How do Buddhists see the world?

Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 2:32 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 2:32 AM

How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MettaMan
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Hi everyone, this is my first Post here.
I am new to Buddhism and am loving the Wisdom of Emptiness and Dependent Origination teachings, also Loving a change in style of meditation. I am practising Shinay with and with out support, and also contemplating Emptiness and dependent origination a lot.
I love the tradition and am more and more enthralled with numbers of its aspects.
I have one problem though. I have spent a long time in other traditions and have deeply explored many mystical states. This has slowly changed my senses over time to a place where the world is obviously conscious and alive and I relate that way to it every day. This is something I really enjoy as the Universe feels like an old friend, and it feels enchanted and alive. And when I relate in this way to it, I feel alive as well. Very alive. My heart opens up. Joy moves easily between myself and the world and the presence of Life feels like an infinite Positive Animating Force.
This is my general state.
So here is my Dilemma. I am finding it very hard to find any positive views of the universe in Buddhism. The Idea that all is one seems to be refuted, (as in via some substance like the Brahman or some other theistic musings) as is the Idea that there is anything behind the universe, that it all hangs on -Please correct me if I am wrong-
What Are some positive views of the world I can relate to if there are any. Did Buddha live in a Wondrous Alive universe or was he completely internal, deep in a subtle mind stream. Is there room in Buddhism for my experience?
Thank you All.
Florian, modified 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 4:01 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 4:01 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Welcome, MettaMan.

I'm not quite sure I understand the underlying question of your post. Here are a few thoughts which I vaguely associate with your "dilemma" and "problem":

1. This place, while heavily influenced by Buddhism, is not exclusively Buddhist, and much of what makes it so great is how we're into what's practical, rather than what's dogmatically or theoretically pleasing.

2. I've had many unifying experiences in my Buddhist practice.

3. The Noble Eightfold Path has three divisions - morality, concentration, insight - and what's commonly perceived as a "positive view of the universe" fits nicely with the morality part of the Path: how to live a great, useful, compassionate life and relate to other beings. On the other hand, investigation of suffering ("negative view of the universe") is squarely in the realm of insight. These three divisions each have their own standards, and mixing them doesn't work at all: I don't go playing out in the sun with my daughter on the basis that both we and the sunny garden are unsatisfying, impermanent, and empty of a separate self - this doesn't make sense at all. And I don't do insight meditation by solidifying my joy of being - this doesn't work either.

4. I can't really speak for the Buddha, but there are traditional accounts of him expressing his enjoyment of experiences like a drink of water, or the sight from a certain hill. This doesn't sound like someone shutting out the universe.

5. Discovering a tradition and the culture it's embedded in is great fun - you want to watch the enthrallment, though. After all, Buddhism lays claims to being a path to liberation.

6. I invite you to use the conventions and teachings of Buddhism as tools, with creativity and ingenuity, not defining a group to fit into.

Hokai Sobol, modified 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 10:19 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/7/09 10:19 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
There are different views of the world in Buddhism, based on the three turnings of the wheel (teachings on renunciation, teachings on emptiness, and teachings on buddha-nature). Also, there is the emerging fourth turning, of which we are all part , that attempts to look honestly at the previous three turnings, embrace what is good from each, and then add important modern and postmodern insights, and finally produce a fresh expression of the four seals (the distinction of whether something is indeed "Buddhism"). Now, what you describe as a "wondrous alive universe" is consonant with Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, especially those that arise with the third turning of the wheel. Check Huayen, Shingon, and Dzogchen to confirm. There is indeed a vibrant, conscious reality everywhere, both in here and out there, and this self-generating reality, which is none other than your own true nature, is mostly known as Samantabhadra and Vajrasattva. So, I would say there is room in Buddhism for your experience. But the question is, are you looking for room, or for a path?
Daniel M Ingram, modified 14 Years ago at 5/10/09 5:19 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/10/09 5:19 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 3268 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I think that Florian and Hokai raise excellent points in their posts.

