different experience. I'm interested in comparing, without judging whether any are "truth" or anything like that. To see if there are any common threads in people's meditation experience, and where those threads do and don't line up with canonical and post-canonical ( including MCTB ) texts. If there is anything Internet Dharma is good for, it should be that. Judging one thing as "truth" and the other as "anathama" leads to jihad, crusades, pogoms, inquisitions and all the other violent and twisted religous history of the last 2000 years in Europe and the Middle East.


                      

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
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7/11/15 4:47 PM as a reply to svmonk.
svmonk:
Hi Eva,

I didn't say it was "truth", I said that it was my experience. In Buddhism, you're encouraged to find out for yourself. Like I said in my reply to Chris, Your Mileage May Vary. You may have a different experience. I'm interested in comparing, without judging whether any are "truth" or anything like that. To see if there are any common threads in people's meditation experience, and where those threads do and don't line up with canonical and post-canonical ( including MCTB ) texts. If there is anything Internet Dharma is good for, it should be that. Judging one thing as "truth" and the other as "anathama" leads to jihad, crusades, pogoms, inquisitions and all the other violent and twisted religous history of the last 2000 years in Europe and the Middle East.
Sorry if I came off as harsh.  May be hard to know truth, maybe what we are looking for is what works for more people and what works for some people to reach something that seems to be a more pleasant last drama controlled state?  May not be possible to sally forth with absolutely zero expectations after all but also I think it's interesting how much training and expectations influence experiences, yet we have only experience to look towards for 'truth,' it's rather a catch 22 isn't it? 
-Eva
                      

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7/12/15 9:55 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva, you've no doubt explained this elsewhere but can you please elaborate on what kind of meditation practice you maintain?

TIA!

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/12/15 9:57 AM as a reply to svmonk.
 I'm interested in comparing, without judging whether any are "truth" or anything like that. To see if there are any common threads in people's meditation experience, and where those threads do and don't line up with canonical and post-canonical ( including MCTB ) texts. If there is anything Internet Dharma is good for, it should be that. Judging one thing as "truth" and the other as "anathama" leads to jihad, crusades, pogoms, inquisitions and all the other violent and twisted religous history of the last 2000 years in Europe and the Middle East.

Well said! I couldn't agree more, svmonk.





RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/12/15 1:05 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Eva, you've no doubt explained this elsewhere but can you please elaborate on what kind of meditation practice you maintain?

TIA!
Didn't seem especially interesting, I don't hold great importance as to what method is used.  I started with a Rinzai Zen school nearby but they didn't do much instruction.  Maybe if I had asked more questions, I would have found out more, but I didn't know what questions to ask at the time and they weren't too gabby about it.  They emphasized strongly to hold still/not fidget and take deep long long breaths, not much beyond that.  I am no longer with them, at the time back then, I didn't have the $300 donation for that year, but I still do it that way mostly, samatha following breath, except I don't try to control breathing and I don't do any chanting or any such at the beginning.  I have no special schedule but I usually do it in the morning in the living room a half hour at a time by setting the oven timer, nothing fancy.  There was actually a pretty big space between when I stopped going to the Rinzai school and when I picked up meditation on my own again.  It wasn't until I came here that I found out that people find meaning in the various things and patterns and moods that happen during meditation.  I actually didn't think I was very good at it but I do recognize a number of things you guys talk about here, formation of thoughts, progression of moods through a pattern, etc.  There are also times in regular life when my mind is a certain way and I find at those times it's very very easy for me to look inside some kind of weird experience with just a nudge, a lot of my more weird experiences happen at those times.     


-Eva 

RE: The soul is a dirtbag
Answer
7/12/15 2:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti
 I'm interested in comparing, without judging whether any are "truth" or anything like that. To see if there are any common threads in people's meditation experience, and where those threads do and don't line up with canonical and post-canonical ( including MCTB ) texts. If there is anything Internet Dharma is good for, it should be that. Judging one thing as "truth" and the other as "anathama" leads to jihad, crusades, pogoms, inquisitions and all the other violent and twisted religous history of the last 2000 years in Europe and the Middle East.

Well said! I couldn't agree more, svmonk.

Personally I think that it is anger and hatred that leads to violence, other things are just used as an excuse to try to justify such behavior.   Most people believe in various things they think are truths and are more than happy to name them as such, but are not violent and don't involve themselves in any such nefarious behavior.  Whereas a person with violent urges will usually indulge and can easily cast around for all kinds of excuses, be it religous or just that the other person deserved it for any number of reasons, although a few of them are more self honest about their tendencies.  
-Eva