I went into Buddhism not looking it as some dark trip or denial of joy thing, but as a set of empowering concepts, practices and fellow adventurers that would help me draw my own inherent power to live a better life, access amazing states of consciousness, and increase my level of clarity and understanding of the fundamental nature of things and the benefits that come from that, in addition to a whole host of other reasons, and it has performed beyond my wildest dreams. I also now find the world vibrant, very immediate, and full of its own life, which, looked at another way, is also called emptiness and impermanence, so these terms are deep and complex with nuances not immediately obvious.

Also, the Buddha spoke not only of suffering but also the end of suffering, which, while a complex topic, is a very positive message, but he believed that one should diagnose the problem thoroughly before describing what he considered the remedy, and this can be off-putting for some. True, his general take on things was filtered through the complex traditional forces of 2500 years ago, and that he was the kind of guy who would spend years doing horrific ascetic practices does say something about his general personality, but these are just side points.

In terms of your experience of the world being an infinite positive animating force, it sounds like you have gotten a lot out of the practices you have done. I am curious, what were they, how did you do them, and in what dose to get the results you did, and what, if any, maps or terms do those traditions use to describe the results you obtained?

tarin greco, modified 14 Years ago at 5/10/09 6:21 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/10/09 6:21 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts


mettaman: check out some of the tathagatagarbha ('buddha-nature') teachings in the mahayana school, they really emphasise this aspect of things that you're drawn to. hua-yen (kegon) and the flower garland sutra and the commentaries on it are great. i believe shingon or some of the other vajrayana schools have something to say about it as well - something about seeing the adornment of manifestation. anyone have anything to say about that?
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 5/14/09 1:36 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/14/09 1:36 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MettaMan

thanks Guys. This is meant to be a reply to everyone, not just the prisoner... Not sure if I am doing it right emoticon
I have been trying to get my head around how to better ask my question.
I was not meaning that Buddhism is negative, as it obviously has many wonderful teachings for realising amazing states of consciousness. But it does seem (at least the ones I know of) to focus very much within the practitioner.
Its funny but I think what I miss from some of the other traditions is the 'Relational' aspect with the world. I guess that is a form of Spiritual Dualism as it relies on self and other but it seems to bleed into the Non Dual states when I get deeper, as I realise that the deeper part of the world is the same being as the deeper part of me.
One teacher said that the Mind is completely satisfied by Non Dual realisation but that The Heart is Only fully Satisfied by deep 'Relational Communion'.
Part of why I am asking is that I am hoping to be able to streamline most of my practice into a Buddhist frame work. This is convenient for me as there are Many well established Buddhist centres, great communities of practitioners, and many teachers who are (i feel) well above most of the Hindu and half baked advaitin teachers.
So I am wondering If there are any Buddhist practices that work directly with relating directly to the world as a conscious or living being. Partly because I already have developed this side and wish to continue. Does Bon (or anything else) cover anything like this?
Daniel. I have been a student of Kashmir Shavism for probably the past 14 years. I spent a lot of time Intuiting and contemplating the Nature of the world, objects, the Light behind everything. I also Spent very long periods in Prayer and Bhakti style practices, Fasting and retreats and meditation.
I also studied Kabbalah and spent some time exploring ritual Magic.
Thanks again.
tarin greco, modified 14 Years ago at 5/14/09 3:45 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/14/09 3:45 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
hey mettaman,

yeah you're doing it right. emoticon

some of the mahayana and vajrayana schools, imo, are better at doing that sort of stuff you talk about. i've been into this stuff for a long time too, but when i couldn't find much explicit reference to it within the theravadan traditions in which im accustomed to practising, i decided i'd just investigate it on my own, all the while continuing with insight practice as it makes sense to me. eventually i came to to discover what i intuited for a long time, which is that this territory seems to naturally get explored anyway, and for theravadans, probably more commonly during the later paths (of the four-path model) when duality's already taken a big hit, or possibly as part of the post-fourth path work under the blanket term 'integration'.

i'd be interested in hearing about how you see the difference between 'non dual realisation' and 'relational communion', as well as more about your past practices (i know almost nothing about kashmir shaivism). anyway, welcome to the overground.. good to have you here.
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 12:49 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 12:49 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MettaMan

Thanks prisoner emoticon
It has been taking a while to get back to you as I am having difficulty really formulating my question clearly. Its because there are a number of them all tied closely to each other. I have been spending alot of time here and at the afilliated sites learning as much as I can by myself. I ordered Daniels book as well and it arrived at the store a few days ago. I can hopefully pick it up tomorrow.
To me I see any relating as dual because there is one thing relating to another. In Kashmir Shavism the Self is experienced as the Nature of Consciousness which encapsulates everything. In my own experiences of it (so far) everything becomes really simply the Self in an incredibly gentle play with it Self. I know that sounds a bit like two but it feels like one. But the more I experienced this as I cam out again the Impression gently resting behind everything and within everything started to remain. It feels like In my mind I can Feel and (with a bit of work) experience oneness and with my heart I can commune deeply with it (like from an outside perspective) which is also incredibly satisfying. Communing in this way may or may not lead to deeper Oneness but a longer period invariably will.
I guess this is where I am stuck. Am I meant to give this experience up? I don't even know if I could. Buddhism seems to say (If i am reading it right) that the Oneness I experience is just a stage to be passed or simply delusion. If that is true what about all the Wisdom and guidance and Love that flow from this place...? Where does it come from?
I dont know why these questions are bugging me so much.
It still seems to me that the Buddhist techniques offer something I was missing in the other traditions and will help me get much deeper and much more stable more quickly.
I guess that it. I am feeling like the rope in a tug of war game between two world views.

Thank everyone as well for such a good site here emoticon
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 3:33 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 3:33 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: PaulMarshall

Buddhism is certainly bad news first (1st Noble Truth), but then there's the good news (the next three).

The tantric view - especially that of Mahamudra and Dzogchen - is indeed 'positive' because it is stated that all the properties of a buddha are not gained from elsewhere but are inherent in the nature of mind. They are just dormant before realisation. Before this, sense objects are clung to and a self is created from them causing suffering. After liberation, experience is now 'enjoyed as an adornment' being a baseless play of awareness. This is the meaning of the jewels worn on the heads of tantric deities - they are the transmutation of the five poisons. In fact it is this complete baslessness that means the universe has any aliveness or potentiality to it.

C4 Chaos, modified 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 6:07 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 5/21/09 6:07 AM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
Mettaman, (love the name, btw emoticon)

like what Florian mentioned above, i don't identify exclusively as a Buddhist but i'm heavily influenced with Buddhist philosophy and do Buddhist practices (e.g. insight practice).

going back to your question: "how do Buddhist see the world?" there's really no easy answer to it since Buddhism is a BIG umbrella to begin with. and just like any other religion, people at different stages of development and faith will interpret Buddhist doctrines differently. also, different Buddhist traditions (e.g. three pillars: Mahayana, Vajrayana, Theravada) put a different spin to the philosophy and practices. they don't exactly agree with everything but at the root they all go back to Buddha's fundamental insights: impermanence, emptiness, no-self, and dependent origination, which is very sophistacted insight pre-dating Relativity, Chaos, and Systems Theory by thousands of years. see The Making of Buddhist Modernism ~

for me, what attracted me to Buddhism is its uber-portability and practicality. compared to other mystical traditions, i'd say that it's the most sophisticated and science-like, making it the most compatible with Western science. but don't take my word for it. check out this lecture by Lewis Lancaster and marvel at the insights of the Buddhist tradition.

see Burke Lecture: Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology -

live long and prosper,
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:48 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 1:48 PM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MettaMan

thanks for all these great replies.
One of the Things I have been wondering about now Is Relative and Ultimate truth.
Is it possible that God/universal Being is in the domain of Relative truth? The Idea really gives me a giggle...
I am asking this partly because I and many Mystics from Other traditions have the experience of relating with an Intelligent force that 'Seems' to be behind all events and the universe.
My old tradition, Kashmir Shavism, says God Is an Active creative princaple that is and is also behind everything.
This made it very easy to apply Emptiness and Dependent Origination teachings to 'Him' as 'he' is seen as interacting with everything...
The Musing I am having now is that although what I and many others have called God is changing and thus Impermanent and (in an absolute truth sense) Empty, but the experience is real and on going (in a reletive truth sense) just like the experience of having a body or seeming to have a 'self'.
lol, Could what some people call God actually be just part of the universe, as much as tables, dirt and sky are part of the universe, yet still completely subject to the teachings of Absolute Truth, Lacking inherent existence, dependently originated and ultimately unsatisfying?
This probably sounds strange but I have been applying these ideas, seeing the states I have access to in the light of E & D.O. and yet I still 'Know' exactly where this 'Being' is in the universe, just the same way I 'Know' where my hand is after meditating on my Bodys E&D.O.
What do you think?
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 8:30 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 8:30 PM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: AngelinaChan-Ong

Hello MettaMan,

I'm basically a Theravada who was given the name Ajeyya by my Theravada master, and also a Tibetan Buddhist wearing a ceremonial robe with a given name "Lian Hua Pu Gui" (Lotus spreading fragrance to the world).

Under the Tibetan umbrella, there were a lot of chanting: and even the practice was that of stating that we wish to be close to the Avalokitesvara (Goddess of Mercy, a Bodhisattva) and the master encouraged that first thing in the morning and last thing at night before sleeping is to chant the 6-seed syllable and to "embrace" the Avalokitesvara.

While I listen to this, something arise in my mind. The Paticcasamuppada that Buddha taught about craving etc that brings to the result of our becoming. With the attachment for embrace of the Avalokitesvara, one would certainly need to return again and again until the Bodhisattva's turn to become a Buddha. And that would be a long, long time away.

Back to your question, MettaMan. It is true that many people see the Buddha's Dhamma as telling us that this world is such a horrible place to live in. But the Buddha also taught us that there are two realities. You and I exist in this world, that is a reality. But this world is not something that we can cling on to, because it is "unreal" when it comes to the ultimate reality.

Why is it real, yet unreal? It is real because we consist of mind and matter, and so we are a "mass of sores", and there are biological build-up of bones, flesh, blood etc that can be examined under the microscopic endorsement of science. Yet, it is unreal, because we are not able to bring anything with us when we die, except for our kamma that trails us like a shadow that never leaves.

2000 words for this box is just not enough to describe it enough in a topic like that.
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 8:50 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 6/1/09 8:50 PM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: AngelinaChan-Ong

So, while many Buddhists are praying, hoping for some kind of happy returns such as those wanting to reach Pure Land etc, we need to remember that when things are conditioned, it will come to an end. When there is a cause, there will be an effect, which in turn may be a cause if there are more inputs to it. You and I are born today because of this cause and effect, and the seed we plant today is the choice for the future we seek.
Your attachment towards embracing this world and its wonders will bring you back to the world, for you find it delightful. For a Buddhist, the world has its beauties, but it sure is tiring to stay here and survive. We meet with people, we love them, then they leave us and we cry; or we leave them and they cry. Why the need for all these tears? The attachment is so strong that we decide to come back to experience the perceived goodness that we shared with our fellow beings. But it all ends with tears, even for couples growing old together, they are still tearful as they are separated by death.
True Buddhists seek Nibbana, which will only happen for one whose kammic energy is extinguished. It is not a place, it is not a form, for it has no cause, hence there is no effect. Many had mistaken the Pure Land for Nibbana, for they perceive not the Nibbana unless they experience it through Vipassana meditation. To be released from the conditioned is the ultimate that a true Buddhist seek for, not for fame nor fortune nor rebirth in a higher realm.
Sorry, MettaMan, I hope that my replies do not confuse you further. But really, so few words cannot truly express what needs for the answer to your question.
Ed clay vannoy, modified 14 Years ago at 6/2/09 2:27 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 6/2/09 2:27 PM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi MettaMan,

In the Buddhist Suttas and Sutras Buddha was always getting visits from Devas and Bhrama and such. I think that what you are saying here is pretty close to the way God was viewed in these writings.

And God/Bhrama was very grateful to have the True Dharma taught to him.

Of course, some of this was simple sectarian oneupmanship. But it is also the way the early Buddhists viewed the universe.

Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 6/2/09 9:16 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 6/2/09 9:16 PM

RE: How do Buddhists see the world?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: MettaMan

Thanks Edojidal. That makes a lot of sense to me.
lol, i hope I can one day offer Dharma teachings to Gods and Hell beings...
I can talk to them which is a good start but It may take a while to get this Enlightenment thing sorted... emoticon